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> The European Constitution, A chance or a bane?
What do you think the European Constitution will bring?
You cannot see the results of the poll until you have voted. Please login and cast your vote to see the results of this poll.
Total Votes: 38
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Horyok
post Apr 15 2005, 11:11 AM
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The adoption of the Constitution is currently at the heart of the European debate. Its main purpose (to put it very roughly) is to display a common set of ideals and rules that apply for all European citizens within the E.U. Some countries will adopt it through a vote in their national parliaments, while others (like France, Netherlands, Portugal and Britain for instance) are going for a referendum.

1. As a European or outsider, what do you think of the E.U. Constitution? (benefits, inconveniences, gut feeling)

2. Do you think the Constitution can actually help member countries and inhabitants to grow a European identity?

3. Do you think the Constitution is designed to identify and defend the European social and trade model?

4. Feel free to give more comments about your vote too! smile.gif
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Horyok
post Apr 21 2005, 01:54 AM
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rjp2004, in the light of what I know of the EU and its member countries, I would like to clarify some of the points you made.

First, the concept and relation to Christianity is absent from the EUC because not all EU members recognize the importance of that heritage in their national context and tradition. There is no anti-Christian feeling here, just the expression of a compromise between all the parties who worked on the treaty. Practically, if the treaty is to be adopted and ratified by all 25 states, it has to be neutral enough to satisfy all of them. It comes down to that. Simply.

Second, the EU holds the powers that the Union members gave it, according to the competences that were given to it. No more, no less. What you need to understand from article I-57 is that changes can be made, but they need to be legal in regard to the EUC. In other words, power is shared by the EU and nation-states.

On the other hand, I don't understand your comment about "the role of Creator" and "bestower of Rights". The EU is not a totalitarian regime that enforces its law against the will of the European people. The EU has a Parliament, whom members are elected democratically from all countries. It has a Commission too, where ministers of all governments of the Union are represented. National parliaments control the laws that are passed by the European Parliament and the Commission. In other words, the EU seeks to work for the benefit of the European people, because it represents them.

QUOTE
I dont think many realize the extent at which some EU leaders have been pursuing an anti-Christian agenda. For many years the EU has been a principal funder of abortive population control, contraceptive promotion in third world countries. When very Catholic Poland, Ireland and Malta joined, there was a concerted effort to override their national soverignty and force them to change their bans on abortions. Nowhere was the bias more clear when Prof. Rocco Buttiglione was forced out as a Commissioner nominee by the EU leaders becuase of his religious views. Its clear the EU leaders want normalcy of homosexual relations and abortion on demand, etc. to be the supreme law of the land.


rjp2004, I believe the problem is not about the EU being anti-Christian or not. The EU (through the democracies that embody it) promotes democracy, free will, liberty, equality and other humane values. The support for abortion campaigns is done so that women have the choice to control their bodies and lives, not to promote the killing of foetuses. To a Christian, it may seem like abortion desecrates life; to the EU, abortion is a right that all women should have.

In countries like Ireland and Portugal for instance, it is illegal to abort : you will go to jail if you're trying to. Is that fair or unfair? Well, it all depends of your personal point of view. The EU doesn't take sides in this matter, as the national parliaments of Ireland and Portugal still hold power to change or maintain that law as they will.

No one says it's illegal in the EU to think that abortion is wrong. However, if anti-abortion demonstrators do something illegal in the name of their faith, it's normal that they should be arrested.

In regard to homosexuality, the EU protects sexual preference under article II-81 (see below).

QUOTE
I think there are well meaning people working the EU for greater cultural exhange and greater unity among peoples. Horyok your thread itself is sincere expression of that dialogue and collaboration. But foundations being set by EU leaders with power, are clearly opposed to the basic freedom of religious expression, and I think many Europeans will be shocked to see what they've assented to in years to come.


Religious freedom of expression is clearly labelled in the Constitution :

Article II-70 - Freedom of thought, conscience and religion

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or in private, to manifest religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
2. The right to conscientious objection is recognised, in accordance with the national laws governing the exercise of this right.

