Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Saturday, 21 June 2003

EU Constitution - we need one, but Giscard d'Estaing's effort ain't it

My reading of the draft treaty produced by the EU Convention, led by former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, left me feeling that the brief of codifying, and most importantly clarifying, the existing treaties into one document and setting out a 'blue print' for the future of the EU had not been met. Rather it seems to me to be an immensely complicated document which would be impenetrable to all but a very small percentage of the citizens of the EU. Unlike the admirably simple, and mercifully brief, US Constitution. Undoubtedly the fact that Giscard d'Estaing comes from a country that produced the Code Napoleon, and is now on its fifth constitution in just over two centuries, has been a major factor in this urge to further compicate rather than simplify.

The Economist magazine this week suggest that the most suitable destination for this draft EU Constitution Teaty is the waste paper bin - I tend to agree.

The Economist also has a much more detailed analysis in its current online version, although the implication of possible future action for the UK, latent in its final paragraph, is not one I share - even though the possibility of such action is a welcome addition (in my view) to give the whole venture a measure of real democratic accountability, at least potentially:
Is there any way out?
As it happens, there is. The constitution includes the first formal statement that a country can leave the EU. Two years notice is all that is required.

This is one clause that the US Constitution does not possess, so far as I am aware, and is to me its one glaring weakness.

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