Saturday, September 29, 2007

About that EU Treaty...err, Constitution

ALmost all the EU countries are going to have their parliament approve the new 'treaty' that replaced the failed constitution. I did look over the EU constitution, 500 pages of madness. Now the EU 'treaty' that fixed it is over 3000 pages! So how do you compare the two? Fortunately, Jens Peter Bonde, a Dutchman, has done that. How many Europeans have read the 3000 page treaty? Better yet, how many politicians? Sounds familiar? As you may recall, when Reid, Kennedy, Graham and Kyl tried to push through the amnesty bill this past May, the bill wasn't available to ANYONE other than the 'amnesty gang'until 24 hours BEFORE they wanted a vote!

The EU Reform Treaty: a badly written version of the EU constitution
26.09.2007 - 17:43 CET | By Jens Peter Bonde

Let us look at them, one by one:

Reform treaty above Dutch constitution
The original constitution plainly stated that EU-rules have primacy over national law. This article has not been deleted. It has been moved to a footnote and made more difficult to find and read.

But if there is a conflict between Dutch law - or the Dutch constitution - and EU law then the law from the EU will prevail.

Legally binding EU rights charter
The Charter of Fundamental Rights has been removed from the Reform Treaty itself. But it is clearly stated that it will be legally binding. It will be signed by the presidents of the three main EU institutions and printed in the Official Journal in the same way as the Reform Treaty. Therefore, the presentation has changed and nothing else! And it will bind all Dutch authorities when they are implementing EU rules in exactly the same way as the original constitution. The Charter is an invitation to the European court to further develop European citizenship and fundamental rights - and duties.

EU symbols
The article about containing mention of state-like symbols such as the common anthem, national day, motto, flag and currency has been deleted. But the European Parliament has countered this by deciding to increase the use of symbols. So instead of having less EU nationalism, there will be more.

Foreign minister
The title of EU foreign minister has been changed to High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy. It has been worded so long to allow newspapers to write the short version: foreign minister.

Javier Solana, the current EU High Representative will be in charge of an extended common foreign office with a bigger diplomatic service and a joint defence policy. He will represent the Union together with the new common President and prime minister (Commission president).

Legal personality
The EU has been given a "legal personality" meaning that the Union will negotiate and deal with other states in all matters dealt with in the EU.

The Netherlands and other member states will mostly disappear as states dealing with other states. The other states will not negotiate with the Dutch but with the representatives of the Union.

No welfare and no democracy in the EU
Seen from outside, the EU will be a state like all other states. Seen from the citizens' point of view, it will be different because the EU is still missing a joint welfare policy and there is still no joint democracy.

The EU still has a limited budget of around 1 percent of GNP whereas the US spends 20 percent of GNP. But the revised constitution allows for a much bigger budget with unanimity among governments and again without asking the people.

Joint EU taxes can also be established. The revised constitution in itself can be amended through simplified procedures without consulting any voters. We will now have a self amending constitution.

The advisory European Parliament
The core of a democracy is the possibility to have elections, gain a new majority and then have new laws. This core is missing both in the original constitution and in the Reform Treaty.

The European Commission will still have a monopoly to propose new laws and there is no longer a guarantee for a Dutch commissioner.

Most laws are prepared in the 3000 secret working groups in the Commission and decided in the 300 other secret working groups in the Council. Elected members of parliament can only propose amendments to the non-elected civil servants and ministers who decide the vast majority of laws on their own.

Subsidiarity check more difficult
Subsidiarity has always been a Dutch demand and there was a great victory a year ago when Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso started to send proposals for new laws for a subsidiarity and proportionality check in all national parliaments.

Mr Barroso even promised that he would follow the advice of the national parliaments (if 1/3 of them reacted).

The Reform Treaty does not change this but inserts a new threshold for blocking. We will now need 55 % of the parliaments to react before the Commission withdraws or amends its proposal. This is a joke because all laws need the support of 55 % of the member states to be adopted anyway. How can any Dutch person see this as progress?

Identical legal obligations
I have compared the rejected EU constitution and the new Reform Treaty very carefully and I have not found one important difference in legal obligations. The differences are just in the presentation.
The EU gains 105 new competencies in both versions. In the rejected constitution there were 61 areas of majority voting. Now there are 62. The old constitution had 560 pages. Then the French president Nicolas Sarkozy asked French voters – who also rejected the constitution in 2005 - to support a new, small and practical "mini-treaty".

This new "mini-treaty" now contains more than 3000 pages! Instead of simplifying they have spread the 560 pages as amendments in 17 treaties with 2800 pages.

The main difference is that the new version is very difficult to read. It is time to start afresh and let the result be put to a referendum in all member states.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thankyou for this analysis of the EU treaty.
Why do beaurocrats love to enslave the free will of the people, what little is left of it?
This is a move towards a neuveau communism.
The fabric of the otalitarian State grows, in disguise, and by subterfuge.