Article II-81 - Non-discrimination

1. Any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall be prohibited.

This post has been edited by Horyok: Apr 21 2005, 01:56 AM
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Jack22
post Apr 21 2005, 05:41 AM
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1. As a European or outsider, what do you think of the E.U. Constitution? (benefits, inconveniences, gut feeling)

As an outsider, I find the EUC very interesting. It seems like it could be a very good thing for Europe, but because I naturally distrust government, I might have to be classified as Eurosceptic. If the EUC is too supranationalist, the sovereignty of member nations is threatened; if it is too intergovernmentalist, it could move too slowly to get anything done. Most analysis characterizes it as a blend of various elements of a federation and confederation with elements of an international organization.

2. Do you think the Constitution can actually help member countries and inhabitants to grow a European identity?

That is really up to the good people of Europe. If they feel this is a good way to rally together, great! But there is also a risk of increased tensions and divisions if the EU governing bodies end up taking away too much power from the nations. The EUC is supposedly set up so that its governing bodies cannot seize any power from its members without a process somewhat like a US Constitutional Amendment-- but in the US, we've seen every branch of the federal government violate a similar guarantee in the Constitution, so I wouldn't trust it.

3. Do you think the Constitution is designed to identify and defend the European social and trade model?

The EUC seems to do as well as can be expected for such a heterogeneous mix of nations, but there are a few places where it handles social libertarianism in a way that seems to encroach on national sovereignty. Don't get me wrong, I like libertarianism, but I also like localization/decentralization of government power-- meaning I'd prefer a situation in which the central government leaves local governments a higher degree of freedom with regard to how they choose to implement libertarianism. When libertarianism is required of a formerly sovereign nation by supranationalism, then at best, sovereignty has become shared. Shared sovereignty poses a potential problem with how the EU member nations relate to countries outside the EU, so it can be a potential problem for Europeans.

4. Feel free to give more comments about your vote too! smile.gif

As an outsider, the most interesting thing to me about the EUC is how other nations will respond after the EU adopts it. If there is anything supranationalist about the EUC, then there is a degree of shared sovereignty that may not rise to the level of a traditional federation or confederation, but still gives other nations an opportunity to put the EU in the same "shared sovereignty" category as Canada and the US, such that EU member nations are regognized to have equal international footing with individual US states and Canadian provinces instead of separate countries unto themselves.

The EUC attempts to prevent a mass loss of seats at the UN by leaving each member nation sovereignty over its own international relations, but in the end such decisions will really be determined by how nations outside the EU choose to recognize EU member nations after the EUC is ratified. If the US decides the EU arrangement leaves the US at an unfair disadvantage with respect to seats in international organizations, some shake-ups could happen.

In one hypothetical situation, the US might chose to recognize the new EU as one country and stop recognizing the EU member nations as separate countries. The EU would naturally refuse to negotiate directly with the US because to do so would violate its constitution-- but if the US wanted to press the point, it could just treat the EU as any other nation with isolationist policies. I wouldn't necessarily promote such a thing, but it would be consistent with various international standards concerning national sovereignty.

In a second hypothetical situation, the US might choose to level the international playing field by passing its own Constitutional amendment returning sovereignty over international relations to its 50 individual states, and like the EU, preventing the federal government from directly negotiating with other nations, while requiring any international treaty hashed out by one state to be ratified by the other states before going into effect (say, through the Senate or Congress). Such a measure would force the issue of whether the 25 EU member nations are still separate countries even though they share sovereignty with the EU.

Chances are, neither hypo will happen and everything will proceed as before, with the US being counted as 1 country and the EU being counted as 25. However, either hypo could force the UN charter to be redrafted to accomodate the consolidation of European seats or the expansion of seats accomodating federalist governments. Those who cringe at the phrase "New World Order" or who are suspicious of anti-UN rhetoric coming out of Washington these days might have good reason to fear the EUC, not necessarily by any fault of its own, but by its propaganda value as a pretext for restructuring the UN.

It will be interesting to watch how this all plays out. Best wishes to our friends in Europe.

Here are some links:

Ratification methods and progress by nation:
http://www.unizar.es/euroconstitucion/Trea...y_Const_Rat.htm

Text of the EU Constitution:
http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/lex/JOHtml.do...310:SOM:EN:HTML
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rjp2004
post Apr 21 2005, 05:29 PM
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Bonjour Horyok,

Merci for your reply. I often forget how rough that comes across via 'net when one reads a stream of criticisms. Let me stick with just the constitutional exclusion element I mentioned.

Oui, I understand that not all nations officially wanted a Christian reference - only 7 member states argued for it - they are minority. The majority of EU bureacracy culture among members/leaders is secular humanist. Do you agree on that or no?

