Friday, January 13, 2006

The constitutional zombie

So it looks like the EU constitution has turned into one of the undead, roughly raised from its shallow grave to parade around the continent once more and scare the crap out of everyone. From the manner of its rising it can only really be a zombie - a shambling, slowly rotting, rather ineffectual member of the army of darkness which can, nonetheless, be a bit scary and have the potential to eat many a good brain.

The Austrian presidency is planning to relaunch the constitutional ratification process on January 27th in Salzburg - the home town of Mozart and the 250th anniversary of his birth, prompting all kinds of PR guff about "bringing harmony to Europe's orchestra". Meanwhile Andrew Duff and Johannes Voggenhuber, British and Austrian MEPs respectively, were the European Parliament's rapporteurs on the EU Constitution, and are due to report again next week on the "period of reflection" everyone was supposed to have been having since its rejection by France and the Netherlands last year.

They are also expected to try and get the Parliament's backing for a pointlessly contentious attempt to revive the damn thing, the only possible benefit of which could (if we're lucky, which on Friday 13th seems unlikely) be increased pan-European debate - something the Blair EU presidency studiously avoided, despite calls from the Commission for a "Plan D for Democracy, Dialogue and Debate" in the aftermath.

Nonetheless, as it looks like the constitution is going to become an issue again over the next six months, how about a recap?

  • First up, a summary of what it was the constitution was actually proposing to change
  • Then, a reminder of why something along these lines is necessary for the EU
  • A look at why - especially with Blair in charge - ratifying the constitution would be a good thing for Britain
  • A specific example of one area which would have been improved by the constitution - immigration
  • Then a quickie on why those of us in favour of the EU should reject this constitution anyway
  • The difficulties of the lack of EU democratic accountabilty and the lack of a European demos
  • And a lengthy bit on why sensible debate over the EU is all but impossible
  • Finally, a handy collection of links to other blog posts and articles on the constitution
  • 3 Comments:

    Blogger MatGB said...

    I thank you sir, for having done all the legwork on this before I started blogging. Now, a few queries and, I think, a minor correction.

    In the first you say it will "Introduce qualified majority voting", but that already exists, was created in the SEA that Maggie signed. I think you mean will streamline and make more easily understood, correct?

    Also, same heading, just checking that the treaty does (finally) allow legislation to come from somewhere other than the commission, but gives it a slightly higher threshold?

    Typos; "Transparency: ne million" and "to the legislator"; the former should be ": one million" I think, and the latter "legislature"?

    It's the comments that get me in the rest; you managd to engage with Ken, roundly answer each of his points, and still he kept coming.

    Is Matt still blogging at all, or just busy teaching? Meh, enough rambling, I'll just throw up another link to this post before I, um, load up Civ and start playing that...

    1/13/2006 11:21:00 pm  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Hm, Voggenhuber is Austrian.

    1/14/2006 09:15:00 pm  
    Blogger Nosemonkey said...

    Iran, Iraq - what's the difference?

    etc.

    Ta - must have been a brainspack or something.

    1/14/2006 09:47:00 pm  

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