A short return to the question of whether the UK could maintain its blocking minority on the working time directive under the Constitutional Treaty. According to the BBC news website report on the Council of 2 June 2005, online at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4602743.stm
'Mr Johnson [the UK minister] was backed at the meeting in Luxembourg [blocking a working time deal] by his fellow ministers from Germany, Poland, Austria, Hungary, Malta, Cyprus and others.'
That means that seven Member States with 40.7% of the EU population are in the UK blocking minority (even assuming that Romania, Bulgaria and the unnamed 'others' reported to be on the UK's side in fact all vote on the opposite side). This is easily a blocking minority under the Constitutional Treaty, constituted by at least four Member States with at least 35% of the population. Indeed, the blocking minority under the Constitutional Treaty could constitute the UK, Germany, Poland and ANY other Member State, including Malta -- whereas at the moment a minority made up of the UK, Germany, Poland and Malta would be outvoted by one vote (only 90 votes of the 91 needed to block a measure; plus this group would have only 36.8% of the population, short of the 38% needed to block a measure under the current voting criterion relating to population).
The UK would therefore find it EASIER to block this proposal under the Constitutional Treaty rules, even if it loses some smaller allies. The necessity to point this out repeatedly is becoming rather tiring...