Secular humanism and Christianity are completely opposed. SH denys a need for dependance on God's wisdom, providence, laws, etc. SH places man himself as the sole guide for his own direction. Religious morals are viewed as a hindrance to one's ability to experience life, free expression, thought. Do you understand SH philosophy that way or otherwise?

In the DOI and following documents, God (Creator) is officially recognized as the source of inalienable rights, which must be protected and respected by governments. God is still the ultimate authority source, quoted by the initial government document.

In the EU charter, the elected officials place themselves (and future elected officials) in that role of source of rights and inalieable liberties. These rights in the EU Charter exist "because WE authorize it", not "because they are from God, which we recognize."

Do you see that distinction or view it another way?


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Horyok
post Apr 21 2005, 06:30 PM
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QUOTE
Jack22

Chances are, neither hypo will happen and everything will proceed as before, with the US being counted as 1 country and the EU being counted as 25. However, either hypo could force the UN charter to be redrafted to accomodate the consolidation of European seats or the expansion of seats accomodating federalist governments. Those who cringe at the phrase "New World Order" or who are suspicious of anti-UN rhetoric coming out of Washington these days might have good reason to fear the EUC, not necessarily by any fault of its own, but by its propaganda value as a pretext for restructuring the UN.


I think an EU seat at the security Council would make sense and would also consolidate the EU's power beyond its borders. However, I don't believe this is going to happen with the vote on the EUC.

Firstly, because the EUC is focused on organizing the way the EU works within its borders, not beyond. Specific policies between EU members and the UN are unchanged. Secondly, because in spite of the 'birth' of the European minister of Foreign affairs, national goverments keep their own too! Well, wait and see! wink.gif

QUOTE
rjp2004

Oui, I understand that not all nations officially wanted a Christian reference - only 7 member states argued for it - they are minority. The majority of EU bureacracy culture among members/leaders is secular humanist. Do you agree on that or no?


Is the majority of EU bureaucracy culture "secular humanist"? Yes, I think you can say that. I believe it is so because the aim of the EU is to be secular humanist.

QUOTE
Secular humanism and Christianity are completely opposed. SH denys a need for dependance on God's wisdom, providence, laws, etc. SH places man himself as the sole guide for his own direction. Religious morals are viewed as a hindrance to one's ability to experience life, free expression, thought. Do you understand SH philosophy that way or otherwise?


I agree with most of what you said. I would add that secular humanism as it is presented with the European model isn't opposed to the existence of religion as such or the practice of the cult of your choice (see my previous post). Everyone is entitled their opinion without discrimination.

In other words, the EU secular humanism protects religion, but it doesn't promote it and it doesn't recognize it as its founding value.

QUOTE
In the EU charter, the elected officials place themselves (and future elected officials) in that role of source of rights and inalieable liberties. These rights in the EU Charter exist "because WE authorize it", not "because they are from God, which we recognize."


Well, all national Parliaments, the European Parliament and the European Commission all consist in elected officials. They vote and pass laws that are applicable in national or European contexts... nothing new here.

The ultimate authority source in our European democracies is the European people. Whether you recognize God or not is irrelevant, because God can't vote and you can't vote for God - believing in God is not a democratic process, it's faith.
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Ptarmigan
post Apr 27 2005, 05:07 PM
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What I find quite interesting is that, as Horyok mentioned earlier, this constitution for the most part, simply covers agreements already made.

However, governments are panicked at the thought of their electorates voting 'No' in a referendum. Really it shouldn't be much of an issue. Unless we're not voting on the consitution, but voting on the EU itself via proxy. For many, this is the one real chance the voter has to put forward his / her views on the EU as a whole.

In which case, how have things come to such a state of affairs that the French look likely to vote 'no' ? Have we (the people) not had enough representation in the development of the EU?



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moif
post Apr 27 2005, 06:58 PM
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Holland looks set to vote no as well:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4484933.stm

I think its very simple. People hear the word constitution and they automatically understand that this is more than just another treaty to tie up loose ends.

