Content Section

The Content section will provide news, quotes and background materials refering to the topic of the EU Constitution. The time-table will give you an overview about the current status concerning the referendums on the Constitution.

 

Please find a summary of some points laid down by the 40 page paper "What the EU constitution does. - A 14-point critical summary." Issued by The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre, Dublin.

1) Provides the constitutional form of a state

The Constitution is not just a matter of "simplifying", "merging" or " tidying up" the existing European treaties, as its advocates pretend. It would be a transformation in the political-legal existence of 25 of Europe's States and of their peoples.

2) Institutional changes made by the EU Constitution

Concerning law-making the Constitution would replace the system of weighted voting by a new "double majority" system of States and populations. In 63 areas unanimity voting would be replaced by the new qualified majority voting. In a EU Commission individual Member States would have no representative for five years (out of every fifteen).

3) The new EU's exclusive and treaty-making powers

The EU would get sole and "exclusive" legal power to decide policy as regards trade tariffs and quotas, monetary policy for the eurozone, competition rules for the internal market, fisheries conservation and trade agreements with other countries. The EU's exclusive power to sign international treaties with other States in these areas would be extended to cover international agreements arising from other Union policies. The Constitution could be expected to deprive Member States of most of their present treatymaking powers.

4) The new EU's shared powers with its member states

In a wide range of government policies power is stated to be “shared” between the EU and its Member States. This is a peculiar kind of sharing, for as the new Union would be constitutionally primary or superior. Thus Article I-12 provides: “The Member States shall exercise their competence to the extent that the Union has not exercised, or has decided to cease exercising, its competence.”

5) The new EU’s supporting, coordinating, complementary powers

The Constitution would give the EU the power to take "supporting, co-ordinating or complementary action" in a further range of vaguely-defined areas including the "protection and improvement of human health", industry, culture, tourism, education, youth, sport, vocational training, civil protection and administrative co-operation.

6) The new EU's foreign policy and military powers

The Constitution would give the new Union the power to "define and implement" a common foreign and security policy which would "cover all areas of foreign policy" and which Member States would be required to "actively and unreservedly support ... in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity". It would impose on Member States a new obligation to "comply with" the Union's actions in foreign policy, in contrast to the existing treaty requirement to "support" these.

7) The new EU's crime, justice and policing powers

The Constitution would open the possibility of movement towards an EU criminal justice system on the continental model, which does not have trial by jury, operates by means of inquisitorial magistrates and permits preventive detention in some countries.

8) The new EU's powers to decide our rights

The Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe would give the new Union the power to decide peoples' rights by including the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights as Part II of the four-part Constitution. This would make the Charter legally binding on Member States and their citizens and would give the EU Court of Justice the power to apply it in particular cases. EU human rights law would override any contrary national law and would have direct effect in all areas of EU law.

9) Setting in stone the EU's current undemocratic structure

The fundamental problem of the EU's lack of democracy would remain. Democracy is government of the people, by the people, for the people. But an EU democracy is impossible because there is no European people or demos that could confer legitimacy and "right authority" on EU law-makers and governors. Nor can a European "demos" or people be artificially created by EU flags and anthems and other symbols of an EU supernation, combined with EU laws foisted on whole countries from above.

10) Making the Euro constitutionally mandatory

Article I-8 provides that "The currency of the Union shall be the euro." This is so even though at present 13 of the 25 Member States still retain their national currencies and the Constitution formally enshrines the legal opt-outs of Britain and Denmark from the single currency. The Constitution refers to non-euro countries as "Member States with a derogation".

11) Establishing an ideological constitution

The Constitution of any normal State lays down the rules and institutional framework for making laws and deciding policies, but it leaves the ideological content of those measures to political debate between political parties of the Left, Right and Centre. The EU Constitution is different in that while it lays down decision-making rules, it also lays down a rigid economic ideology which those rules must implement.


Source: "What the EU constitution does. A 14-point critical summary. Issued by The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre, Dublin, Ireland; affiliated to the European Alliance of EU-critical Movements (TEAM)

  



The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre, Dublin, Ireland is affiliated to the European Alliance of EU-critical Movements (TEAM)




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