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

I think its too much too fast. As a union we are still in a state of embryonic development with almost half the union still in a transfer period. This is not the right time for a consitution because there has been no constitutional debate.

There is a gap between the politicians and the population with regards to Europe and that gap needs to be addressed lest we end up being governed by laws that have no popular support.

Also, many European nations already have constitutions and what is to become of these? Again, there has been no debate to clarify just what exactly this new constitution will mean.


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

I doubt it. People in Europe identify with tradition and culture, not laws or politicians. This is not America.

Also, there is a great scepticism in Europe with regards to the EU. Almost 90% or more of our politicians are in favour of the union, but in the general population the divide is closer to 50/50.


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

Not really. I think the constitution is just a way of establishing a solid legal foundation for the federal super government that has queitly been under construction these last few decades with the implied cause of bringing a European counter weight to US global domination.


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

I shall be voting no to the constitution. Mostly this is because I don't trust the people who wrote it. I don't know them and I heard nothing about what went into the creation of the constitution. If I am to vote for a law which will govern the rest of my life and that of my children, then I want to know more about that law than just reading it after it is a fact.

Also, I don't trust any base law that is so verbose. The US constitution is effective because it is concise. There is far less room for misunderstanding and fewer loop holes for clever individuals to take advantage of the law. At 800 odd pages the EU constitution is far to long and far to difficult to read and understand for most people.

It is a constitution written by lawyers.


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

I feel that there is a lack of democratic participation within the EU as a whole and that the EU Parliament (the really accountable body) is far too weak in comparison to the Commission (or the Council) - which is (are) largely unaccountable to the population of the EU as a whole. I believe that this generally lack of accountability has led to the formation of a constitution that does not really take into account the views of the majority of the population of the EU.
Secondly, the EU contains countries with differing social and economic models. The only way a constitution could succesfully work for everyone is by being extremely concise, rather thatn the enormous sprawling mess which we are presented with.

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

'A' Constitution certainly could, if it was limited in scope, rather than trying to prescribe everything. This one won't. Most countries within the EU already have a 'European' identity - and those that don't are developing one. Increasing economic interactions are also blurring the lines between cultures and nationalities - although the process has a long way to go before we have anything apporaching the common American identity.

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

Well, there is no 'European' social and trade model. There is a Western European social democratic model, there is a British and Eastern European liberal economic model and attitudes on trade range from the uber-liberal free traders, to the protectionists.
I think part of the problem with the constitution is that it ignores these differences. As a result, the French fear the intrusion of Anglo-Saxon economics, the British fear the intrusion of French social democracy. (I'm deliberately trying not to argue for the superiority of one model over another - merely I'm arguing that economic and social models vary hugely throughout Europe).
Obviously there are many more different models to look at. I picked two that were easy to contrast. (IMO we should all be looking at Scandinavia a bit more, they seem to combine healthy economic growth and provide a high level of social welfare)

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

Its tricky if you are in Britain. I am very pro-European, but I believe that the EU needs to make some fundamental changes before it can work, for pragmatic reasons. I support the inclusion of Turkey, but I also support greater integration within the EU and I think it needs greater economic liberalisation. However, if there is a strong 'No' vote in the UK, then increasingly politicians will clamour for the UK to leave the EU altogether, which is not something I want to see at all. On the other hand, I do not support the consititution as it stands, so do not want to vote 'Yes'!

However, assuming the French don't scupper it first, I will vote 'Yes' - but purely to play my part in ensuring that the UK continues to play a role in the EU and its development.








Horyok
Thanks to both of you for replying! smile.gif

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

Moif, I agree with you that the European process is going too fast. That's actually what's gotten many French people scared - they feel that Europe is a nice project in the mind, but it's run completely out of control... their control. Democratic control is far, so far from us... sad.gif

About the Constitution now, it's in fact another treaty. It doesn't supercede (sp?) or replace the national Constitutions of EU members which are meant to stay. Again, many people in France (including me) thought that it designed to replace our Cnstitution! That shows how little we actually know about the way the EU works. unsure.gif

Ptarmigan, I share a common point of view about the consultation process. Ideally, I think it is our national parliaments that should have in charge of the project of making propositions to go into the Constitution. However, it would appear that the group that reflected on it was actually quite big already (several hundred people) and contained people from various domains (political or not) and more important, from all the countries of the EU. I am not sure that the current project is worse than if it had been done by national bodies instead. What it lacks though is a public credibility, because nobody voted for the guys who created the Constitution.

The EU Constitution (EUC) is a text based on a compromise, where 25 nations put their wills and values. It cannot be compared with the American Constitution per se because it's related to only one nation, the US. With all due respect, forget about simplicity and concision here! If you read the treaty (I did myself), you'll notice that it's loaded with juridic gibberish, yet it's organized somehow. You can check it here : European Constitution

Parts III, IV and the Final Act have already been okayed by the 25 nations, as they are indeed the transfer of past treaties into the EUC. Only Parts I & II should be of some interest to you. They are actually the closest matches to our national Constitutions or Bill of Rights. For the record, I have read parts III and IV, so I'll be glad to discuss them with you if you like.


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

It seems that all three of us agree that there is first a national identity, our "blueprint", before any European feelings. Like in Denmark, French people have very mixed feelings about Europe (50/50 too).

Personally, I'm still wondering if the Constitution should be the foundation of European identity, or its crown. At least, I suggest it should be the guidelines to our European behaviors within our borders, and beyond. Maybe it will result in a more unified Europe, with great expense of efforts and time indeed!...


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

QUOTE
Moif
Not really. I think the constitution is just a way of establishing a solid legal foundation for the federal super government that has queitly been under construction these last few decades with the implied cause of bringing a European counter weight to US global domination.


Your reaction is interesting in various ways. I am very much in favor of a global federal government of Europe myself, and I believe the EUC could be THE tool that would finally start the process. Becoming united as one nation just for being the counterweight of the US is not something I would approve though. I believe there could be other, European-made, benefits to merging into a single country.

People like Chirac see the US as a behemoth to dominate and counter, and they hope the EUC will give them the power to do just that. While I believe in fair trade more than free trade to an extent, I don't like the idea that my vote for a better Union is going to be used to cause possible trade harm to our American friends.

QUOTE
Ptarmigan
Well, there is no 'European' social and trade model. There is a Western European social democratic model, there is a British and Eastern European liberal economic model and attitudes on trade range from the uber-liberal free traders, to the protectionists.
I think part of the problem with the constitution is that it ignores these differences. As a result, the French fear the intrusion of Anglo-Saxon economics, the British fear the intrusion of French social democracy. (I'm deliberately trying not to argue for the superiority of one model over another - merely I'm arguing that economic and social models vary hugely throughout Europe).
Obviously there are many more different models to look at. I picked two that were easy to contrast. (IMO we should all be looking at Scandinavia a bit more, they seem to combine healthy economic growth and provide a high level of social welfare)


Maybe I should have preferred the word ‘tradition’ to ‘model’ when referring to the EU. My various journeys and stays in different countries of the continent have told me that there is indeed an European tradition, or heritage, whether it was in France, U.K, Netherlands, Spain, Belgium or Italy. All our cultures are different, yet they have something in common that the American culture doesn’t have for instance. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there is indeed a European essence somehow.

The mutual fear between France and the U.K. over the EUC is a symbol in itself of its misinterpretation. It’s true that many in France fear that the EUC is ‘liberal’ while just as many of their British counterparts think the exact opposite. Actually, the EUC is to neither liberal or social and it doesn’t seek to favour any camp over another.

The EUC is a set of rules, like they exist in football for instance; these rules don’t say which team is going to win, but they tell both how to play the game.

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

I vote Yes to the EUC. I believe it will bring greater stability and efficiency within the Union. The part I'm afraid of is "How are we going to make the EU more democratic?"
Sevac
*Uh uh uh* Finally a topic I am anxious to discuss.
First of all, for I am German, I have no possibility to vote for or against the constitution, however I am glad the German Bundestag and the Bundesrat are going to approve the constitutional treaty.