This is the legal foundation for the federal super state wet dream.
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Sevac
post Apr 27 2005, 09:47 PM
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Throughout the debate I have gotten the feeling that the EU is viewed as a singular entity that nobody controls [at least not the people] and where big companies run the show.
That is not possible. There are various institutions that have to pass legislation, the European Council, the European Parliament, The Council of Ministry, the European Commission, some or all of them are at one point or another involved. So in contrast to the USA or any other single state it is unlikely that one company can put enough pressure on so many actors that it manipulates the legislation to a favorable outcome. Even if Germany would be influenced by the automobile industry, the other 24 members were not. Where unanimity is needed that would be a problem, but the EUC favors majority voting for most areas.

But here you have two problems:
The EU now is less democratic than the EU with the constitution treaty. Yet it is feared that it will become a super-state.
The other option is to revoke the constitution and therefore destabilizing the integration process, carrying on with procedures for 25 members that were designed for 12. There has to be change for the environment in which the EU exists has changed.

I ask a simple question? Why do elected politicians give away their power to another institution if they have no influence in it? Moif fears he is losing his "control" over his elected members of parliament or the government officials. First of all, they already ratified the Constitution, so he should blame them. Secondly, Denmark will still have considerable influence on EU-decision making, otherwise your elected politicians wouldn't have ratified it. Politicians agreed with it because there must be some gain for Denmark as well as for France and Germany. Maybe it's stabilizing Eastern Europe, maybe it is to avoid unpopular decisions in Denmark itself.
Yet it is important to notice that "EU-laws" on chemicals in food products create an equal base within the EU. ALL companies within the EU need to fulfill these regulations. However, that does not concern any Danish legislation that already fulfilled those requirements and went beyond. They are still in effect if they met those new requirements. Effectively, food products overall in Europe have to meet those requirements which consequently leads to less chemically processed food.
I doubt that the EU can legislate to lower any standards, in contrast to the various decisions to raise standards [2 years warranty on products/stop to feed animals their own kind (BSE)/recycling of computer waste].

QUOTE(Moif)
I am a Dane. Happy to be Danish, Proud of Denmark and satisified with my nations laws and culture.

No one forces you to give up your identity, your country, your culture or laws. Even if you were to live in a United States of Europe, you would still have all those merits. Your country will not cease to exist, though it's role in decision making may shift, your culture and identity and language will all still be there. Your laws will change somewhat, but they have changed over the last 30 years as well, Denmark was a different country then as well.

QUOTE(Horyok)
The smaller nations of Europe have always been pushed about by the larger. Recent history is all to full of such examples.

Scepticism of the larger EU nations is a driving factor of the Europhobic perspective. After all, its not that long ago that Denmark was invaded by Germany and our foreign policy ditated to us by Germans.

Now we are confronted with the possibility that once again a German, or a Frenchman may be dictating our foreign policy to us.

Of course it could be argued that the reverse is equally so, but in all the years of the EU, I have yet to see any leading EU politican be Danish. We have seen one long string of foreigners with Italian/ French/ German names speaking on our behalf and with the apparent sanction of our politicians, regardless of public opinion.

And now we're asked to adopt a constitution written for us, by yet more foreigners...  hmmm.gif
*


Germany and Denmark have fought their wars, 150 or 60 years ago. Yet you have to recognize that in the European Parliament Denmark has proportionally way more influence than Germany. With 5,3 Million citizens you can vote for 16 Members of Parliament, while Germany with 81 Million can vote 99 MoP. Proportionally Germany would have 244 MoPs, yet it does not. Because the big countries recognize the opinion and position of the small countries. Denmark has 5 votes in the Council of Ministry, Germany 10. Denmark has 1 member of the Commission, Germany 2. So I think the small countries have a lot of influence on the legislation, whereas German citizens ought to be the one to demand more influence. It's just the point of view that matters.

QUOTE(crashfourit)

I believe it comes down to this:
Are the citizens of the several sovereign states of Europe are ready/willing to lose their national identity or put it second to a single unified European identity under a European federal super state?
*


Why would Europeans lose their identity? Do citizens define themselves over countries? In any case of an "USE" the member states would still exist although their responsibility may change. But in any case, the principle of subsidiarity would remain effective. EU legislation can only be in matters that has been given to the EU by member states. It cannot increase it's role by itself, nor can it be active in a field that has not been assigned to it.

QUOTE(rjp2004 @ Apr 20 2005, 07:39 PM)
Major Christian leaders and communities in Europe have asked for a reference to a divine Creator and Europe's Christian history, but have been repeatedly denied by EU leaders in power. But it surprises me little. 

