The proposal for an EU constitution

"The proposal for an EU constitution has both advantages and disadvantages. However, any moves towards the creation of a "federalist superstate" should be strenuously opposed. " A constitution can be the founding text of a state or organisation, which entails the principles on which they are governed. The constitution of Europe would therefore set out the "foundations of the European Union" which would provide a guideline for the 30 member states to follow on current issues e. g. the environment (The European Policy Centre).

In December 2000, at the Treaty of Nice important reforms were decided. There was the conclusion of the Conference of Representatives of the Governments of the Member States and with that came the opportunity for enlargement in the European Union. There came an extended debate regarding the future of the European Union and it set out some proposals for the Laeken Declaration which was to come later in December 2001. This stated the need for greater integration between parliament and the Member States and a clearer set of treaties.

Therefore the Laeken Declaration followed with its goals of bringing together institutions to its citizens with better democratic scrutiny, expanding the amount of Member States included in the Union, achieving greater transparency and simplification of the treaties ( www. europarl. org. uk). These all being the beginning aims pointing towards an EU constitution. The EU states that the powers that belong to them are attributed ones only and that there will be an enhanced role of the National Parliaments with regard to subsidiarity and EU initiatives.

On February 6th 2003 the first draft section of the new Constitutional Treaty was drawn up by the Convention on the Future of Europe. The Praesidium drew up the first draft of Articles 1- 16 who are the executive body. Some of the reports that are included are on Economic Governance and the Principle of Subsidiarity. This was to define the European Union's objectives and provided an insight into how the constitution would be set out, the final decisions of the treaty to be discussed in June 2003 ( www. europa.eu. int).

However, this was to create a wide debate and the speculation that with the constitution, there would be a "federalist superstate. " A federalist system which is used in the US whereby there are different institutions to deal with different political issues. These institutions will range on scale of being based locally to nationally, however the federal system is seen as working at the lowest level possible. It is also seen as a democratic system as the state's laws apply directly to the citizens (www.

federalunion. uklinux. net). However, there has been the concern of some that this "superstate" will submerge all of the national identities at once which could inevitably destroy some of the power that the Member States possess. This is the argument that can be looked at to see to what extent these statements regarding an EU constitution actually are. The hope for the introduction of an EU constitution was for a positive effect to be brought on the European Union.

It is always important for an organisation, especially a State to carry out and achieve its objectives. This is a display of strength and progress. By establishing constitutionalism, it is therefore complimenting the proposed enlargement with the new Member States. It gives any forthcoming issues purpose and identity, which is already being recognised in the European Courts. This is the European Unions first and very important purpose as it gives the citizens of the Member States encouragement that the state is competent in fulfilling its plans.

With the proposed constitution there is the consolidation of information. The Member States at National Parliament need clarification in order to follow the law much more clearly, therefore making it easier to apply. Some confusing aspects that the Member States have found with the current system are the naming process, whereby there is often uncertainty for example of the differences between Community Law and European Union Law.

It can be said that the Union mainly deals with inter-governmental matters e. g. foreign policy and home affairs, whereas the Community deals with more economic business matters such as the single market. A single constitution could therefore possibly render this. With a constitution there can be immediate implementation of new amendments quickly and easily rather than the conflict that exists between the monists and dualist system, thus providing a simple index principle to provide a quick reference.

There could also be a saving on some of the expenses due to the reduced time spent on making decisions as everything should become much clearer to follow. The UK Minister for Foreign Affairs Jack Straw, has commented on the current situation of the Union: "Union's treaties fail almost every test of clarity and brevity: 165 pages long, plus 90 pages in the yet to be ratified Treaty of Nice. " It is obvious from this statement that there is a need for some kind of efficient consolidation. (EU Constitution- Research Materials, Jack Straw).