Battling for a European constitution

Out­side Europe, there seems to be lit­tle inter­est in the “con­sti­tu­tion­al negotiations(link to Deutsche Welle)”:http://www.dw-world.de/english/0,3367,1433_A_985962_1_A,00.html that began in Rome this week­end. But it’s a cru­cial step: this will be the first time that Europe has had a con­ti­nent-wide con­sti­tu­tion. Up to now, it had treaties (the “Treaty of Rome(BBC Glossary)”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_depth/europe/euro-glossary/1054640.stm) and inter­gov­er­men­tal agree­ments reached at Sum­mit meet­ings. If agree­ment is reached, Europe will soon have a new legal per­son­al­i­ty: not described as the “Euro­pean Fed­er­a­tion” but fed­er­al in all but name. * ‘Major­i­ty’ vot­ing on almost all issues includ­ing e.g. immi­gra­tion and refugees. A deci­sion would be adopt­ed if sup­port­ed by at least half the mem­ber states rep­re­sent­ing 60% of the pop­u­la­tion (dou­ble qual­i­fi­ca­tion).
* A ‘legal per­son­al­i­ty’ for Europe: that is, the capac­i­ty to sign treaties on its own behalf, com­mit­ting all 25 mem­ber states
* An elect­ed Pres­i­dent of Europe in office for up to 5 years (not a ‘rotat­ed’ nation­al ‘Pres­i­den­cy’ as now), an appoint­ed ‘For­eign Min­is­ter’ and a pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor
* EU legal suprema­cy in its areas of ‘com­petance’ over the laws and par­lia­ments of mem­ber states These nego­ti­a­tions are, as usu­al in mod­ern Europe, a cold-blood­ed bat­tle pitched between (one one hand) grand con­ti­nen­tal strate­gies backed by opti­mistic eco­nom­ic pro­jec­tions and (on the oth­er hand) nar­row­er nation­al inter­ests defined by eco­nom­ic pow­er, sen­ti­men­tal his­tori­cism, exter­nal alliances and cutur­al arro­gance. It could be riv­et­ing to watch: but, unfor­tu­nate­ly, it most­ly takes place in back rooms behind a dread­ful old damask woven from almost impen­e­tra­ble euro-chat­ter (‘sub­sidiar­i­ty’, ‘cohe­sion’, ‘co-decision&#8217). The BBC pro­vides by far the “best guide(BBC News out­line of EU constitution)”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/2950276.stm to the main deci­sions and issues. Mean­while, France joins Ger­many in skat­ing the mar­gins of an abom­inable “zero rate of eco­nom­ic growth”:http://www.lemonde.fr/article/0,5987,3224–336711-,00.html for 2003 and le dis­cours plunges head­long (as is the way in France) into some very “dark reflections”:http://www.iht.com/articles/112118.html on the achieve­ments of French eon­com­ic, social and for­eign pol­i­cy

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email is never shared.Required fields are marked *