A quick study of "Europe's Christian history" will show you that many many wars were fought entirely over religion and their benefits for the rulers. The Thirty Years War is in peticular interesting in that respect. So I definitely am reliefed that no religious aspect was implemented.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union is completely a non-democractic document at its heart. The Declaration of Independance acknowledges that our rights come from a divine Creator, not the whim of a government. It places the government as servant of the people, not master. But the EU charter places itself,  the government, in the role of Creator and bestower of rights, which can be whatever they decide.
The EUC does not grant rights, it insures and assures them to the people.

But foundations being set by EU leaders with power, are clearly opposed to the basic freedom of religious expression, and I think many Europeans will be shocked to see what they've assented to in years to come.
Article II-70
Freedom of thought, conscience and religion
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or in private, to manifest religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.
---
Please show me where "EU leaders" have written their foundations that are opposed to Article II-70.

*



QUOTE(moif)
I think its very simple. People hear the word constitution and they automatically understand that this is more than just another treaty to tie up loose ends.

This is the legal foundation for the federal super state wet dream.

It is called constitution because it guarantees basic rights as well as constitutional change in the EU. Yet it is a treaty for it does not replace any existing constitution. Some people do not understand the nature of the constitution treaty because they are ignorant or just not well informed. The EU is a complex entity in it's whole, and its not good enough a reason to vote no because one does not understand the constitution.

:::Edited to correct misspelling

This post has been edited by Sevac: Apr 28 2005, 06:18 AM
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Horyok
post Apr 28 2005, 12:06 AM
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As a complement to what Sevac said, I'd like to remind you all that the Union is not a Federation. It means that its design is not to merge all country members into one new nation-state. At best, the EU is a Confederation, which means the Union of 25 independent nation-states. The US, in comparison, are a Federation.
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Ptarmigan
post May 6 2005, 10:10 AM
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QUOTE
It is called constitution because it guarantees basic rights as well as constitutional change in the EU. Yet it is a treaty for it does not replace any existing constitution. Some people do not understand the nature of the constitution treaty because they are ignorant or just not well informed. The EU is a complex entity in it's whole, and its not good enough a reason to vote no because one does not understand the constitution.
Sevac

Its a very good reason to vote no!. A constitution that cannot easily be understood is going to be a nightmare to interpret the moment countries start challenging decisions based on consitutionality.

QUOTE
The EU now is less democratic than the EU with the constitution treaty.


Not at all, the EU will be equally as undemocratic with the treaty as without. The treaty does not increase the power of the EU Parliament, power would still be retained by the Comission, which is somewhat removed from the electorate.

EU Commissioners do not have to face an electorate, they are appointees. If they make a series of decisions that are broadly unpopular, then the electorate can only blame the government that appointed the commissioner. Unfortunately this is far too blunt a method - because in general electorates like to judge their governments on a range of issues, so would be unwilling to judge a government on the performance of the EU Commission. So suddenly the EU Commission ends up being almost unaccountable.
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Jack22
post May 30 2005, 05:52 AM
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QUOTE(Horyok @ Apr 15 2005, 06:11 AM)
The adoption of the Constitution is currently at the heart of the European debate. Its main purpose (to put it very roughly) is to display a common set of ideals and rules that apply for all European citizens within the E.U. Some countries will adopt it through a vote in their national parliaments, while others (like France, Netherlands, Portugal and Britain for instance) are going for a referendum.
*



As an update, apparently France has rejected the EU constitution.

QUOTE(AP)
PARIS -- French voters rejected the European Union's first constitution Sunday, a stinging repudiation of President Jacques Chirac's leadership and the ambitious, decades-long effort to further unite the continent.

Chirac, who urged voters to approve the charter, announced the result in a brief, televised address. He said the process of ratifying the treaty would continue in other EU countries.

"It is your sovereign decision, and I take note," Chirac said. "Make no mistake, France's decision inevitably creates a difficult context for the defense of our interests in Europe."

With 92 percent of votes counted, the treaty was rejected by 56.14 percent of voters, the Interior Ministry said. It was supported by 43.86 percent...
Although approval must be unanimous, the ratification process will continue because nations that vote "no" will be asked to vote again later to be sure.

This post has been edited by Jack22: May 30 2005, 06:00 AM
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Alan Wood
post May 30 2005, 06:47 AM
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Ptarmigan

QUOTE
Its a very good reason to vote no!. A constitution that cannot easily be understood is going to be a nightmare to interpret the moment countries start challenging decisions based on consitutionality.

