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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

EUROPEAN UNION OR UNITED STATES OF EUROPE

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1. INTRODUCTION


¡°Under and within that world concept we must re-create the European Family in a regional structure called, it may be, the United States of Europe. And the first practical step would be to form Council of Europe. If at first all the States of Europe are not willing or able to join the Union, we must nevertheless proceed to assemble and combine those who will and those who can.¡±(Winston Churchill)


A united European Union has been established with 5 member states (10 due in 004) and total population of 500 Million since of Sir Winston Churchills speech to the academic Youth in Zurich in 146. With the end of the Cold War in the 10s, the countries of Europe have a tremendous opportunity to consolidate ideas and power. Now European Union is preparing for the accession of 1 eastern and southern European countries, and among them up to 10 new countries are due to join the Union in 004.


The possibility of a United States of Europe is becoming very real. It seems a European superstate is forming with a huge industrial, economic and military power. But is it democratic? How will each country be affected? Will way of life be forsaken for the good of a new Nation?


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. DRAFT OF NEW CONSTITUTION FOR EUROPE


On Monday 6 may, 00, the latest draft of a new constitution for Europe drawn up by the Convention under former French President Valery Giscard dEstaing was published. This constitution may form the basis of a new treaty re-shaping the EU and simplifying existing treaties before the admission of 10 new members in 004. Moreover, it also lays out three other main areas how to divide responsibilities between the EU and the member states; the status of the European Charter for Fundamental Rights; and the role of national parliaments within the European Union.





There are some controversial plans for sweeping changes to the way the European Union works - including a call for an elected EU president.The new EU president would be a serving or former prime minister of an EU country elected by the leaders of member states and would serve for at least two-and-a-half years.


The draft proposals from the convention on Europes future also include an elected foreign minister and emphasize that EU states should actively and unreservedly back for a common foreign and security policy. The draft text says the EU should have legal personality and adopt a legally binding charter of rights covering a range of issues including labour and social policies. On the economy, the draft says The Union shall coordinate the economic policies of the member states, in particular by establishing broad guidelines for these policies.


The proposals set out a vision of how the EU will be run after 10 new countries join next year. However, there was no agreement on how far the European Union should be further integrated and did little to promote unity across the expanding EU.


¡°It was not what united people that emerged, but what divided them. The convention became a battlefield of large against small, left against right and EU proponents against EU skeptics.... The aim is to bring the EU closer to citizens. The EU, its goals and decisions were meant to be made simpler and more comprehensible. And none of that has happened.¡± (Die Presse)


. EUROPEAN UNION OR UNITED STATES OF EUROPE


Before the publication of draft constitution, there was even an argument about the name. There are four possibilities - the European Community, the European Union, the United States of Europe or United Europe.


However, Peter Hain, the Welsh Secretary and the UK Governments representative on the convention, told BBCs Newsnight programme that the idea of a United States of Europe was a non-runner. Anyway, British officials believe the name-change suggestion is tactical. Designed to please Euro-federalists, it has been touted safe in the knowledge that it will be shot down (BBC).


United States of Europe was one option. Europe United was another -- Europe United sounds like a football team to me. United States of Europe frankly is not on, we wont accept that


The UK Government had said it would veto any plans which it believes are not in British interests. In order to soothe Britains fears about the creation of a European superstate, the presidium has chosen to indicate as early as Article 1 that the union exercises its competencies in the community way and not in a federal way as some suggested. Hain said We are burying once and for all the fantasies of a Brussels super-state...Europe will remain a union of sovereign nation states with governments such as Britains in charge. (BBC)


And since those governments which oppose too much change have a veto, it is also much easier for things to stay the same than for things to change. Therefore, it will neither be called the United States of Europe, nor a United Europe. Instead, it is to stay the same European Union. That is the proposal in the draft constitution and it perhaps sums up what is going on in the convention drawing up proposals for a new EU constitution - a compromise between those who want the EU to remain much as now and those who want to forge ahead to a much integrated structure.


EU skeptics predict that the Union will make a grab for more power in certain domestic policy areas (environment, energy, health and social policy among others) in which it shares competence or responsibility with the member states. They fear that Europe is being taken in one direction by all this - towards a closer union instead of an alliance of nations and want more power to stay with the national governments, through the Council of Ministers. Therefore, they wish the European Union continue to be founded on a system of Treaties, under perhaps an umbrella treat which placed more emphasis upon the sovereignty of each member state, and maintained the right of withdrawal. .