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

Stating the obvious, I reckon it is apparent to most people that the EU as it exists now is too technocratic and not democratical enough. So all people who disapprove of this fact should vote yes to the new constitution, because it provides the EU Parliament a lot more power and the people some direct-democratic elements.
Furthermore it helps to overcome the extreme veto-power dilemma. If any of the 25 members does not agree with something, it can block any legislation. That is going to change with the constitution treaty, for it will "only" need a doubly majority on many topics except of course military and foreign policy and such.

I think it is time for a constitution for another reason. Moif mentioned, that he felt the constitution came to soon and was written by people he doesn't know. That is true, however most "Americans" didn't know any of the founding fathers. Granted, not too many of them were lawyers, and I agree with Moif that the constitution is not well-written. But I believe in that case that the spirit of the constitution is what counts, not the words. The general public in Europe is divided 50/50 about the constitution and the EU in general. I blame the absence of a constitution and the lack of democratic elements in the legislative process for that. Many people don't approve it because the EU is not transparent enough, they don't see who is doing what and why. That has to change and it will with the new constitution treaty.

Maybe Horyok can support me when I say that in the preceding time of the referendum the media in France has been debating the constitution, it's pros and cons and kept the French very informed about the EU-constitution. Maybe the same will happen in Denmark as well and Moif might change his opinion towards the constitution.

2. Do you think the Constitution can actually help member countries and inhabitants to grow a European identity?
I do believe and I hope so. There already is a European identity, it is the knowledge of past common sins and hatred towards each other that led to virtually total destruction and the loss of hundred of million lives. Probably every family living in the EU now has lost loved ones in the last hundred years due to wars fought because of nationalist propaganda and totalitarian visions of a supremacy over others.

I am pro-European for the reason that in a Unified Europe there is little chance of pointless war and hatred towards a neighbor. Furthermore, from an entirely German perspective, it gives especially Germans a way to be proud to be something without raising any eyebrows.
If I would say "I am proud to be a German", I would be immediately considered to be extreme-right. Yet "I am proud to be a European" is different, to be European to be a part of this, is worth to be proud of. For me, and respectively for many Germans it is a way to find a grip or an identity that National Socialism has misused and that has been washed away in it's process.

In addition to that I have to point out that the essence of Europe is more than common experience. There have been intense trade relations with people in Europe for more than 5000 years. Vast migrations have kept the continent inter-cultural. Ideas have spread over borders and changed entire societies, and the enlightenment has been experienced by every single European nation. That is the common heritage of Europe, that is it's essence.

3. Do you think the Constitution is designed to identify and defend the European social and trade model?
No. A constitution would not be necessary to defend any trade or social model, plus there is no "European" model. United through diversity.

4. Feel free to give more comments about your vote too!
With 25 members and 2 more in 2007 Europe will become an even greater body, a body that needs to be efficient and powerful. The constitution may provide the first, I hope for a movement that will successfully accomplish the second. The "Common Foreign and Security Policy" could be a first step toward a European Military and a unification of the military. The expenses of the 25 EU-members on defense are about the same as the US-American budget. Yet there are 25 hierarchies to maintain, and there are a lot more chiefs than warriors to pay. Europe doesn't need an army like the US, but by combining its forces it can bring the synergies to far better use.
I am glad to live in a time when nations come together in common cause with a vision for something better.
Horyok
Thanks for joining our conversation Sevac!

QUOTE
Sevac
If any of the 25 members does not agree with something, it can block any legislation. That is going to change with the constitution treaty, for it will "only" need a doubly majority on many topics except of course military and foreign policy and such.


As much as I agree with you on the efficiency of the Union with the adoption of the EUC, I worry somehow about our smaller countries' power of representation. They don't have many representatives in Parliament as major countries. Germany, U.K. and France have 78 representatives each when Danemark (hello Moif) has only 14 for instance. This is indeed in proportion of the actual population of each member country, but I'm afraid the small countries will feel left out by the European construction and will be reduced to mere satellites. unsure.gif

QUOTE
Maybe Horyok can support me when I say that in the preceding time of the referendum the media in France has been debating the constitution, it's pros and cons and kept the French very informed about the EU-constitution. Maybe the same will happen in Denmark as well and Moif might change his opinion towards the constitution.


Well, this time, people and the media are complaining of the lack of information! Books from politicians from all sides and political analysts from the media are blosoming everywhere : people have a dtrong thirst for understanding the EUC. Since they don't put much trust in the politicians, there are many private discussions and public meetings taking place at the moment all over the country. People want to decide for their destiny themselves this time. thumbsup.gif

The current poll indicates 56% for the NO and 44% for the YES. But half of the population hasn't made up its mind yet... Chirac held a public debate with 80 young French people from all parts of the country. It was his first public stand in favor of the EUC... as a result, the NO has increased!!! wacko.gif
crashfourit
1. As a European or outsider, what do you think of the E.U. Constitution? (benefits, inconveniences, gut feeling)
Well, as an outsider, the EU constitution is a bit verbose.
QUOTE(moif)
Also, I don't trust any base law that is so verbose. The US constitution is effective because it is concise. There is far less room for misunderstanding and fewer loop holes for clever individuals to take advantage of the law. At 800 odd pages the EU constitution is far to long and far to difficult to read and understand for most people.

The US Constitution has about 11-13 pages including amendments. This compared to the approximately 800 pages of the proposed EU Constitution tells me that it is just plain too verbose. Trying to fix most issues with the Base Law of the Land is not wise; it needs to be flexible (to a point). I understand the need for "Checks and Balances" in the constitution, but there comes a point when the Law of Diminishing Returns comes and bites you.

We American's constantly argue on what our constitution means with only 11-13 pages; what could happen with inside Europe with the proposed constitution (~800 pages) when it comes to interpretation?

My gut feeling says this: "Bad Road". If it starts to exceed 25 pages, I start to worry.

My rule of thumb: A constitution needs enough complexity for checks and Balances, but needs to simple enough to be read and understood by the common man.

2. Do you think the Constitution can actually help member countries and inhabitants to grow a European identity?
It took aproximnetely 70+ years for the US to start on this path (a few years before the Revolutionary War to the end of Reconstitution, in my opinion), and we are in an on going prosses in doing so. It will be a prosses; time is needed; and it should not be rushed. A constitution is a tool (an extremely important one at that) to that end and it needs to be flexible (to a point). Being that it is very verbose, it has more of a chance of "Murphy's Law" to come to play.

Horyok
QUOTE
crashfourit

The US Constitution has about 11-13 pages including amendments. This compared to the approximately 800 pages of the proposed EU Constitution tells me that it is just plain too verbose. Trying to fix most issues with the Base Law of the Land is not wise; it needs to be flexible (to a point). I understand the need for "Checks and Balances" in the constitution, but there comes a point when the Law of Diminishing Returns comes and bites you.

We American's constantly argue on what our constitution means with only 11-13 pages; what could happen with inside Europe with the proposed constitution (~800 pages) when it comes to interpretation?


A great deal of the EUC consists in a repetition of earlier treaties (parts III and IV). The Final Statement is only here to indicate and specify specific understandings and conditions put by some states regarding some of the articles presented in previous parts.

The core of the EUC, its specific addition comes with parts I and II. It is still a big load to read, too big perhaps. However, the EUC reflects the complexity of our European Alliance : we are 25 countries, 25 states, 25 nations. The EUC spends great caution and care to precise each point carefully so that all EU members can understand and ratify it. There is still room for interpretation of course, but most articles are quite self explanatory (I'm talking about parts I & II).

I wonder if the American Constitution would have been so short if History had had a different twist. Imagine for instance, the creation of a constitution that represents independent settlers from England (the new 'Americans') and from the Netherlands living in the East; add to them the subjects of the crown of Spain to the South and West; include the subjects of the crown of France living between the two; finally, integrate all the native American tribes... sounds complex, doesn't it?Well, this is comparable to what the EU is facing at the moment! wink.gif

QUOTE
My gut feeling says this: "Bad Road". If it starts to exceed 25 pages, I start to worry.

