Tuesday, June 22, 2004

EU Constitution

Sometimes a question that seems so complicated can be answered so simply. Why do so many people find the EU a turnoff? Well, try finding the draft constitution online and you may get your answer. I couldn't find anything calling itself the "draft constitution". I did find this, however:
The Intergovernmental Conference, meeting at the level of the Heads of State or Government, reached an agreement on the draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe on the basis of the texts in documents CIG 81/04 and CIG 85/04. The final legal editing and harmonisation of the texts will be carried out with a view to the signing of the Treaty before the end of 2004.
If I'm reading this right, there is actually no draft Constitution to read. What we have is the draft constitution (I think this is it) from the convention which has been amended in various ways as summarized in that document I linked to above.


The Observer praised the draft Constitution on Sunday (I'm assuming they have assessed the draft from the Convention and all the amendments since - good for them), but did suggest the following:
The EU, too, must learn a new language. It must show the public that it can become a lean and efficient organisation, not one with accounts so shambolic the European Auditor has been unable to pass them. It must finally reform the Common Agricultural Policy which does so much to damage the economies of the developing world. It must end the expenses gravy train for MEPs and officials. It must replace the pomposity of style which alienates so many with a simplicity of approach which answers the public's legitimate question: 'What does the EU do for us?' Now the treaty is agreed, the EU must come out with some clear answers.
As a first step, how about publishing the draft constitution now. Why wait until the end of 2004? Is it agreed or not?

Funny thing is, in the end it's simply going to come down to a battle between the Federalists and the anti-Federalists. If you don't believe in a federal European state then you will vote 'No'. If you believe in a federal Europe, you'll vote yes. Jean-Luc Dehaene, vice Chairman of the Constitution Convention made that clear yesterday.