I have seen the future, and it doesn't work
Well, the first draft constitution for Europe has been spat forth from the European Convention (you can download it in PDF form here
). Here's a quick run-down of the 16 articles:
1. The Union shall be Federal (well, that's a deal-breaker right there). "The Union shall respect the national identities of its member states." Whatever that means. Compare and contrast "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." The Union shall be open to any European state that shares the Union's values.
2. The values are human dignity, liberty (defined how?), democracy, the rule of law (common or corpus juris?) and respect for human rights. "Its aim is a society at peace, through the practice of tolerance, justice and solidarity." Solidarity?
3. The Union is to work for peace, "sustainable development based on balanced
economic growth and social justice, with a free single market, and economic and monetary union
". Well, there we have it, EMU is required for membership. Britain might as well put on its hat and coat now. Time to leave. Full employment is an aim, as are environmental and social protection. Discovery of space is an aim too...
The Union also believes in "strict observance of internationally accepted legal commitments."
4. The Union shall have a legal personality, just not a very pleasant one.
5. The Charter of Fundamental Rights is part of the Constitution. So raison d'etat for rights abuses shall be enshrined. It shall also form the basis for Union law.
6. No discrimination on grounds of nationality.
7. Citizenship of the Union is established (it doesn't exist currently). The benefits of this citizenship are as currently enjoyed under the treaties, so I'm not sure what it adds.
8. The Union's powers are assumed under the principles of conferral, subsidiarity, proportionality and "loyal cooperation." We've seen how well subsidiarity works, as the EC has accreted power to itself under the guise of harmonization of the market. Proportionality talks about 'what is necessary to achieve the objectives of the Constitution,' which strikes me as dangerously vague.
9. The Constitution and law adopted (how?) by the Union Institutions shall have primacy over the law of the member states. Bye bye, ancient liberties of Britons. Member states cannot take actions that might "jeopardise the attainment of objectives set out in the Constitution." The Union shall not mess around with member states' internal constitutional arrangements. Nice of them.
10. Where the Union has exclusive competence, the member states may not legislate unless empowered by the Union. The Union "shall have the competence to coordinate the economic policies of the Member States" ("You there, Britain, give some of your money to Greece!"). Common foreign security and defense policies are given as a competence to the Union
11. The Union has exclusive competences in movement of persons, goods, services and capital, in the internal market, the customs union, commercial policy, monetary policy for States in the euro (this seems to conflict w/ article 2) and the Common Fisheries Policy. The Union also gets exclusive competence to make international treaties if it feels like it, it seems.
12. The Union will share competency with member states in the internal market (hang on...), freedom, security and justice, agriculture and fisheries, transport, trans-European networks, whatever they are, energy, social policy, "economic and social cohesion," the environment, public health and consumer protection. I'm not sure what this leaves behind. Member states can develop their own space programs if they wish.
13. The Union shall coordinate the economic policies of the member states. Member states must conduct their economic policies so as to contribute to the Union's objectives.
14. "Member states shall actively and unreservedly
support the Union's common foreign and security policy in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity. They shall refrain from action contrary to the Union's interests or likely to undermine its effectiveness." Bye bye, Irish and Swedish neutrality.
15. Ah, here's what's left. The Union can take supporting action in matters of employment, industry, education, culture, sport and protection against disasters.
16. The Catch-All. If the Constitution hasn't formally granted powers to act in an area, but action is necessary to attain one of the objectives of the Constitution, the Commission may propose action to the Council of Ministers, which can gain the powers on a unanimous vote and with the assent of the Parliament.
My one-word summary: unacceptable
PP: Excellent article by my friend Paul Robinson in The Spectator
on the issues surrounding the Convention.