June 02, 2005

The EU constitution.

If you're like us, you're finding that the stories in the US press about the French (and now the Dutch) rejection of the European Union constitution are pretty thin in their explanation of why anyone would vote 'No.' They do a great job of telling who voted no, but other than providing some quotes from voters, US press coverage doesn't give any sense of what was so wrong about the constitution.

Luckily, we found this LA Weekly article by Doug Ireland that makes it very clear what the constitution's problems are:

The new European Constitution was not a step toward a stronger Europe, and would have actually lessened European influence on the world stage. In it, subordination of European security and military policy (and thus foreign policy) to NATO was set in concrete. And, as the former socialist defense minister of France, Jean-Pierre Chevenement (who resigned in protest over France’s support for the first Gulf War), repeatedly pointed out during the referendum campaign, under the Constitution the crucial role France played at the United Nations in opposing the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq would no longer have been possible. The Constitution would have restricted the ability of any member of the U.N. Security Council that is also an EU country (like France — or, as in proposals for Security Council enlargement now being considered, Germany) to take a position contrary to that adopted by the European Commission. And any single EU country could veto a position contrary to Washington’s. Thus, one would only need to buy a corrupt little country — like, say, Bulgaria — to block any EU action that would counter the American imperium.

Moreover, the Constitution was anti-democratic, for it kept real power in the hands of the unelected European Commission (whose members are appointed by their national governments) rather than giving it to the elected Europarliament in Strasbourg. The EU’s presidency, currently a rotating one, was given a longer term — but the president, too, would have been appointed by the commission. The 300-page Constitution — the longest ever in the world’s history, and written in obscure legalese incomprehensible to the average voter — would have irremovably enshrined matters of policy, including conservative economic policies, that would normally be decided by democratically elected governments. And it could only have been amended by a unanimous vote of all 25 EU countries — another boon to the multinationals, which also easily could have purchased a veto from a small country’s government-for-sale.

Given all that, this magpie would have voted 'No', too.

Posted by Magpie at June 2, 2005 12:34 PM | International | TrackBack(1) | Technorati links |