It may be a reasonable idea at this stage to liken the EU to the formation of the United States.
The original US constitution was laid down in simple terms by the people for the people to understand and has been altered by successive governments to suit the incumbancy.
The EU is making a hash of trying to avoid the retrospective recriminations.

QUOTE
Not at all, the EU will be equally as undemocratic with the treaty as without. The treaty does not increase the power of the EU Parliament, power would still be retained by the Comission, which is somewhat removed from the electorate.

The pure form of Democracy is a dream that can only be wished for and like it or not the ultimate power will continue to be retained by the..Commission..Prime Minister..President..etc.

QUOTE
EU Commissioners do not have to face an electorate, they are appointees.

We have, of course, choice under democracy.
Whatever your taste you are given a candidate...just one or two from either side of the spectrum appointed by the parties.
We vote on these appointees.

Will the EU eventually get it right?
Will it take 100years+ the US took? whistling.gif


Regards....Alan

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Horyok
post May 30 2005, 10:20 AM
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Yes, the vote is confirmed: "Non" wins over "Oui".

As you all know, I was in favor of the EUC personally. But the majority has voted against the project, and democracy rules...

The European Construction doesn't end here of course - now is just a short period of uncertainty and doubt. Although globalization is at our doorstep, I believe the wisest choice for Euro and national politicians is to make the EU more democratic for the average European citizens.

Perhaps taking a longer route than expected will actually rally more belief and fervor from all the Europeans themselves. That's what the EU is really lacking at the moment: trust.

In the little French microscosm, the reasons for the "Non" can be sketched in a few mainlines:

- some are afraid because of high unemployment (10%)
- some are bored of Chirac and his policies (10 years)
- some believe the EUC should be rewritten to be more liberal
- some believe the EUC should be rewritten to be more social
- some think that the EUC means the dissolution of France within a United States of Europe

More generally, It struck me to see how the average Frenchman feels estranged with the political elite. Our political representatives have been on the scene for decades, rambling on, coming into the light, waiting in the shadow, changing their policies with the passing of time, blah, blah, blah... There's no consistance in them. There's no consistance WITH them. We have lost our trust in the French politicians with the years. They have become a joke. Our country has become a joke too.

"Non" resounds like a call for help. But who will answer?

This post has been edited by Horyok: May 30 2005, 10:24 AM
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moif
post May 30 2005, 12:11 PM
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Frankly I'm surprised by the surprise.

First though I must say that I don't see 45% against 55% being a 'landslide victory' for the No side. Its a healthy majority, yes, but hardly the landslide its being called in some corners of the media/political landscape.


Second, I wonder at the naiveté of Europe's politicians. Did they really expect a majority of voters in Europe, against the back drop of the failure of the EU to reform and modernise itself, to continue to back the EU without any reservations whats so ever?


Third, this IS democracy speaking. This IS the will of the French people and I have no doubt what so ever that results mirror the majority of the people of Europe.
People are sick and tired of the Eurocrats and their ivory tower attitudes and its about time the politicians in Brussell and the European capitals stop all the constant whining when ever the population does not share their world view and get on with their jobs.
These politicians seem to have totally forgotten that they are NOT our leaders put in power to tell us what to do. They are our servants, put in power to carry out our wishes!

I watched Chirac yesterday, speaking to the French nation in the light of the referendum and was amazed by his choice of words. He actually made the case that France was weakened in Europe by the vote because it would now be more difficult to protect France's interests within Europe.

And, I have to wonder at this attitude. If it is so great a competition for the nations of Europe to be in the EU, then just what the hell is the EU actually for? If it is so difficult for the poor French government to protect France then surely it is in France's best interest to hold a general election and elect a government that can protect France's best interests against the 'threat' of its European partners.


Fourth. I saw D'stang (or what ever his name is) call for a new referendum!

blink.gif

The sheer audacity of this made me actually gasp. A similar thing happened here in Denmark after we turned down Maastricht in '92, but at least the Danish government had the decency to go back and negotiate a new deal (Edinburgh).


Fifth. The constitution would have been ratified if it had been a valid constitution that had been written so as to be accessable to ALL Europeans and not just the legal elite who apparently have set themselves up as our new aristocracy.

