Constitution for the Citizens of Europe
Treaties to a Single Constitution for all of Europe
Europe has been built on a succession of treaties that
were negotiated by the States. This method gave rise to
positive developments and has enabled progress in the
construction of Europe over the last fifty years.
The aim of
the Constitution is to include the citizens in the
continuing construction of Europe. This objective was
attained with the agreement made on June 18, 2004 in
Brussels between the Heads of State and Government. It
employed as its basis the work undertaken by the
European Convention, which brought together government
representatives of the 25 Member States as well as the
various European institutions and national parliaments.
Constitution aims to :
the actual system with a clear and simplified one in
terms of the procedures and means of action at the
European Union's disposal
what falls within the competence of the European Union
and the States and finally answer the question :"Who
the decision-making capacity of the institutions within
the Union 25 while increasing the democratic legitimacy
of these decisions by strengthening representation and
promoting citizen participation
Constitution structures the functions of the Union
authorities, as well as the distribution of competence
between the latter and the Member States. It also
acknowledges the existence of common values and
fundamental rights that consequently acquire legal
What does the Constitution comprise?
The Constitution comprises four main
part contains the Union's objectives and values ; more precisely,
the means upon which the institutions decide and act.
component is entirely dedicated to the Charter of
fundamental rights that are thereby "constitutionalized"
granting them legal legitimacy, which they recently
acquired. In real terms, national and European judges
will have to interpret these rights and guarantee that
both national and European legislation respect them.
section addresses the various policies that the European
Union is responsible for. Finally, the fourth part
provides details of the manner in which the
Constitution is to be applied and of the existing means
to modify it.
In order to
be applied, the Constitution has to be accepted by all
of the Member States and then ratified by them all. The
Member States will be able to ratify the Constitution
either by a parliamentary procedure or by consulting
citizens directly by a referendum as in France and ten
other European countries to date, thus, providing even
greater democratic legitimacy to the European
Constitution. If the Constitution is voted against, the
European Council will undertake the issue at hand.
As far as
the revision of the Constitution is concerned, we should
note that the European Parliament can put forward
changes and that it does therefore have a similar power
of initiative enjoyed by the States and the Commission.
In terms of the revision of Union policies, the European
Council may unanimously decide to transmute a domain
originally ruled by a unanimous vote over to a majority
Constitution and the Respect of the Member States
Constitution states that the Union must respect the
identity of Member States. The European Constitution
does not replace national constitutions but instead
exists alongside of them.
The Constitution assures that all Member States will
enjoy the "right to voluntary withdrawal" from the
European Union. The Constitution guarantees
that any State may decide to withdraw from the Union in
accordance with the constitutional rules.
co-operation", created by the Amsterdam Treaty (1997),
enables States to take the initiative by employing the
Union's institutional framework to apply common
policies. It extends the
application to the defense policy, meaning that States
may adhere to advance in this domain without the
cooperation of non-consenting States while allowing
others to freely partake at any given time.
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