My rule of thumb: A constitution needs enough complexity for checks and Balances, but needs to simple enough to be read and understood by the common man.


I agree with you : simplicity is the key. But don't forget the context.


moif
QUOTE(Horyok)
Moif, I agree with you that the European process is going too fast. That's actually what's gotten many French people scared - they feel that Europe is a nice project in the mind, but it's run completely out of control... their control. Democratic control is far, so far from us...  sad.gif
Indeed, but there is more to it than just a lack of control. There is also no consensus on purpose either.

Just what is the purpose of the EU? Originally it was for greater trade and a freedom of mobility for European citizens. Now we are being presented with a document refered to as a constitution. To me, a constitution is a legal foundation for a state.

Are we creating a federal European super state or not? The issue is completely clouded. And if we are creating such an entity... why?

What do I gain as a citizen of Denmark from this union? What will this constitution give me that I don't already have? As far as I can see, nothing what so ever. Quite the opposite in fact, I am being asked to dillute the democratic power I have to control the politicians who run my country.

Frankly, the more I see of the EU, the less I like it. We've seen too many examples of new EU directives and laws that actually lower the standards here in Denmark. We have/had numerous powerful environmental laws here and these are constantly being eroded by the EU due to the concerns of less environmentally friendly EU member states like Italy, Spain, France and Portugal. Now we are being told that the laws we have that govern which chemicals are allowed in food products are to be replaced by EU laws... EU laws that were created with the help of lobby activities by multinational corporations and big business interests.

So, again, I'm left with the question. What do I get from the EU that I don't already have?


QUOTE(Horyok)
Your reaction is interesting in various ways. I am very much in favor of a global federal government of Europe myself, and I believe the EUC could be THE tool that would finally start the process. Becoming united as one nation just for being the counterweight of the US is not something I would approve though. I believe there could be other, European-made, benefits to merging into a single country.
A global federal government would open all of Europe to the same corruption that has crippled the US governemnt allowing large companies and big money interests to simply buy the laws they want. It will enable the lobbying of all of Europe's political power in one geographical location and change forever the political reality of Europe.

Europe is what it is because of what it is. By changing the way we are now, you will change Europe into another version of the USA and it will prove just as impossible to retain individual interests against powerful multinationals here as it has in the USA.

We will become slaves to unchecked capitalism just as the Americans are.


QUOTE(Sevac)
I think it is time for a constitution for another reason. Moif mentioned, that he felt the constitution came to soon and was written by people he doesn't know. That is true, however most "Americans" didn't know any of the founding fathers. Granted, not too many of them were lawyers, and I agree with Moif that the constitution is not well-written. But I believe in that case that the spirit of the constitution is what counts, not the words. The general public in Europe is divided 50/50 about the constitution and the EU in general. I blame the absence of a constitution and the lack of democratic elements in the legislative process for that. Many people don't approve it because the EU is not transparent enough, they don't see who is doing what and why. That has to change and it will with the new constitution treaty.
The 'spirit' of anything canot be determined in advance, and frankly, laws do not have 'spirit'.

When you are standing in a courtroom being judged, it is the letter of the law that counts, not its 'spirit'.

The EU constitution offers us nothing to bind the people of Europe closer together. We are already as close as we are ever going to be unless we disolve our nations and become one single super state.

Which is something that I will never vote for.


QUOTE(Sevac)
Maybe Horyok can support me when I say that in the preceding time of the referendum the media in France has been debating the constitution, it's pros and cons and kept the French very informed about the EU-constitution. Maybe the same will happen in Denmark as well and Moif might change his opinion towards the constitution.
No amount of debate can change the fundamental nature of the constitution. Debate after the ink on the document is dried is pointless, it can't change my perception of what is at stake.

Any debate regarding a constitution should have taken place before such a document was drawn up. In fact, each country ought to have had the option of putting forward their own draft constitution so that we could actually compare what it is we all want from the EU.

Instead we are offered a legal treaty that has no apparent advantage to our lives, quite possibly hides all manner of sins in its convoluted bulk, is barely understandable to those that have even bothered to read it, is being pushed up on us by politicians we can barely trust (given they are so out of step with the general public with regards to the EU) and is one more step in taking away our nations and replacing them with the United States of Europe.

I am not an American, I have no wish to become an American, no wish to emulate America and no desire to provide a 'geopolitical counterweight to America'.

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

Any EU agreements must support and strengthen Denmark. Not detract from it by catering to outside influences that lower our standards, dillute our democracy and make us vulnerable to mulitnational corporate interests.


QUOTE(Horyok)
As much as I agree with you on the efficiency of the Union with the adoption of the EUC, I worry somehow about our smaller countries' power of representation. They don't have many representatives in Parliament as major countries. Germany, U.K. and France have 78 representatives each when Danemark (hello Moif) has only 14 for instance. This is indeed in proportion of the actual population of each member country, but I'm afraid the small countries will feel left out by the European construction and will be reduced to mere satellites.
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

Horyok
Quite complicated issues these are!

QUOTE
Indeed, but there is more to it than just a lack of control. There is also no consensus on purpose either.

Just what is the purpose of the EU? Originally it was for greater trade and a freedom of mobility for European citizens. Now we are being presented with a document refered to as a constitution. To me, a constitution is a legal foundation for a state.

Are we creating a federal European super state or not? The issue is completely clouded. And if we are creating such an entity... why?


I don't have any easy answer to give you, Moif. I believe the purpose of the Union can be summarized by its creed: "United in diversity", as Sevac reminded us. That's the all crux of the problem : "How much united can we be while remaining diverse?"

QUOTE
What do I gain as a citizen of Denmark from this union? What will this constitution give me that I don't already have? As far as I can see, nothing what so ever. Quite the opposite in fact, I am being asked to dillute the democratic power I have to control the politicians who run my country.


In all honesty, I could ask the same question myself. The EUC doesn't bring me any better lifestyle on a national scale. The only interest I find is if I live in any other country of the union... then it would mean an equal treatment for me and any national there. I must admit that it's quite a weak argument.

Maybe the EUC serves the purpose of bringing the EU the legitimacy as our future super state. That's a scary perspective, although it makes sense if the union is to grow stronger.

QUOTE
Frankly, the more I see of the EU, the less I like it. We've seen too many examples of new EU directives and laws that actually lower the standards here in Denmark. We have/had numerous powerful environmental laws here and these are constantly being eroded by the EU due to the concerns of less environmentally friendly EU member states like Italy, Spain, France and Portugal. Now we are being told that the laws we have that govern which chemicals are allowed in food products are to be replaced by EU laws... EU laws that were created with the help of lobby activities by multinational corporations and big business interests.

So, again, I'm left with the question. What do I get from the EU that I don't already have?


We can't undo what we did in the last two wars. All of us, whether it's you Moif in Denmark, or Sevac in Germany, or Ptarmigan in the U.K., or me in France, have members of our families that fought or were deported or killed then. We used to be our own worse enemies.

The birth of the EU put the dissent aside and proved to be an efficient tool to build and maintain peace among ourselves. It was not the only way of course, but it was a significant progress. Moreover, it came from Europeans themselves!

Now, I agree that the EU has 'shadowed' some of its original benefits under the cloak of its size, lobbies and distance from Europeans. That's a great shame. People will loose the European dream if it bears no meaning to them. To me, it means that I'm free to visit anyone I know in the U.K. or the Netherlands without having to worry if war is raging somewhere in these countries. It may sound dumb, but this security is a great benefit to me.

QUOTE
A global federal government would open all of Europe to the same corruption that has crippled the US governemnt allowing large companies and big money interests to simply buy the laws they want. It will enable the lobbying of all of Europe's political power in one geographical location and change forever the political reality of Europe.


If corruption is seeping into the system, we must grant the system the means to defend itself and the European citizens. We can't complain about it and do nothing. In other words, the only way to prevent the Union from decaying is to give it more power, more strength, more efficiency. We are not destined to become the United States of Europe. Therefore, we don't have to suffer from their mistakes and flaws.