What we need is a constitution as well written and concise as the US constitution, but also one that does not force us into an unwanted federal European super state in order to satisfy the Eurocrat wet dream of countering American global dominance.
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Erasmussimo
post May 30 2005, 03:59 PM
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I am very much a supporter of the ideal of European political integration, because Europe strikes me as overly fragmented. There really is a cultural commonality in Europe, and I think that commonality needs political expression. So I applaud every step forward the Europeans make.

I don't have an opinion on the proposed constitution -- who can? It's so rambling that its implications are impossible to determine. The American Constitution declares grand principles and then leaves the details to be worked out by the courts, an approach that leads directly to complaints about "activist judges". The European approach represents the logical alternative: let all the details be spelled out in the constitution itself. Unfortunately, this makes the constitution unwieldy. I don't see any easy resolution to this problem.

So all I can say is, "Vox populi, vox dei" and "break a leg, guys!"
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Horyok
post May 30 2005, 06:00 PM
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QUOTE
People are sick and tired of the Eurocrats and their ivory tower attitudes and its about time the politicians in Brussell and the European capitals stop all the constant whining when ever the population does not share their world view and get on with their jobs.
These politicians seem to have totally forgotten that they are NOT our leaders put in power to tell us what to do. They are our servants, put in power to carry out our wishes!


That's very true indeed. French and Danes will definitely agree on this one. Politicians, whether they are European or actually French have forgotten that we are the People and that they're here to represent us.

As an example, in the last 20 years, no local politician has taken the time to explain Europe to the French people. No one tried because during all this time they used Brussels as a scapegoat for the failures of their national policies, or to brag about their "influence" and successes over other country members.

Europe is felt like a weight on our shoulders, when it should have swept us up instead.

QUOTE
I watched Chirac yesterday, speaking to the French nation in the light of the referendum and was amazed by his choice of words. He actually made the case that France was weakened in Europe by the vote because it would now be more difficult to protect France's interests within Europe.


France is in a weakened and embarrassing position. But beyond that, Chirac is weakened and embarrassed by the whole thing. He is singled out and his influence over European policies has dropped for quite a while.

QUOTE
And, I have to wonder at this attitude. If it is so great a competition for the nations of Europe to be in the EU, then just what the hell is the EU actually for? If it is so difficult for the poor French government to protect France then surely it is in France's best interest to hold a general election and elect a government that can protect France's best interests against the 'threat' of its European partners.


My personal impression about what France wants (and it's not mine by the way) is that she's been trying to turn the whole EU into a sort of "Superfrance", a realization and extension of the French system, based on her own French values. The idea is to promote and defend her own system against China or the US.

What is the EU? My gut feeling at the moment tells that it's an undemocratic battleground with its own rules of engagement.

This post has been edited by Horyok: May 30 2005, 08:10 PM
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ralou
post May 30 2005, 06:48 PM
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1. As a European or outsider, what do you think of the E.U. Constitution? (benefits, inconveniences, gut feeling)


As an outsider in a country where control in time of civilian unrest was consolidated ((in the year 1789) into the hands of a federal government, I think it's a lot easier to hold your local representatives accountable than to hold federal ones accountable!


2. Do you think the Constitution can actually help member countries and inhabitants to grow a European identity?

Sure, but is that a good thing? Member countries can say to their people, "Sorry, you can't hold us accountable, it's in the European Constitution!" And I'm not sure an "American" identity has been more of a good thing than a curse for us. It's that nationalism that allows mainstreamers to vilify anti-war and anti-policy groups as "unpatriotic" and "malcontents who don't know how good we have it."

3. Do you think the Constitution is designed to identify and defend the European social and trade model?

I thought part of the European and social trade model involved certain rights of member nations and their constituents? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I seem to remember that was the cornerstone of the EU formation. It was mostly a trade bloc, with some courts tacked on, correct? And even then, many citizens were wary of how much power the EU bodies would have. So now isn't this just one more step in the dissolution of that cornerstone?


