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08. February 2007   print   send til ven

Article for EU Reporter (engelsk)

Here you find an article about the rebirth of the constitution at the International Women´s day.

The 8th of March is the International Women’s day. The sympathetic German woman chancellor, Angela Merkel, will misuse the day of women’s rights to give re-birth to a popular rejected constitution because the core is to delete both men and women voter’s rights to decide the laws in their own land.

When the Prime ministers will meet for their informal summit dinner in Brussels, Merkel will deliver a proposal for the so-called Berlin Declaration. She will then push for an agreement where prime ministers will have no possibility to consult their colleagues in their governments and national parliaments.

This very undemocratic method shall then produce a unanimous support for the solemn declaration which will then be formally confirmed in the solemn meeting in Berlin March 25 to celebrate the 50 years birthday of the Treaty of Rome.

The declaration will contain a lot of beautiful words about our history and EU integrations benefits for peace. There will be good values like freedom, solidarity, human dignity and tolerance. They will remind us on common aims for economic growth and competitiveness, social progress and political solidarity, sustainable development and immigration.

And then, in the end we will have the few words giving re-birth to the Constitution. The important part will be two dates, the date when negotiations on the compressed constitution shall be finished, and the date when ratifications shall be finished to allow implementation before the next European elections in June 2009.

The many beautiful words will have no legal effect. The two dates will be politically binding and lead to a new treaty which will contain the most important parts of the proposed constitution.

The front page word ”Constitution” will be changed to ”Basic Treaty” which means Constitution – Grundgesetz - in Germany but can be sold as less.

In part I they will delete a few paragraphs provoking conflicts or referendums but keep the content.

For part II they will state that the common fundamental rights are legally binding. The Court already uses it that way.

Part III will be changed into a few pages with concrete amendments to the Nice Treaty. 85 % of part III is rules already existing today. The crucial part is the 44 areas where unanimity will be changed to qualified majority. From those 44 they may only delete the articles requiring referendum.

On Part IV, I have not heard precise rumours, yet.

The new text will be represented as a ”mini treaty” even if the instrumental content is 95 % the same as the French and the Dutch rejected in their referendums 29 May and 1 June 2005.

The precise content is being negotiated bilaterally between Merkel and the prime ministers from the difficult countries. The Foreign minister negotiates with the not so difficult. The negotiations are supported by a group of “sherpas” where most countries have appointed two civil servants to represent the prime ministers.

In Germany, the two representatives represent the chancellor’s office and the Foreign office and at the same time the two parties CDU and SPD.

The Czech Republic is represented with an elected member of the European parliament, Jan Zahradil. He is opposed to the Constitution just like his President, Vaclev Klaus. And that may be the reason that the German Presidency has now cancelled the foreseen meetings between the Sherpas. Instead, the German Presidency negotiates with Sherpas bilaterally to prepare their surprise party at the international women’s day.

The final content will only be negotiated after the French Presidential elections 6 May. With Sarkozy they can be finalised at the summit June 22. With Royal it may be more difficult because she has called for a new referendum where every one else have agreed to avoid referendums - with the exception of Ireland where it is required by the national Constitution.

In Denmark it will be politically impossible to avoid a referendum, but if we vote wrong we are used to be asked to vote again. The problem with referendums is the ballot contains both “Yes” and “No”. It is difficult to limit to “Yes” or “Yes please”.

The voters were offered the possibility to applaud the constitution, and they misused the offer to reject it. Therefore they shall never be asked again, seems to be the consensus among prime ministers and the President of the Commission.

There is another possible way forward. Why not elect a directly elected convention to prepare a new draft, a short and clear Constitution - or what I would prefer - a cooperation agreement between independent nations cooperating in areas with transboundary problems that we cannot solve effectively ourselves in our own national parliaments.

This way we – as voters - have nothing to lose. On the contrary we gain a co-influence where individually we were powerless. Every European would applaud because of the cooperation.
If such a directly elected Convention cannot agree upon a single text, we also have the possibility that the federalists prepare a democratic constitution and invent a European people and let their text be part of a competition with an alternative cooperation agreement prepared by us who says no to a European Constitution above our own national constitutions.

Let the two proposals be sent to referendums in all countries at the same time and then we will see which model will obtain the biggest support in the different countries. If everybody votes in favour of a centralistic constitution I will accept the voice of the people. But I will never bow to countries who do not dare to ask their own voters.

And I do not think that the Europeans agree with their elite. Why would the voters vote for less influence for themselves?

A decision regarding referendums in all countries would lead to a sound competition in presenting the shortest, clearest and most understandable text. A text where the heading are about more transparency, proximity and democracy.