QUOTE
Europe is what it is because of what it is. By changing the way we are now, you will change Europe into another version of the USA and it will prove just as impossible to retain individual interests against powerful multinationals here as it has in the USA.


We are not the USA. I think all Europeans on AD will agree with you.

Maybe there's a way to go back, and undo the EU. We would turn back to what we were, separated and all standing for ourselves instead of together. I don't think this would bring much good to us with globalization. But it's a choice, a possibility.

But we can't stay as we are now. The Union can't go on like it is, torn between nation-states and a super-national power it has not become yet. If we are to keep the EU, we must go forward and organize it more and better.

If we can benefit from our size to match the power and influence of other superpowers on the planet, at the cost of more integration or the dissolution of our frontiers, then I say : "Be it". I'm not afraid to become European, because I know I'm not going to loose my identity and I know where I come from.

As a summary, here's what I think I'm gaining from the EU :
1. Peace and stability within
2. Power and influence outside

QUOTE
We will become slaves to unchecked capitalism just as the Americans are.


That remains to be seen.

QUOTE
The 'spirit' of anything canot be determined in advance, and frankly, laws do not have 'spirit'.

When you are standing in a courtroom being judged, it is the letter of the law that counts, not its 'spirit'.


It would work if you replace 'spirit' with 'method' or 'principle'.
And when you are standing in a courtroom, the letter of the law counts, but the interpretation of the judge and/or the decision of the jury do too.

I don't mean to bash down your analysis and your feeling; I believe they are both right, although I happen to think differently. In all cases, the EUC can be amended and it will evolve with time.

QUOTE
The EU constitution offers us nothing to bind the people of Europe closer together. We are already as close as we are ever going to be unless we disolve our nations and become one single super state.

Which is something that I will never vote for.


The EUC doesn't make me feel closer to you, or Sevac, or Ptarmigan, as a person. The EUC doesn't build an European identity for us, but a common administrative system for all. The European identity can only be achieved with the efforts of each of us to know his neighbor better. That's the longest road, but it's also the best. smile.gif
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moif
QUOTE(Horyok)
The birth of the EU put the dissent aside and proved to be an efficient tool to build and maintain peace among ourselves. It was not the only way of course, but it was a significant progress. Moreover, it came from Europeans themselves!
Ahh... but is that so? Aren't you forgetting the context? And don't forget that the EU as the political entity we know today did not actually exist during most of the last six decades.

It was not any sense of European fraternity that gave us the last six decades of peace. It was sheer exhaustion from the worst war the world had ever seen, coupled with the need to stand alongside the USA against the threat of the Soviet Union.

The EU would never have existed had it not been for the deep freeze of the cold war. Without the USA we would never have withstood the Soviet Union so any notion that Europe is free due to its internal merits is flawed. Europe is free today because the USA protected it. The EU only exists today because the USA protected it.

The people of Europe have done very little to safe guard their own liberty. Even in recent times the people of Europe watched with lazy eyes as the spectre of the past returned to sneer at us in Bosnia and Kroatia.

Where was the love of freedom in the people of Europe then? Where was our sense of justice? of fraternity? We watched, indifferent, whilst the Serbs and Kroats slaughtered people in death camps and mass graves as if the Holocaust had never taken place.

I'm sorry, but I don't believe that the people of Europe have any cause to celebrate our putting aside of dissent or maintaining peace. So far we have done nothing but sign treaty's and shake hands. At the one moment where we, as Europeans could have proven to ourselves and the world that we really did believe in freedom, peace and liberty, that we could act, on the strength of our own convictions, without being prompted or requested to do so by the USA, then, we did nothing.


QUOTE
If corruption is seeping into the system, we must grant the system the means to defend itself and the European citizens. We can't complain about it and do nothing. In other words, the only way to prevent the Union from decaying is to give it more power, more strength, more efficiency. We are not destined to become the United States of Europe. Therefore, we don't have to suffer from their mistakes and flaws.
What do you mean 'if'?

Have you taken a look at the way the EU is run? At the amount of funds being poured into the European agricultural sector in order to maintain its survival? The EU is corrupt through and through. It has always been corrupt. I seriously doubt that the EU would even be able to function were it not for the corruption that is the traditional way of doing politics in Europe.

And if we allow the EU to become a federal super state, then we will become the United States of Europe... thats what 'EU' actually means, European Union. Its just another way of saying it.

We even have the little stars on the flag to symbolise the individual states.


QUOTE
We are not the USA. I think all Europeans on AD will agree with you.
I didn't say we were. I said we would become another version of the USA.

The USA is already federal super state. The EU is attempting to become another such.


QUOTE
If we can benefit from our size to match the power and influence of other superpowers on the planet, at the cost of more integration or the dissolution of our frontiers, then I say : "Be it". I'm not afraid to become European, because I know I'm not going to loose my identity and I know where I come from.
Yes, but this is not a question of identity. Its a question of controlling my life.

As a Dane I have democratic rights that enable me to exert an influence on my national leaders and my nations laws. I have a greater say in how my nation is run.
Our democratic rights are already under pressure from the EU and from multi national corporate interests, but as a EUropean, I don't have any say in anything. I become reduced to the level of an American, a mere observor of a political process that pays lip service to an ever indifferent population.


QUOTE
As a summary, here's what I think I'm gaining from the EU :
1. Peace and stability within
2. Power and influence outside
We already have Peace and stability within.

So, the only thing you going to get from a federal EU is the latter... which is exactly the geopolitical counter weight to the USA that Jaques Chirac advoocates and which you said earlier you didn't want.


QUOTE
That remains to be seen.
Its already happening. Denmark voted no to the Maastricht treaty, so they rewrote it and called it the Edinburgh treaty and it passed by 2% majority and was adopted.

Denmark voted no to the Euro, but again, this was ignored and they tried a second time to get us to adopt the Euro.

Twice now, on matters pertaining to the EU we have seen our democratic decisions pushed aside in the cause of the EU by unsrupulous politicians.


QUOTE
The EUC doesn't make me feel closer to you, or Sevac, or Ptarmigan, as a person. The EUC doesn't build an European identity for us, but a common administrative system for all. The European identity can only be achieved with the efforts of each of us to know his neighbor better. That's the longest road, but it's also the best.  smile.gif
What is this European identity?

Americans, for example, are Americans because that is their nationality. They share a common language, a common legal system, a common government, a common economy.

If we adopt all of these (as we gradually are doing) then we will become as they are. Citizens of a federal super state.

As we are today, as we have been for the last few thousand years, we are not of one identity. Europeans we may be, but homo sapiens we are equally so. To be 'European' means nothing. There is no such thing as 'European culture'. There is nothing intrinsically European that sets us apart from the Americans or the Africans or the Asians.

I am a human being. My nationality is Danish. My culture is Danish.

Europe has nothing to do with it.

A vote for the constitution of the EU is another step towards the federal European super state that will erase the nation of Denmark as a political entity and which I have no wish to be a citizen of.
crashfourit
QUOTE(moif)
Americans, for example, are Americans because that is their nationality. They share a common language, a common legal system, a common government, a common economy.
Americans did go through a prosses to get to this point. We did go through a stage similar to the current EU, the Articles of Confederation. The main problems with the A.C. was that there was not unified currency and individual states could make treaties with separate competing foreign states. The notion of being loyal to your state first and to the U.S. second lasted to about the U.S. Civil War, but Americas still do think of themselves as members of their respective states second to being American, I.E. Arkansan, Texan, etc.

QUOTE(moif)
It was not any sense of European fraternity that gave us the last six decades of peace. It was sheer exhaustion from the worst war the world had ever seen, coupled with the need to stand alongside the USA against the threat of the Soviet Union.
Well, I would say that a simular scenario happened to the U.S.
The former colonies banded together as a Super State to help ward of the threat of English invasion (happened in 1812), the French to the west, and the Spanish to the south. If it wasn't for these threats, the U.S. just might have not existed.

