Constitution ‘worth fighting for’

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Klaus Klipp and Pascal Goergen, in an article for the Assembly of European Regions, argue that the Constitution must be salvaged and that the Parliament and German EU Presidency have central roles to play.

The authors believe that only the Constitution offers the Union “the possibility to react effectively, to realize its objectives and to finally be able to tackle the important questions, such as the problems relating to energy, environment and foreign policy”.

They note with disappointment that although the 25 member states have given a legal commitment to ratify the treaty, seven states have suspended all proceedings for ratification. However, the 18 out of 25 states that have ratified the treaty (plus Bulgaria and Romania) represent more than 50% of the member states and more than 60% of the EU’s total population.

The authors point to Declaration no. 30 as an option that could save the project. It allows for the European Council to address the issue if, after a 2-year period, four of the member states have ratified the treaty and one or more member state has encountered some problems in the process. In such a case, France and the Netherlands could try and resell the document to their citizens.

As regards the content of the proposed Constitution, the authors argue that it is nothing more than a simplified version of the treaties in force since 1952. Moreover, it is an essential legal instrument that will improve decision-making, allow for a minister of foreign affairs who will be able to represent Europe abroad, and allow member states to formally secede from the Union. 

The paper concludes by saying that the main hope of finding a solution to the deadlock lies in both the Parliament’s pugnacity and the will of the German Presidency and its successors to break the current deadlock. 

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