A Constitution for Europe

Furthermore this is definitely not the expectation of the European Union's citizens. According to the Laeken Declaration, the citizens of the Union expect the Union to coordinate the economic, financial and fiscal environment. The basic issue here would be for the Union to continue the proper operation of the internal market and the single currency, without this jeopardising the Member States' individuality. What the citizens of the Union understand by good governance according to this declaration is opening up fresh opportunities, not imposing further red tape8.

What they expect in essence is more results, better responses to practical issues and not a European superstate or European institutions inveigling their way into every nook and cranny. In short words, citizens of the European Union are calling for a clear, open effective democratically controlled community approach; developing a Europe which points the way ahead for the world9. An approach that provides concrete results in terms of more jobs, better quality of life, less crime, decent education and better health care.

For the Union to do all this there is no doubt that, it will have to undergo great renewal and reform for this to happen. That is if the Union wants the support of its citizens, so definitely trying to create a federalist superstate is probably the wrong way to go. Also there are objections to this "federalist superstate" from Member States such as United Kingdom. The United Kingdom is strongly opposed to the idea of the federalism in the Union.

According to Ian Black in Brussels he says that Britain strongly criticised the first draft of the of the European Union's new constitution because it used the taboo word "federal" and says the Union shall have power over economic and foreign policy. According to Peter Hain the government representative on the convention on the future of Europe. He says that the "we need to ensure the constitution is makes clear what it means and that member states are the key building block of the EU; and that there is no question of federal superstate being erected here in Brussels".

These remarks by Mr Hain were clearly intended as a shot across the bows of the convention, run by the former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing, and a warning to its integrationist-minded members not to ignore the concerns of the national governments10. Also Britain was angry that the European Union be renamed "United Europe". Furthermore Britain rejected the idea of a EU constitution until recently now it welcomes this notion. This according to Ian Black is just a way to end the widespread confusion over where national competences end and where "pooled" supranational ones begin.

Britain was the only country upset about the new constitution some other countries were not in favour of some of the policies in the new constitution either. A lot of the Member States of the Union also share the same fear as Britain that the constitution could lead to a EU superstate submerging the national identities of individual countries that are members to the European Union. There are many arguments ranging from the proposal of a EU constitution and moves towards a federalist superstate.

Some of these arguments to make sense and others don't seem to hold watertight arguments. An argument, which seems to make sense to me, is that of Mr Jack Straw, Minister for Foreign Affairs. He seems to feel that the EU should define where it has exclusive power; where powers are shared between the Union and the member states and where the EU should act only to support, encourage or benchmark national policies. And a form of mechanism would be needed to monitor this method11.

He further talks about the foreign policy, he feels that Europe is much more stronger when the Union and member states act together. He says that foreign policy should be a matter for national governments, co-operating freely. But it could be made more effective by strengthening the role of Europe's foreign policy high representative, and improve co-ordination between him and the external relations commissioner12. And on the subject of the constitution leading towards a federalist superstate, which could submerge national identities, this he states is untrue.

Firstly, because all sorts of organisations which are not necessarily states have constitutions ranging from golf clubs to political parties to the United Nations. So there is definitely a perfectly good chance that European Union having a constitution does not necessarily have to lead to it trying to be federalist superstate. In conclusion, the proposal for a European Union constitution has both advantages and disadvantages for all the Member States involved.

And the advantages seem to outweigh the disadvantages so basically all the Union needs to do is to achieve a balance between the these two. And try in all fairness to try and satisfy all member states and citizens of the Union. And make sure it is democratic in all the policies it chooses to implement both now and in the future. Furthermore try as much as possible not to lean towards a federalist superstate form of government.


Cases cited Brunner [1994] 1 CLMR 57 Legislation used The Laeken Declaration: The Future of the European Union dated 15th of December 2001 Preliminary Draft: "Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe" dated the 28th of October 2002 Other Sources Used The Guardian, 7th of February 2003. Article by Ian Black, Titled: UK rails at F-word in Draft of EU document. Mr Jack Straw, Minister for Foreign Affairs (11/10/02) the Economist, "A Constitution for Europe" Textbooks Used Shaw Jo,"Law of the European Union" Palgrave Law Masters (2000) New York, 3rd edition, page 184