QUOTE(moif)
Frankly, the more I see of the EU, the less I like it. We've seen too many examples of new EU directives and laws that actually lower the standards here in Denmark. We have/had numerous powerful environmental laws here and these are constantly being eroded by the EU due to the concerns of less environmentally friendly EU member states like Italy, Spain, France and Portugal. Now we are being told that the laws we have that govern which chemicals are allowed in food products are to be replaced by EU laws... EU laws that were created with the help of lobby activities by multinational corporations and big business interests.
The individual American states have a simular problem with their federal government. I personally think that such problems are inherent in federal super state political system, but it is ironically one of the best ways to unify several sovereign nations. wacko.gif

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?
Julian
1. As a European or outsider, what do you think of the E.U. Constitution? (benefits, inconveniences, gut feeling)
I am a member of a local amatuer dramatics group, and we have a Constitution that ets out how we elect our committee, what we are for, who can or cannot be members, and so on.
I find it risible that many opponents of the proposed draft EU Constitution, especially here in the UK, seem to think that the alternative is not to have a Constitution at all.

I've read the proposed Constitution (I was very bored - even more so by the time I'd finished it) and I couldn't see anything in it that was not already there or thereabouts in the various treaties (Maastrict in particular) that are already in effect, so I don't think it is anything new to be afraid of. Indeed, I think that the unpleasant wordiness stems mainly form the fact that the drafters were not working with a blank sheet of paper, but trying to draw together the threads of past treaties.

2. Do you think the Constitution can actually help member countries and inhabitants to grow a European identity?
I think that will happen whether or not we have a formalised Constitution, written or unwritten. European youth culture is converging already (around music, films, computer games, the internet, etc. - the same things that are driving GLOBAL convergence), and the free movement of labour provided for in the EU - with or without the Constitution - will gradually spread the awareness that despite language and local quirks, we really are not all that different.
I think that as Asian economies (most particularly China and India) become more and more dominant, perhaps in the fullness of time eclipsing the USA and Europe in importance, European convergence, in terms of a regional identity and transnational "consciousness" will continue with a momentum of its own independent of whether a single political entity forms. And I think that such a political entity will, eventually and inevitably, form, whether or not the proposed Constitution is approved.

I do not think that the development of a European identity necessarily means that national identities will be subsumed or lost, if the owners of those identities do not want hem to be. Oddly, Britain (traditionally a most Eurosceptic EU member) is the exemplar of how this can work - we have three distinct nationalities on the mainland that have coexisted more or less peacefully for centuries. (Actually, I think the Celtic experience makes them generally less Eurosceptic than the English, who associate the idea of heirarchical nationalities with the idea of conquest, and the English experience of conquest since 1066 is that it's somehting they do to other people.)

3. Do you think the Constitution is designed to identify and defend the European social and trade model?
Yes, in it's own clumsy and verbose way.
I would say that it can ultimately be traced back to the French revolutionary idea of Liberty Equality & Fraternity, as distinct from the US model that elevates Liberty above the other two. I think this is the root of differences between the European and American ideas of freedom.

Horyok
QUOTE
Moif
It was not any sense of European fraternity that gave us the last six decades of peace. It was sheer exhaustion from the worst war the world had ever seen, coupled with the need to stand alongside the USA against the threat of the Soviet Union.


That's why I said it wasn't the only way we had in order to bring and maintain peace, but I insist that it was significant nonetheless.

QUOTE
The EU would never have existed had it not been for the deep freeze of the cold war. Without the USA we would never have withstood the Soviet Union so any notion that Europe is free due to its internal merits is flawed. Europe is free today because the USA protected it. The EU only exists today because the USA protected it.


I don't deny what the USA did and still does today to protect us. But the EU exists because its members wanted to join into the Union, not because they were forced to by America or Russia.

QUOTE
The people of Europe have done very little to safe guard their own liberty. Even in recent times the people of Europe watched with lazy eyes as the spectre of the past returned to sneer at us in Bosnia and Kroatia.


The European discord over former Yugoslavia and the innefficiency that resulted are largely due to the different views and sides of the EU governments. Germany recognized the independance of Croatia for instance, while France was supporting the Serbs in the meantime because of the strong historic ties between the two countries.

QUOTE
Where was the love of freedom in the people of Europe then? Where was our sense of justice? of fraternity? We watched, indifferent, whilst the Serbs and Kroats slaughtered people in death camps and mass graves as if the Holocaust had never taken place.


Indifferent? What about the UN? What about NATO? What about KFOR? What do you make of the efforts made in order to stop the massacres from going on? Maybe the US wouldn't have had to do some of the job themselves, had we been more united and organized ourselves. At this leads to the point I wanted to make : there is no European efficiency if there is no organized Union. The EUC precisely reinforces this organization!

QUOTE
Crashfourit

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?


Beyond the adoption of the EUC or not, I believe this is the next challenge in sight. That's the whole dilemna. And very much a gut feeling too! If I imagine the EU in 200 years, I think we would benefit from being the same country greatly. By then, there would be more and more free exchanges between the European people, most of us would speak at least two or three languages. Travelling throughout the Union will be the norm and marriages between people from all over Europe will be very frequent. I believe the administration would be simplified somehow, as we would give most state competences to the federal EU.

I repeat what I said to Moif before : I am not scared for myself, or for my country if we all come together and melt as one. First, because my local traditions and cultures won't be lost. Second, because I think that having the courage to open up to our neighbors and consider ourselves all equal in rights is the best way to create a EU identity and peace. People will be happy to say they are Europeans AND that they belong to their state too.

QUOTE
Julian
Indeed, I think that the unpleasant wordiness stems mainly form the fact that the drafters were not working with a blank sheet of paper, but trying to draw together the threads of past treaties.


That's exactly what's happening. Apart from some new concepts presented in parts I & II, the rest has already been said and voted for in past treaties!

QUOTE
I think that such a political entity will, eventually and inevitably, form, whether or not the proposed Constitution is approved. I do not think that the development of a European identity necessarily means that national identities will be subsumed or lost, if the owners of those identities do not want them to be.


I couldn't agree more with you Julian. The EUC is designed to rationalize EU actions, not to cause our frontiers to go away. That's a whole different debate! And you're correct in saying that a European identity can be born and grow while our countries remain nation-states. There's no opposition. We are not destined to follow America's example (even if personally, I wouldn't mind if we did).

QUOTE
I would say that it can ultimately be traced back to the French revolutionary idea of Liberty Equality & Fraternity, as distinct from the US model that elevates Liberty above the other two. I think this is the root of differences between the European and American ideas of freedom.


As a French debater, I agree with you but my opinion is biased of course, as the ideas of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity are engraved in our national constitution. I'd be interested to know what other debaters think of your opinion. Do you share Julian's view?
Ptarmigan
QUOTE
I don't deny what the USA did and still does today to protect us. But the EU exists because its members wanted to join into the Union, not because they were forced to by America or Russia.

Horyok

Well the EU grew out of the European Coal and Steel Community - which was founded in 1951 and founded to rebuild Europe. However, America had a huge role in forming the ECSC and did quietly 'force' countries to join (basically the US felt that, as they were largely paying for the reconstruction of Europe, the Europeans were going to join this club to cut out trade barriers and facilitate reconstruction whether they wanted to or not.)

So America forced the original 6 (France, W Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) to form the ECSC, which then became (eventually) the EU. Later companies were under no formal pressure to join, but it soon became apparent that joining was extremely advantageous to everyone.

Incidentally, in order to ensure the formation of the ESCS, America simply said it would withhold funding for European reconstruction if it didn't happen.

QUOTE
The European discord over former Yugoslavia and the innefficiency that resulted are largely due to the different views and sides of the EU governments. Germany recognized the independance of Croatia for instance, while France was supporting the Serbs in the meantime because of the strong historic ties between the two countries.

Which remains a serious problem today - we have no common foreign policy - which strikes me as a huge barrier to the development of a single political entity. It seems very premature to start talking about further integration, without resolving this very fundamental issue.

