Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Consitution 'lite' all the flavour, all the fizz, but not a Constitution at all

Angel Merkel's questionaire to the Heads of Government on how to resuscitate the European Constitution (but don't call it that or the proles might notice). Attempted translation from my own, deeply jaundiced viewpoint.
1. How do you assess the proposal made by some Member States not to repeal the existing treaties but to return to the classical method of treaty changes while preserving the single legal personality and overcoming the pillar structure of the EU?

How can we get the key aspects of the Constitution through without scaring the horses. Giving the EU a legal personality, essentially creates statehood status for the EU. The pillar structure was designed to ensure that certain aspects of public policy remain firmly in the hands of the nation states (Justice, Defence etc) this is an explicit attempt to overturn the last remnants of sovereignty.
2. How do you assess in that case the proposal made by some Member States that the consolidated approach of part 1 of the Constitutional Treaty is preserved, with the necessary presentational changes resulting from the return to the classical method of treaty changes?

The 'necessary presentational changes' are renaming the thing the (choose obscure Continental city name here' - (such as Nice or Maastricht) thus making the substance of the proposals opaque and allowing the institutions and their cheerleaders to say "It's not a Constitution. No no, of course not. It's the Heidelberg Treaty. How could anybody think it is a Constitution?"
3. How do you assess in that case the proposal made by some Member States to use different terminology without changing the legal substance for example with regard to the title of the treaty, the denomination of EU legal acts and the Union’s Minister for Foreign Affairs?

See answer above
4. How do you assess the proposal made by some Member States to drop the article that refers to the symbols of the EU?

Don't give opposition symbols that they can take a pop at, just ensure that we get the rule changes. If it is not logo'd Constitution and surrounded by a plethora of EU flags they won't notice. After all the average European citizen is very thick.
5. How do you assess the proposal made by some Member States to drop the article which states the primacy of EU law?

This I guess comes from Germany itself, because Mrs Merkel is well aware that the German Constitutional Court will not allow the German President to sign the Constitution whilst it carries this 'primacy clause'. If this happens then the Constitution is truly dead.
6. How do you assess the proposal made by some Member States that Member States will replace the full text of the Charter of Fundamental Rights by a short cross reference having the same legal value?

How could a short cross reference carry legal power? This is an attempt to use sleight of hand to pass into law one of the most contentious aspects of the treaty.
7. Do you agree that the institutional provisions of the Constitutional Treaty form a balanced package that should not be reopened?

This is the position of the 16 countries who have already ratified the Constitution and are fearful of reopening that particular can of worms.
8. Are there other elements which in your view constitute indispensable parts of the overall compromise reached at the time?

What do we need to keep in the Constitution, above and beyond the legal personality, the foreign minister, the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the abolition of the current pillar structure?
9. How do you assess the proposal made by some Member States concerning possible improvements/clarifications on issues related to new challenges facing the EU, for instance in the fields of energy/climate change or illegal immigration?

So if we are going to hgave a new document, can we get some more explicitly political policies into it?
10. How do you assess the proposal made by some Member States to highlight the Copenhagen criteria in the article on enlargement?

Window dressing. The Copenhagen criteria are already part of the rule book, but this is to convince people that new entrants will not be able to break the rules governing EU expansion - commitments to democracy and the rule of law and so on - nothing to do with Turkey of course.
11. How do you assess the proposal made by some Member States to address the social dimension of the EU in some way or the other?

This is to apply the social chapter and all its doings as part of a constitutional framework. Setting Socialism into stone at a European level.
12. How do you assess the proposal made by some Member States applying opt-in/out provisions to some of the new policy provisions set out in the Constitutional Treaty?

Yeah, in a month of Sundays is this proposal going to make it. Europe a la Carte. A fine idea. Thus it cannot happen.

Rather wonderfully her spokesmen are denying that this letter exists in their own Comical , despite the fact that it was leaked by the Swedish government.
"There is no such letter from the chancellor to her counterparts," deputy government spokesman Thomas Steg said on Saturday".

3 comments:

JolietJake said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly, your views are jaundiced, to say the least.

Unfortunately for you, there are more people trying to make a success of integration than there are people who are just sniping from the cheap seats.

I assume you realise you're batting for the wrong side but fair play to you sir, keep it up.

Elaib said...

Sniping...pah. Cheap seats, double pah.

Not sure you are right there about the relative numbers though. Oh granted in Brussels you may be right, but of course everybody here is paid to belioeve. Out in the real world however I suspect that the ratios are slightly different.

Anonymous said...

Vote online about the future of Europe at www.FreeEurope.info. One liner: "human development in its richest diversity"

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