4. Feel free to give more comments about your vote too!


I can't vote, I'm not European...and in America, the machines vote. I'll give my opinion on your vote instead, how is that? You voted what you thought was in your best interests and in the interests of those things and those people that you care about, which is right and good. I would have voted differently, had I been in France. Either way though, aren't you glad you got to vote, and not some elite body of strangers you might not even have had a hand in electing? I think France's referendum was wonderful, and would have no matter how it turned out, because that referendum gave power to France's people.
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Horyok
post May 30 2005, 08:07 PM
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QUOTE
I'll give my opinion on your vote instead, how is that? You voted what you thought was in your best interests and in the interests of those things and those people that you care about, which is right and good. I would have voted differently, had I been in France. Either way though, aren't you glad you got to vote, and not some elite body of strangers you might not even have had a hand in electing? I think France's referendum was wonderful, and would have no matter how it turned out, because that referendum gave power to France's people.


Absolutely. That's the wonder of democracy! biggrin.gif
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Jack22
post May 31 2005, 12:08 AM
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QUOTE(moif @ May 30 2005, 07:11 AM)
First though I must say that I don't see 45% against 55% being a 'landslide victory' for the No side. Its a healthy majority, yes, but hardly the landslide its being called in some corners of the media/political landscape.
...
Third, this IS democracy speaking. This IS the will of the French people and I have no doubt what so ever that results mirror the majority of the people of Europe.
*

Quite right. However, in the US Senate, this would not be democracy speaking-- according to our national Democrats, democracy and the will of the people doesn't kick in until you have a 61-39 vote and a concurring court.

QUOTE(Erasmussimo)
The American Constitution declares grand principles and then leaves the details to be worked out by the courts, an approach that leads directly to complaints about "activist judges". The European approach represents the logical alternative: let all the details be spelled out in the constitution itself. Unfortunately, this makes the constitution unwieldy. I don't see any easy resolution to this problem.

So all I can say is, "Vox populi, vox dei" and "break a leg, guys!"
Actually, "vox populi" comes closer to what the US Constitution does... it does not leave the details to be worked out by the courts, it leaves the details to be worked out by the elected representatives of the People in Congress, with the courts only interpreting law as it applies to specific cases. Legislation is supposed to happen in the legislative branch, but apparently, some are finding it difficult to accept that American voters have soundly rejected their opinions, and have turned to anti-democratic courts to dictate the laws they prefer.
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Sevac
post May 31 2005, 05:15 AM
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Quite frankly, I am very disappointed by the French no. And I want to take the time here to point out why direct democracy is not the best way to solve political problems.
The campaign we have seen in France by the non-supporters was basically to compare the Constitution Treaty with a hypothetical Constitution that was more ideal in the eyes of the French public. Yet this hypothetical constitution does not exist anywhere nor will it. So the nay-sayers fought with dubious tricks and the majority bought it.
In addition to that many Frenchmen and -women voted against the constitution because they thought it was a way to signal their political elite to choose a different path - but not necessarily in the realm of the constitution but in other specific areas, such as a EU-membership of Turkey.
I would postulate that as a lack of understanding the constitution a great deal of people chose this referendum to show the politicians that they are fed up by their government for various reasons that have nothing to do with the text itself or the effects of it on Europe.

Yet that does not reflect the position of the French people on the constitution.
That are just some points why I think it is not the best way to let people decide by referenda, there might be more suitable ways.

Of course other countries might reject the constitution, but for totally different reasons.

I am sorry to see the integration process delayed. The psychological effect of this no might be disastrous to the public in other countries. The dream of a politically unified peaceful Europe just heard the morning bell of the French.
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Ptarmigan
post May 31 2005, 08:56 AM
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QUOTE
I am sorry to see the integration process delayed. The psychological effect of this no might be disastrous to the public in other countries. The dream of a politically unified peaceful Europe just heard the morning bell of the French.


I think it is a little too soon to start getting pessimistic. Let us remember that Europe is composed of 30-odd individual countries, with their own unique cultures and histories and ways of doing things.
It is natural that too much integration too soon is not going to be acceptable to everyone! The EU has been trying to integrate countries that have been around for a thousand or so years and it has been trying to do this in a manner of decades. Of course it's going to stumble every now and then.

Secondly a 'no' vote doesn't mean anything to the Union as it has developed so far. All the existing agreements and arrangements are still as valid and operating as they were before Sunday. The French didn't vote to leave the EU or anything nearly as dramatic as that. They merely vetoed the 'next step' the EU was planning to take - and to be honest, if they hadn't, the British would have.

This gives us a chance to sit back and look at what the Union is to be and how we want it to develop. It is sends a clear message that these decisions should be made by the European people, rather than by a Brussels elite.

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