QUOTE
Beyond the adoption of the EUC or not, I believe this is the next challenge in sight. That's the whole dilemna. And very much a gut feeling too! If I imagine the EU in 200 years, I think we would benefit from being the same country greatly. By then, there would be more and more free exchanges between the European people, most of us would speak at least two or three languages. Travelling throughout the Union will be the norm and marriages between people from all over Europe will be very frequent. I believe the administration would be simplified somehow, as we would give most state competences to the federal EU.

I repeat what I said to Moif before : I am not scared for myself, or for my country if we all come together and melt as one. First, because my local traditions and cultures won't be lost. Second, because I think that having the courage to open up to our neighbors and consider ourselves all equal in rights is the best way to create a EU identity and peace. People will be happy to say they are Europeans AND that they belong to their state too.


I very much hope you are right. National character is increasingly blurred and I believe that we will naturally start to view ourselves as Europeans first and then national identity second. But I think that process can happen without having to all sign up to a beaurocratic mess! Melting together as one is great, but I think the EU in its current form is in some places actually making people more Eurosceptic.
Horyok
QUOTE
Ptarmigan
So America forced the original 6 (France, W Germany, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands) to form the ECSC, which then became (eventually) the EU. Later companies were under no formal pressure to join, but it soon became apparent that joining was extremely advantageous to everyone.

Incidentally, in order to ensure the formation of the ESCS, America simply said it would withhold funding for European reconstruction if it didn't happen.


In all honesty, I did not know these facts. The reason I was wrong, apart from my ignorance, is because our politicians, political historians and political journalists keep on hammering that the EU was our design and that, as Chirac said himself the other day : "Europe is a French ambition". dry.gif Thanks for correcting me!

QUOTE
Which remains a serious problem today - we have no common foreign policy - which strikes me as a huge barrier to the development of a single political entity. It seems very premature to start talking about further integration, without resolving this very fundamental issue.


That's right to the point. The Union's foreign minister, introduced with the EUC, will only have the power the members want to give him. In other words, if we agree unanimously, he will speak for all of the EU. If we don't, then he shall speak for the majority only. If there's no majority, it's all back to the current situation where each country speaks for itself. I don't expect unanimity to be reached very often with 27 members!!! laugh.gif The constitution will need further amendments and changes... when our governments are ready to see them implemented.

Ultimately, in order to form a single political entity, it would take all governments and all the people of Europe to actually believe in Europe. Put it first in their political motives and in their hearts... and believe in it like they do with their own country. thumbsup.gif
Ptarmigan
QUOTE
In all honesty, I did not know these facts. The reason I was wrong, apart from my ignorance, is because our politicians, political historians and political journalists keep on hammering that the EU was our design and that, as Chirac said himself the other day : "Europe is a French ambition". Thanks for correcting me!


Well, the ESCS was the first of the 'three pillars' on which the EU was founded and is the organisation from which the rest emerged, however, as the title 'European Coal and Steel Community' suggests, it was mainly concerned with the facilitation of free trade of those materials across European borders for reconstruction. Whilst this then expanded to form the Common Market, certainly many other core aspects of the EU (political unity, relaxed border controls, the Euro etc) were not part of the original organisation, so France can certainly take credit for some but definitely not all, aspects of the EU.
Sevac
I want to diverge from the who did what posts to bring focus to another topic concerning the EC.
A question I have to add is the following:

A lack of democracy can undoubtedly be seen in the EU. Yet I have to wonder if that may be the primary reason for the success of the EU. While there were ten, twelve, fifteen members, most agreements did not need to be ratified by a referendum. Yet here we are, having a common market, for some a common currency, a parliament, and many more institutions that influence us in many ways.
I doubt that Germany would have voted yes to the EURO to see the strong German Mark be eliminated. But the EURO is as strong as the Mark, and the common currency has worked out so far.

All member states have democratically elected governments, so the decisions they agree upon with others are to a good degree democratically legitimate. Why ask for the public opinion?

So would it not be more efficient to just let the governments sign the Constitution Treaty and let the public see the benefits from it instead of letting the EC fail, because some people had (however reasonable) doubts?

I am just asking this because I don't think the majority of the voters has a good idea of what the EU does now and how it will benefit from the EC.
Ptarmigan
QUOTE
A lack of democracy can undoubtedly be seen in the EU. Yet I have to wonder if that may be the primary reason for the success of the EU. While there were ten, twelve, fifteen members, most agreements did not need to be ratified by a referendum. Yet here we are, having a common market, for some a common currency, a parliament, and many more institutions that influence us in many ways.


Okay...but you seem to be presupposing that these institutions are actually beneficial. What does the European Parliament do that our own Parliaments could not do equally well, if not better? Has the single currency actually proven to be an improvement over having national currencies and national central banks?

I would agree that the common market is good, but then the same could be said for the WTO (when people remember not to be protectionist) - and all that requires is an agreement between nations to drop trade barriers, it does not require further social, political and economic integration.


QUOTE
So would it not be more efficient to just let the governments sign the Constitution Treaty and let the public see the benefits from it instead of letting the EC fail, because some people had (however reasonable) doubts?

I am just asking this because I don't think the majority of the voters has a good idea of what the EU does now and how it will benefit from the EC.


Assuming the treaty brings benefits! It may not - a lot of people clearly feel it may not. You can't just assume that the EU will work perfectly - there are a great many legitimate problems with the EU and it is far from clear whether the constitution would fix or exacerbate them.
rjp2004
Thanks for your thread on this topic Horyok.

1. What do you think of the EU Constitution?


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.

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.

QUOTE
Article I-7: “These rights shall be exercised in accordance with the conditions and limits defined by this Constitution and by the measures adopted to give it effect.” It adds in Article II-52: “Any limitation on the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognized by this Charter must be provided for by law....” In other words... rights are “recognized” by the “Charter,” meaning they come from government. And, those rights may be limited as the rulers deem necessary.
link

So, a church that preaches against the "right to abortion", the "right to homosexual behavior" or other "rights" defined by this government will find themselves breaking the law of the land - the crime of taking away the rights of others as defined by the government. Throw the pastor/priest in jail. Same with catholic hospitals being forced to perform procedures or else - it all points towards greater persecution of Christianity by the government setting itself up as the supreme arbiter of "rights".

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.

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.
Horyok
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.
Jack22
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
rjp2004
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?


Horyok
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.
Ptarmigan
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?



moif
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.
Sevac
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
Horyok
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.
Ptarmigan
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.
Jack22
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.
Alan Wood
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
Horyok
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?
moif
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.
Erasmussimo
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!"
Horyok
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.
ralou
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.
Horyok
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
Jack22
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.
Sevac
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.
Ptarmigan
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.

Dontreadonme
QUOTE(Sevac @ May 31 2005, 12:15 AM)

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.

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.

Sevac, bear with me as I am only following the Eu constitution ratification process from the periphery.
It sounds as if you are a fairly ardent supporter of the constitution, which is fine........but do you have any proof or evidence that French voters spoke with a fairly resounding non because they were duped, or is it possible that they decided their vote on the merits of the document, or lack thereof?

Additionally, the purpose of a people's referendum is to allow direct democracy, at least in this instance. But the upcoming Dutch vote is considered 'advisory' and a 'no' vote will only be accepted by the government if voter turnout reaches 30%, and the 'no's' rise to 55%. Is this anymore fair?
Link
Julian
QUOTE(Dontreadonme @ May 31 2005, 01:34 PM)
It sounds as if you are a fairly ardent supporter of the constitution, which is fine........but do you have any proof or evidence that French voters spoke with a fairly resounding non because they were duped, or is it possible that they decided their vote on the merits of the document, or lack thereof?

I'm not speaking in Sevac's stead, but much of the debate in the French campaign was not about the specifics provisions of the treaty itself, but about the kind of Europe that the French people would or would not like to see. This is in a way a failure of French politicians both to set out a clear vision in the first place, but also of them to listen to their people and carry that knowledge through to the treaty draft itself (which , frankly, all European national governments and their oppositions have failed to do, whether they support or oppose the treaty).

