Colin's Journal: A place for thoughts about politics, software, and daily life.
Another draft of the first part of the EU constitution were published today. Most of it seems fairly good to my untrained eyes, but I do take issue with the amount of space that has been given to the development of a common foreign and security policy (Article I-39). Take for example:
Member States shall consult one another within the Council and the European Council on any foreign and security policy issue which is of general interest in order to determine a common approach. Before undertaking any action on the international scene or any commitment which could affect the Union’s interests, each Member State shall consult the others within the Council or the European Council. Member States shall ensure, through the convergence of their actions, that the Union is able to assert its interests and values on the international scene. Member States shall show mutual solidarity.
By having a clause like this (which carries no real weight) the whole constitution is going to be taken less seriously. It would have been better to state, in the preamble, that a common foreign policy is an aspiration, and then issued a constitutional amendment at some point in the future when such a policy is more realistic.
Mean while the Tories don’t like it, claiming it’s a step on the road to an EU state, without actually letting us know which bit they don’t like. Presumably under a Conservative government we would just fail to ratify the constitution and get kicked out of the EU. The reporting the BBC is doing seems to be fairly well balanced politically, but inaccurate as far as actual content is concerned.
For example in the linked article they state that the constitution calls for an elected EU president and foreign minister. This is accurate, but gives the impression that the they would be elected by the people, whereas the constitution states that the European Council will elect the president by qualified majority. The BBC also states that
The new EU president would be a serving or former prime minister of an EU country elected by the leaders of member states., whereas the constitution specifically states that:
The President of the European Council may not be a member of another European institution or hold a national mandate.
Email: colin at owlfish.com