|Tuesday, 10 July 2007||
The German-chaired Brussels summit the other weekend laid down the detailed terms of reference for the EU Constitution Mark 2. This revised EU constitution will take the form of amendments to the two existing EC/EU treaties, the “Treaty on European Union” and the “Treaty Establishing the European Community”, including a change of name for these treaties. This will be done rather than repealing the existing treaties entirely and replacing them with an explicitly named EU Constitution as in the “Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe” which was signed in October 2004 and was voted down by the French and Dutch peoples in summer 2005.
The word “constitution” is not to be used and the proposal to give a legal basis to the EU flag, anthem and national day is to be removed – while these will continue in use without a legal basis as they have existed for years. Some other minor changes are to be made, but while a legal basis for the symbols of EU statehood is to go,the reality they symbolise will be brought into being. The new treaty, though it will have a different legal form, will be 90% or more the same as the old, as Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other EU leaders have frankly admitted.
The new treaty will be just as much an EU Constitution as the old in that it will CONSTITUTE or establish a legally new Euroepen Union in the legal form of a supranational State for the first time, and it will make us all real citizens of that State, endowed with real citizens’ duties of obedience to its laws and loyalty to its authority, over and above our national Constitutions and laws, rather than the nominal or notional EU citizenship we have had up to now; for one can only be a citizen of a State. The European Union up to now, as distinct from the European Community, has not even had legal personality, not to mind having the constitutional form of a State.
The Constitution Mark 2 will be drawn up under the Portuguese presidency and will be ready for signature in October next, or by December at the latest, after which it will go around for ratification by the 27 Member States during 2008. It is intended to avoid referendums on it wherever possible, in case the peoples may reject it in the way the French and Dutch did when they got the chance. The idea is to try to confine the whole process to the political elites, at European and national level – for they know best what is good for us, and for themselves! A referundum on it in Ireland is unavoidable however because of the Crotty case, for which this organisation was substantially responsible.
The article below outlines the main features of the new EU constitutional treaty. It is an adaptation of an article by the undersigned in the Irish Times of 28 June, which was carried as the main feature on that day’s op-ed page.
For a detailed and legally authoritative analysis of what is likely to be in this revised constitutional treaty, may I draw to your attention the valuable material which has just been sent around by the “Open Europe” organisation in Britain. This is by far the best source of critical material on the EU on these islands, although this British-oriented material would need to be adapted slightly to fit Irish circumstances. What they term their “first analysis” of the negotiating mandate for the Intergovernmental Conference(IGC) to draw up the new constitutional treaty, given below, is excellent and can be accessed and downloaded at:
You and your colleagues should find this useful if you wish to understand the detailed ramifications of the proposed new treaty. Our Danish colleague Jens-Peter Bonde MEP and his legal team will also be producing an authoritative criticism of the constitutional treaty Mark 2 when that is ready at the end of the Portuguese presidency.
You might like to to draw the article below or this “Open Europe” material and the relevant URLs to the attention of others who may wish to obtain more information at this stage on the implications of what was agreed at the German EU summit recently.
Anthony Coughlan Secretary
The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre
24 Crawford Avenue