But at the same time, I think Sevac is right to the extent that isues such as Turkey's future membership of the EU, whether the EU should follow the Anglo-Saxon/Eastern European model that has reached its fullest (yet - but still not much) EU flowering in the rejected treaty, or continue along the Franco-German model that essentially featherbeds the French, Italians and Spanish at everyone else's expense (and who can blame the beneficiaries of that from not wanting it to end) - all these things took rather more prominence in the French campaign than anything in the Treaty itself.

Which is understandable, being that it's such a dense and sprawling document that it's very hard to condense into TV-friendly messages.

QUOTE
Additionally, the purpose of a people's referendum is to allow direct democracy, at least in this instance. But the upcoming Dutch vote is considered 'advisory' and a 'no' vote will only be accepted by the government if voter turnout reaches 30%, and the 'no's' rise to 55%. Is this anymore fair?

Personally, I'd be more than a bit worried about any government that allowed the outcome of a plebescite a vote of less than 55% of the vote on a turnout of less than 30% - i.e. less than 16.5% of eligible voters - to determine national policy.

Surely the concept of some kind of quorum is quite useful here, and the Dutch plans are being quite generous to the possible 'no' vote in this regard?
ralou
QUOTE(Sevac @ May 31 2005, 01:15 AM)
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.
*




Direct democracy has many flaws, and is often unworkable. But it is more likely to represent the interests of the people across a wide spectrum than any other form of government. Certainly, safeguards such as individual rights should be in place, lest the majority decide all left-handed red heads belong in labor camps, for example.

I have more faith in the majority of an educated, informed people than I could ever have in an elite, ruling group of elected or unelected officials. If France's government believes France's people are not educated and informed enough to properly decide these issues, it's time to look at the education system and media. It is not time to take that right to decide away from the people it does and should reside in! If the Constitution of France as the people would have it does not exist, it is time for the government of France to bend to the will of the people and create it, rather than adopt a Constitution those people do not want.

Just my opinion. Maybe I'm too optimistic about the fundamental nature of un-elected, ordinary human beings and our ability to choose for ourselves on matters such as this.
Dontreadonme
In case anyone hasn't seen the news, the Dutch vote appears to be in.

QUOTE
Dutch voters overwhelmingly rejected the European constitution in a referendum Wednesday, exit polls projected, in what could be a knockout blow for the charter roundly defeated just days ago by France.
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An exit poll projection broadcast by state-financed NOS television said the referendum failed by a vote of 63 percent to 37 percent. The turnout was 62 percent, exceeding all expectations, the broadcaster said.

Link

I'm not sure if we have any Dutch members, but for our European AD'er's........does this spell serious trouble for the constitution? Or are the enough 'yes' voting countries to still force it through?
moif
QUOTE(Dontreadonme)
I'm not sure if we have any Dutch members, but for our European AD'er's........does this spell serious trouble for the constitution? Or are the enough 'yes' voting countries to still force it through?


I believe the Dutch vote is merely momentum and the constitution was dead the moment it was clear the French had rejected it by a healthy margin.

The EU constitution had to be ratified by all 25 member nations (which just goes to show how stupid the whole idea of an 800+ page constitition was) and any moves to ressurect this still born proposal will only provoke a far greater antipathy against the 'Eurocratic elite' who appear to have detached themselves almost totally from their electorate.

Denmark has a referendum due in September, but at a cost of many tens of millions of kroner and with the steadily growing understanding that the constitution has already been given the coup de grace, I doubt we will see it happening now.

What we need to see now is a frank and open dialogue between BOTH sides of the EU divide as to what is the whole purpose of the EU for this is a debate which has not been allowed to happen.

The Europhiles have done all they can to smother any questions or internal European criticisms of the EU and in the mean time the population has borne witness to scandals, nepotism, corruption and a breath taking arrogance in the apparent creation of a federal super state on the remains of our ancient countries.

Now, we need an open, honest discourse as to who and what we wish to be.


Sevac
QUOTE
I believe the Dutch vote is merely momentum and the constitution was dead the moment it was clear the French had rejected it by a healthy margin.

Lol.. healthy margin... 45 to 55 percent...

QUOTE
The EU constitution had to be ratified by all 25 member nations (which just goes to show how stupid the whole idea of an 800+ page constitition was) and any moves to ressurect this still born proposal will only provoke a far greater antipathy against the 'Eurocratic elite' who appear to have detached themselves almost totally from their electorate.


I think you forget that the Spaniards have supported the constitution in their referendum, who apparently did not see the Eurocratic elite to be detached from their electorate.

QUOTE
The Europhiles have done all they can to smother any questions or internal European criticisms of the EU and in the mean time the population has borne witness to scandals, nepotism, corruption and a breath taking arrogance in the apparent creation of a federal super state on the remains of our ancient countries.


And the Europsceptics have done everything they can to create fear and panic and cried out against a projected superstate.

Well, I guess if diplomacy doesn't work all that well, we have to use the means that we were used to before the creation of an European Integration. War, Terror, Hate, Distrust. Good old times.

Sorry if this seems sarcastic, but I think the people who vote against this constitution do not see the consequences of their No/Non/Nee. The EU will not be able to work for long with the treaties that are now active, those were meant for 15 member states, not 27. To formalize a new treaty will take years.
No, I think we saw the end of a common integration. What we will see from now on is an integration based on bilateral agreements, few countries that will go similar ways.

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We will have to see the end of the ratification process, to determine how many countries are opposed, in the end the council will decide in 2006 of how to proceed.

----

QUOTE
Direct democracy has many flaws, and is often unworkable. But it is more likely to represent the interests of the people across a wide spectrum than any other form of government. Certainly, safeguards such as individual rights should be in place, lest the majority decide all left-handed red heads belong in labor camps, for example.

I have more faith in the majority of an educated, informed people than I could ever have in an elite, ruling group of elected or unelected officials. If France's government believes France's people are not educated and informed enough to properly decide these issues, it's time to look at the education system and media. It is not time to take that right to decide away from the people it does and should reside in! If the Constitution of France as the people would have it does not exist, it is time for the government of France to bend to the will of the people and create it, rather than adopt a Constitution those people do not want.


I wanted to point out the flaw of having referenda on important topics. While many French may have seriously considered the pros and cons of the constitution, and may have come to the conclusion that it is better to say no, many have not done so but seen this referendum as an opportunity to show those "guys up there" how fed up they are with their politics in other areas. THAT IS NOT WHAT DIRECT DEMOCRACY IS FOR NOR HOW IT SHOULD BE USED. Thats what federal/national elections are for. Of course it is wrong to have unelected officials that do not work in the best interests of the people. Yet in what way is it better to have people decide over important issues when they misuse that instrument for another purpose?

I would rather see that all countries, all citizens decide on the constitution on one day, and this outcome may represent the European opinion on a constitution. If the majority rejects the constitution, so be it. But I hate to see what is done with it now.

Europe has endured enough separatism and nationalism, I think it's time for something better. Yet some don't seem to think so.
Just Leave me Alone!
Do you think the Constitution is designed to identify and defend the European social and trade model?

us.gif As an outsider, it is tough to say what the European social and trade model is. I believe that that the writers were trying to design a document for an economically strong, ie free trade, Europe. This often is at odds with some European countries more socialist stances. The desire to protect and defend their individual social model is what led to the French and Dutch no votes IMO. Tom Friedman wrote a good op ed piece on this, mentioning things like the fear of Polish plumbers swamping French labor etc.
moif
Sevac

QUOTE
Lol.. healthy margin... 45 to 55 percent...
Ah... perhaps you should check out the results of previous referenda where victory has been declared with margins of under 2%.

As far as I am concerned, 10% is a very healthy margin.


QUOTE
I think you forget that the Spaniards have supported the constitution in their referendum, who apparently did not see the Eurocratic elite to be detached from their electorate.
And I think you forget that it doesn't matter. The constitution had to be ratified by ALL twenty five member states.

