The proposal for a EU constitution

The proposal for a EU constitution has both advantages and disadvantages. However any moves towards the creation of a "federalist superstate" should be strenuously opposed. Critically discuss The European Union is a sovereignty-sharing association that exercises power over the citizens of Europe. This has a constitution in which contains the legal rules and practices which underlie the exercise and control of state power. From this we could define the European Union constitution to be a document, which contains the highest law in Europe.

This document further regulates and defines everything the Union does, gives a minimum set of rights for the individual European citizen. It also defines and limits the Union authority in some areas1. The Preliminary draft for a EU constitution was on the 28th of October 2002. In this draft, Articles 1-16 of draft treaty was published to all Member states. The draft contained what the convention discussed about the functioning of institutions and efficiency of enlarged European Union. And on the 20th and 21st of January 2003 the Treaty was adopted.

This Treaty was published on 6th of February 2003 and it would be presented at the European Council Summit to be held in Thessaloniki in June 2003. The proposal for EU constitution has both advantages and disadvantages. One of the major advantages is that the constitution would bring European citizens closer to the European Union by making the work it does clearer in a single document2. Not only does this constitution bring it citizens closer to the Union, but it also give the citizens a greater deal of confidence in the work of the European Union.

For instance in the new treaty it states that every national of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union. This is contained in the Charter of Fundamental Human Rights, which is an integral part of the Constitution. Another advantage of this constitution is that it gives a much clearer definition of the nature and scope of powers between Member States and the Union. In this way we know the scope of powers given to European Court of Justice. We know that it is the highest court in Europe and that EU law from this court overrides any law from any national court.

Another advantage for the proposal of EU constitution is that it will lessen the confusing unwieldy structure of treaties3. Since the treaty is in a simplified form and it consists of 3 parts. Part 1 of the treaty consists of the Constitutional Structure, part 2 has the Union Policies and Part 3 has general and final provisions. The treaty being broken down into three parts simplifies it for easy ready and more understanding for the European citizens. Furthermore the treaty aims to create a European social and employment Union whereby the fight against poverty and social exclusion would be better fought.

The major objective of this is to attain full employment4. This mostly refers to the rights of women to gainful employment, which will also be taken into consideration. The treaty also aims to further implement autonomous common and democratic foreign and security policy for the Union. This is a situation whereby the Member states shall have the duty to assist each other in a case of military attack from outside. The proposal for EU constitution has many advantages to all Member States. But this proposal also has its setbacks.

A major disadvantage is that any attempt at change by any of the Member States will only result in greater change at EU level. This in effect means that if a Member State wanted to change part of this constitution it would definitely have to go the Union and ask for permission to change it and if the Union does not agree there will be conflict. Furthermore the operation of the European Union and its Institutions is to complex to reduce in one single document. There are already 15 Member States with an additional 10 more to join by 2004.

All of this Member States speak different languages, are at different levels of economic growths. Each one would definitely want a treaty or rather a constitution that would favour them both economically and financially. All Member States cannot all agree on the all the contents of the treaty. Also it is much harder for the Union to reach a consensus because it has to act in a way in which it is not favouring any one Member State over the other. A typical case scenario is when the German Court opened the door to scrutiny of the Treaty of Maastricht.

The Court accepted that, the right of German citizens to participate in elections to the German Parliament (Bundestag) as guaranteed by Article 38 of the German Constitution might be infringed by the Treaty of Maastricht. Article 23 of the Basic Law authorises the transfer of sovereign powers by legislature to the European Union but this only permissible in so far as the transfer does not alter the identity of the constitutional order of the Federal Republic5. In setting the limits of German participation in the Union using these building blocks.

The Federal Constitutional Court painted a picture of the European Union which drew heavily on classic concepts of national sovereignty and which saw the Union and its legal order as fundamentally a creature of international relations. And the international law which is based on treaties which are controlled by Member States; are lacking features of supernaturalism which the Court of Justice has always claimed for it6. For the German court the image of the constitutional's treaty does not sustain the authority of the European Law and the Court of Justice.

This is another disadvantage of the proposal for European constitution. Another setback is that the citizens of Europe could consider this, another excuse for "junkets" by politicians in Brussels7. And also it further be the aim of European integration may have gone to far. Furthermore, it seems like the Union is tending towards becoming a "federalist super state". By this we mean, the integration of the political power of all the Member states of the European Union. In this case a lot of the Member States will lose their sovereign over their own state and all political power would be concentrated at Union level.

If this were actually to be case as a lot of academics, journalist and political analysts are suggesting about the proposal for the European constitution. I would say it is advisable for the Union to desist from this method of governance because it would only return Europe back to how it was before the establishment of the Union. It would now go back to the days of fighting for power struggle of Europe and there would definitely be no peace and tranquillity as there is now.