Members of the European Union

There has been support from some significant individuals on the matter of the constitution. The Liberal Democrat, UK European representative, Andrew Duff, states that: "It signals the end of the closed and increasingly squalid negotiations between governments that brought the Union into disrepute". Also the Conservative UK European representative, Timothy Kirkhope, has pointed out that the "Convention is an excellent way to bridge the gap between citizens and the EU and brings about democratic renewal".

There has also been general support from the European citizens; it was found that 63% of these citizens think that the EU constitution is a good thing, the strongest of this support originating from Italy at 81%. The opponents to the constitution only represented one tenth of the population across the EU, 28% of respondents being from Denmark and the UK (public opinion archives- Europa). With response also to the question of whether there will be sovereign equality in a constitution, is that if unanimous voting is used, then this can be maintained.

Another of the arguments is that Britain has managed fine without a written constitution and such a move will turn Europe into one country and Britain will lose its identity, however, as in America, where there is a written constitution of positive rights, each of the states can keep their sovereignty and this too could work in the counties or regions in Britain. It appears therefore that if a constitution is to go ahead, then the European Union has a clear view of what is to be done.

Once the objective has been achieved, then there will appear a much more direct approach to Europe and its affairs. However, despite the great confidence of some that the constitution will be a success, there is also the worry from many that such a system will result in many problems and conflicts. One of the main arguments against the EU constitution is that the Member States will gradually lose their sovereignty. This argument has mainly been held by the UK who values their national supremacy very much.

At present in the UK there is a centralised system whereby they deal with central government with any issues. If there was to be a constitution, they are worried that they will then have to delegate through the EU instead and therefore lose any of the power that their government held. They held a negative response to the draft that was brought out, again saying that this would lead them to lose their sovereignty. This was especially in relation to economic governance and foreign policy which relate closely to national sovereignty.

Peter Hain, the government's representative on the convention had stated: "I'm wondering whether the people who drew up this document have been going to a different convention". Clearly this shows that the European Union have a different consensus on the constitution, which worries Member States such as the UK because they may feel they are getting tricked into joining the new system. There has also been a suggestion that Brussels will be intervening in the current Treasury decisions in the UK, regarding the single currency that has been a long suffering debate between the European Union and the UK.

There has been a worrying focus on Article 14 of the proposed constitution, it calls the Member States to: "actively and unreservedly support the common foreign and security policy and "refrain from action contrary to the union's interest or likely to undermine its effectiveness". This statement almost seems tyrannical as the member states are being forced to comply, a good reason for the UK to be nervous about change.

It can be wondered how such a statement can affect the current issues of the Iraq crisis whereby with such rules Tony Blair may not be able to continue to back the American's ( EU constitution- research materials- Ian Black). Sovereignty isn't the only thing that is worrying the sceptics of the EU constitution; there is also the issue of democracy. If there is to be a constitution, then there is the likelihood that there will be less democracy at national state level.

The Euro- federalists may call it reform, however, the non- federalists see it as an erosion of democracy. Dan Plesch states that: "In Europe there will be little point in achieving greater internal democracy if our relations with the wider world are once again kept out of reach by Europe's self-styled elites" (EU constitution- research materials). This may mean that as the EU become stronger, despite their talk of the constitution being one of democracy, they are simply using this to reach their position of power.

The Irish also felt that the constitution would take away their democratic liberties after the national referendum of the Nice Treaty where they may have felt that they were forced into a decision. Also there is the concern that the influence of the smaller countries are diminishing as the larger ones are increasing. Therefore there is the fear that the minority groups are not getting their say, even the representatives of the Member States are characteristically white, middle aged, middle class, men so it seems already there are aspects of democracy being taken away from the people (europa.

eu. int). Finally there is the assumption that once the constitution comes into force, then there will be what is known as a "federalist superstate". As the draft was read by the members of the European Union the terms the United States of Europe and United Europe came up causing some controversy. The UK's response to this was not a happy one as the senior officials stated: "There is not a cat in hell's chance of it being called the United States of Europe". They hoped that it would be worded something more like the "European Union".

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard also saw the draft as establishing the European Union on a "federal basis", enjoying "primacy over the law of the member states" (EU constitution- research materials). Because of such controversy some of the terms set out in the proposed constitution had to be altered, otherwise the states were beginning to feel that the "federal basis" would mean that they would have very little control as all the power would be centralised to one European government.

After much debate it appears that the plans for a new EU constitution will still be going ahead as the meetings continue this year. There will be the review of the drafts as they go through a process of production and eventually there will be a consolidation of the treaties and a new application of the law. Once this has been established only then will we know as a nation or as a European Union what affect it will have on our political and legal status.

It may be that there will be no real differences as Britain are already members of the European Union and have given up a certain degree of control. It is also quite likely that there will be a much clearer and simpler way for both citizens and the state to follow the rule of law and go through the procedures in a more refined manner. This would be the hope of many Member States who fear that any sovereignty or supremacy that they had left would be taken, along with their right to choose in a democracy.

If however, the European government abuse the power that is given to them then the constitution could have a negative affect on these groups. However if there continues to be the evaluation and re-drafting of the constitution then there is the hope that the interests of those whom it is imposed on is being considered and that the future of the European Union will go from strength to strength, displaying that in this modern world there is much needed co-operation between nations.