It makes no difference what so ever that some countries are in favour of the constitution. Even were it but one nation that said no then the constitution was annulled. That was the agreement. Plain and simple.


QUOTE
And the Europsceptics have done everything they can to create fear and panic and cried out against a projected superstate.
Indeed?

And to which Eurosceptics do you refer? From my perspective it seems like over ninety percent of Europes elected politicians are in favour of the EU and the only ones saying non are fringe parties with no real influence on any decision making process.

You can be as sarcastic as you please, but the bottom line is there is no real representation in the EU elite for any voice of dissent. Every single head of state in the EU is openly and aggressively in favour of what ever it is the EU stands for.

That by itself is grounds for concern.


QUOTE
Well, I guess if diplomacy doesn't work all that well, we have to use the means that we were used to before the creation of an European Integration. War, Terror, Hate, Distrust. Good old times.
With all due respect to you, but in my opinion this is utter rubbish.

First of all, this referendum has nothing to do with 'diplomacy'.

Second, democracy in Europe and respect for laws do not need European integration in order to function. In fact if anything, our laws and our democracy are threatened by what the EU has become.


QUOTE
Sorry if this seems sarcastic, but I think the people who vote against this constitution do not see the consequences of their No/Non/Nee.
No... I think it is you that does not see what is happening here.

The referenda were for a proposed constitution. Nothing more, nothing less.

Why should anyone vote for the first constitution proposed? Especially one as convoluted and byzantine as this one was?

Lets see a better, well written, CONCISE and UNDERSTANDABLE proposition and then lets see how the vote goes.


QUOTE
The EU will not be able to work for long with the treaties that are now active, those were meant for 15 member states, not 27. To formalize a new treaty will take years.
So what? Whats the hurry? Are we in a race?


QUOTE
No, I think we saw the end of a common integration. What we will see from now on is an integration based on bilateral agreements, few countries that will go similar ways.
Bah! This is just one step on a very long road.

So poor D'stang (or what ever his name is) didn't get his proposed constitution ratified. Big deal! The EU does not end just because of that.

Seriously Sevac, any one would think from your post that the panzers are already being fuelled!


QUOTE
Europe has endured enough separatism and nationalism, I think it's time for something better. Yet some don't seem to think so.
Of course not. There is nothing to suggest that Europe needs unification.

The idea that war will somehow erupt unless we are all tied together by some federal superstate is ridiculous. Wars start for myriad reasons and even great unions can be engulfed in civil war.

The EU cannot prevent war from happening here just as it couldn't prevent it from happening in old Yugoslavia.
Sevac
QUOTE(moif @ Jun 6 2005, 11:40 PM)
Sevac

QUOTE
I think you forget that the Spaniards have supported the constitution in their referendum, who apparently did not see the Eurocratic elite to be detached from their electorate.
And I think you forget that it doesn't matter. The constitution had to be ratified by ALL twenty five member states.

It makes no difference what so ever that some countries are in favour of the constitution. Even were it but one nation that said no then the constitution was annulled. That was the agreement. Plain and simple.

Nope, it is stated that if not all but 80% of the countries ratify the constitution the European Council will decide upon the question [Part IV. Article 7 Clause 4. EUCT]

Every single head of state in the EU is openly and aggressively in favour of what ever it is the EU stands for.

That by itself is grounds for concern.

Why? Don't you have confidence in your elected representatives? Maybe there is so much support from heads of states and national parliaments because the constitution treaty has some benefits in comparison to the current treaties?

QUOTE
Well, I guess if diplomacy doesn't work all that well, we have to use the means that we were used to before the creation of an European Integration. War, Terror, Hate, Distrust. Good old times.
With all due respect to you, but in my opinion this is utter rubbish.

First of all, this referendum has nothing to do with 'diplomacy'.

Second, democracy in Europe and respect for laws do not need European integration in order to function. In fact if anything, our laws and our democracy are threatened by what the EU has become.

It is utter rubbish. Yet it reflects my concerns of an upcoming stagnation and steps backwards, from integration to nationalism. And there are few things that I am more repulsed by than a new wave of nationalism in Germany.

QUOTE
Sorry if this seems sarcastic, but I think the people who vote against this constitution do not see the consequences of their No/Non/Nee.
No... I think it is you that does not see what is happening here.

The referenda were for a proposed constitution. Nothing more, nothing less.

Why should anyone vote for the first constitution proposed? Especially one as convoluted and byzantine as this one was?

Lets see a better, well written, CONCISE and UNDERSTANDABLE proposition and then lets see how the vote goes.

There will be no such thing. I agree that a now or never choice may not be what the citizens of Europe want, yet I doubt we will see any proposition in the near future that will be any different than the EUC.


QUOTE
The EU will not be able to work for long with the treaties that are now active, those were meant for 15 member states, not 27. To formalize a new treaty will take years.
So what? Whats the hurry? Are we in a race?

No, but the instruments that are in effect now are not sufficient tools for a expanded EU with 25 or 27 members. Maybe there will be short-term solutions to handle the problem, but those won't work for long while frustration with the system grows.

QUOTE
No, I think we saw the end of a common integration. What we will see from now on is an integration based on bilateral agreements, few countries that will go similar ways.
Bah! This is just one step on a very long road.

So poor D'stang (or what ever his name is) didn't get his proposed constitution ratified. Big deal! The EU does not end just because of that.

Well, it didn't help the integration process very much either.

Seriously Sevac, any one would think from your post that the panzers are already being fuelled!

Yeah, drama king that I am....

QUOTE
Europe has endured enough separatism and nationalism, I think it's time for something better. Yet some don't seem to think so.

Of course not. There is nothing to suggest that Europe needs unification.

The idea that war will somehow erupt unless we are all tied together by some federal superstate is ridiculous. Wars start for myriad reasons and even great unions can be engulfed in civil war.

The EU cannot prevent war from happening here just as it couldn't prevent it from happening in old Yugoslavia.


If the CFSP would become more effective, and the member states would agree to build one military instead of relying on 25 separate military systems, it may have been prevented.

*



I am for an integrated Europe, for it symbolizes a different dream than a neo-liberal American Dream. That new dream is built on solidarity, multiculturalism and peaceful deliberations, not self-centered success, assimilation of culture and forceful imposed ideas. [I know I am drawing it black and white]

I don't need and don't want a superstate that controls or regulates every aspect of my life. Yet I recognize that a common currency, a common representation and executive can overcome the division of nations and nationalities in Europe. A European identity, based on that ideal of common understanding could not be misused to nationalism or totalitarism as have been so many ideals before.
I see that the EU now has many flaws, due to national interests and an enormous bureaucratic body, but the EU still is a fragile plant that needs to be treated carefully. I hope the Eurosceptics that are now riding high don't accidently step on that plant.
Hobbes
QUOTE(Sevac @ Jun 2 2005, 07:51 AM)
Sorry if this seems sarcastic, but I think the people who vote against this constitution do not see the consequences of their No/Non/Nee. The EU will not be able to work for long with the treaties that are now active, those were meant for 15 member states, not 27. To formalize a new treaty will take years.


A treaty is by definition something far simpler than an entire constitution. If formalizing a new treaty will take years, then forming a proper constitution would take considerably longer. That obviously wasn't the case....which is probably why people are voting against it.

QUOTE(moif)
What we need to see now is a frank and open dialogue between BOTH sides of the EU divide as to what is the whole purpose of the EU for this is a debate which has not been allowed to happen.


If that is indeed the case, then the constitution, IMHO, could never have been successful even if it had passed. A constitution is, in effect, an agreed upon framework for achieving whatever the purpose of its organization is. If that purpose has not been agreed upon (or even stated?), then the constitution itself has no basis. What exactly would it be a framework for? This would be like trying to come up with a blueprint for a building that no one had any idea what its purpose really was. All you could possibly end up with is a mess...which is where it seems to be.

The fundamental question here, of course, is what does the EU want to be?
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