EU constitution must be saved

THE European Constitution has to be rescued by renegotiation. This is the main message of my new pamphlet, launched this week and published by the influential think-tank Notre Europe.

THE European Constitution has to be rescued by renegotiation. This is the main message of my new pamphlet, launched this week and published by the influential think-tank Notre Europe.

Completion of Europe's constitutional process is essential in order to equip the Union to meet the demands of the 21st Century and the aspirations of a large majority of its citizens. Without the constitution, Europe will lack internal cohesion and external strength, and the EU's development into a mature, post-national democracy will be halted.

Everyone now recognises that, following the French and Dutch referendum `no' votes in 2005, the constitutional treaty cannot come into force without serious revision. Two things must be avoided, however. First, to open up the whole package deal for review, as some have suggested, would almost certainly result in something worse. Second, to merely dissect or reduce the text, as others have suggested, would be both legally impossible and politically improbable. Simplistic solutions will not work.

Instead, the 2004 text must be ring-fenced where the consensus behind it still holds good. This applies to its key proposals on powers, instruments and decision-making procedures.


You may also want to watch:


Five areas of EU common policy suggest themselves for fairly radical reform. First economic policy making must be strengthened, particularly for the eurozone. Second, Europe's famous 'social model' should be modernised in the quest for both greater equity and efficiency. Different national or regional approaches to social policy issues should be accommodated within a common framework.

Third, combating climate change should become the imperative to which all common policies need to conform. This is the right way to push forward reform of the CAP as well as to develop the much-needed common EU energy policy. Fourth, the new constitutional treaty should spell out the enlargement policy of the Union, making clear how hard it is for candidate countries to join, and how membership applications are managed. Lastly, we need a revised financial system, covering both revenue and expenditure, which will allow the EU's budget better to match its political priorities.

Most Read

Despite a deadly silence on the matter at Westminster, the European Union is beginning to face up to a further round of constitutional change. MEPs must be fully engaged in this process, bringing our expertise in reconciling competing interests to the good of the whole. Experience suggests that government ministers and officials cannot succeed on their own. The method of rescuing the stalled constitution must be as parliamentary as possible.

Plan B: how to rescue the European Constitution by Andrew Duff can be downloaded from www.andrewduffmep.org

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus