EU constitution convention paints a federal blueprint

by Politicus

ACQUES CHIRAC’S France is dismayed at how a European Union enlarged from 15 to 25 members will profoundly change the EU that France, with Germany’s support, has politically dominated for so long.

This was the real reason for the French president’s recent vitriolic attack on the east European governments who recently signed a letter backing US policy on Iraq.

France’s ambitions to turn the EU into a superpower that she would lead along with Germany, and be able to dispute the world with the Americans, is shown by the proposals from the EU convention currently drafting the next EU treaty.

Chaired by former French president Giscard d’Estaing, the convention is producing a draft constitution of a federal EU state, as its opening articles state frankly.

A federation is a state where law-making power is divided between the federal, central government level, and the provinces or local states.

The US, Canada, Australia, Germany, Russia and India are federations. They contrast with unitary states like France, Sweden, Portugal and Ireland, where laws are made centrally.

The EU constitution is meant to replace the existing EU treaties and give huge extra powers to Brussels. It means reducing further what little democracy is left at national level for the ordinary citizens in every EU country.

The EU has federal features already. Laws made in Brussels on matters in the treaties override national laws in any case of conflict. EU law has direct effect according to the EU Court of Justice. Thus Brussels-made laws automatically bind citizens and businesses in the EU member states, even if they have not been transmitted by, or debated in, their national parliaments.

The EU mints its own money with the euro. Its military arm, the EU rapid reaction force, takes over its first mission, in Macedonia, in March.

Those two key features of all states, an army and a currency, are now to be joined by a constitution, a central element of which will be to give the EU and its Court of Justice the final say in what peoples’ human and civil rights are.

The convention proposes to do this by making the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights legally binding on everyone.

This charter was drawn up by a committee. No parliament ever discussed its contents. As part of an EU constitution it will make Brussels supreme in human rights matters over national constitutions and supreme courts, and even the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The proposed EU constitution will increase Brussels’ powers in many other areas. Its provisions should outrage democrats everywhere. The attempt to push it through could trigger a citizens’ revolt across Europe.

France is desperate to have it adopted before the east Europeans join the EU, which is expected to happen in May 2004. Then the newcomers can like it or lump it.

What France has in mind is that the original EEC six grouped around the Franco-German axis will dominate an inner-core EU based on Giscard’s constitution, with the east Europeans in a second class or lower tier outer circle.

Chirac’s insults are a foretaste of how they can expect to be treated.

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This document was last modified by David Granville on 2003-05-22 18:01:16.
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