"After several years of hectic crisis management, the heads of government appear to have the stuffing knocked out of them. On banking union, our crisis weary leaders have just managed to agree their position for the legislative negotiations with the European Parliament. They also admit that the single supervisory mechanism now needs a properly funded resolution mechanism if it is to be genuinely effective at sorting out Europe's bust and lawless banks.
"In taking these decisions the European Council follows the lead given by the European Parliament. They also agree yet another but more protracted 'time-bound road map' - presumably liable to further delay according to the results of the German elections.
"On the negative side, however, this summit has accepted neither Mr Barroso's blueprint for fiscal union nor even Mr Van Rompuy's bid to increase the EU's fiscal capacity. One wonders how these two gentlemen will enjoy Christmas.
"What has entirely disappeared from the European Council is the notion of a reflection on federal economic government to run things after fiscal integration has eventually been deepened. This is a huge mistake for the prime ministers to make because it will leave them and their national parliaments wholly unprepared to develop the constitution of the European Union in a democratic and efficient manner.
"So it falls to the European Parliament to fill the gap and, in advance of the May 2014 elections, to provoke a debate about political union. Federalist MEPs, in particular, now have a duty to spell out the treaty changes which they want to form the agenda of the Convention which will begin in February 2015."
Andrew Duff MEP is President of the Union of European Federalists (UEF) and spokesman on constitutional affairs for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE).
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