Whilst EU proponents see the constitutional arrangement as the first step to a strong European superstate. Therefore, they want individual countries to have less power to veto decisions, thus simplifying the Union, placing all nations under a single set of universally binding proposals.


4. FUTURE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION


With this blueprint for the future of EU, what will the EU look like? Let¡¯s see some details of proposals.


A permanent President of the Council of Ministers would substantially raise the profile of the European Union as a unit. At present the Presidency rotates every six months between member states. With 5 such members, this is seen as impractical. So it is proposed that a senior figure be chosen by heads of state and government to serve for up to five years. Germany, France and the UK back the presidency idea.This alarms smaller states such as Finland, Portugal and Austria who fear their voices would be drowned out. As they guess the president would usually come from one of the larger countries, this would allow the big countries to dominate the EU and weaken the Commission, guardian of the supranational European interest. A new text on this plan is awaited.


An EU Foreign Minister would represent the EU but he/she could only do so if the EU was agreed on a policy which Iraq has shown they cannot necessarily do. No one could sensible argue that a common foreign policy has tied our hand over the past decade, nor will it in the future, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said.(The Times) therefore, the powers and indeed the name of this office remain to be determined. Again a new text on this is due out soon.


A reformed European Commission would make it less unwieldy and a new system of qualified majority voting in the Council of Ministers would simplify the procedure. Small countries are concerned about this though. The Commission president would have to be approved by the European Parliament.


More qualified majority voting across a wider range of policies is attractive to many and even to some of the reluctant countries on specific issues where they want action. The rule would be to vote by qualified majority unless the constitution stated otherwise. A qualified majority would be a double one -- a majority of countries and amounting to 60 per cent of the EUs population


Increased powers for the European Parliament, extending the number of issues on which it has to give its assent, is proposed and is quite hard to oppose given the democractic nature of the parliament. But those who want no further dilution of national powers will oppose this.


A redefinition of the law-making process would get rid of the confusing word directive and call it a European law instead. Supremacy of European law over national law in areas where the EU has competence is stated but no new legal position is created by this.


The powers of the Union are defined to make sure that the concepts of subsidiarity and proportionality are established. Those mean that the Union should do only those things which the member states cannot do and only in a reasonable way. National parliament would have a role in monitoring this.


Common citizenship. This confirms the status quo and does not detract from national citizenship. It gives people the right to stand in local and European elections wherever they live and the right to protection abroad in places where their country is not represented


Charter of Fundamental Rights. There is an argument going on about whether this Charter, which was agreed in 000 should be part of EU law. The British Government would veto that. It enshrines incidentally a right to strike (Article 8) but only in accordance with Community law and national laws and practice.


Home affairs and justice issues the idea is to bring more of this into EU procedures rather than leave them to be dealt with government to government. For example, coping with asylum seekers would be easier EU wide though countries would retain their right to border controls. A European Prosecutors office for certain trans-EU crimes is proposed.


A new clause allowing for a country to leave the Union is outlined. It would have to negotiate a new relationship with the others especially over trade. But its right to leave is formalised.


Giving the EU its own legal personality would allow it to sign a trade or other agreement on behalf of member states instead of having them all having to do so. Opponents fear that this will strengthen the EU as a single entity.


A role for the EU in economic polices is contentious with some opposing an EU right of co-ordination. There is no suggestion of a Union role in setting taxes but there is one to give it a say in fighting tax fraud. Giving the countries using the euro extra powers to develop policies on their own is worrying for those not in the eurozone.


5. CONCLUSION


Does all this amount to the creation of a European state? There are some measures which would move it in that direction but by themselves, the proposals do not create that state. Some of them (a common foreign policy is one) would help that process - but only if implemented. The role of national governments remains strong.


The draft for the new constitution for Europe paves the way for sweeping changes to the EU. It raises the prospect of a massive overhaul of the EU to accommodate up to 10 new countries due to join in 004. It is clear that a Unites States of Europe would be a more powerful global force than the sum of its parts, to the benefit of those within its borders. However, It is a long way from the Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 which agreed quite rapidly on the constitution for the United States of America.


¡°Therefore I say to you let Europe arise!¡± (Winston Churchill)


6.REFERENCE


http//european-convention.eu.int


http//fe.lrt.be


http//news.independent.co.uk


http//www.bbc.com


http//www.cnn.com


http//www.dailymail.com


http//www.europa.eu.int


http//www.ft.com


http//www.obv.org.uk/europe


http;//www.telegraph.co.uk


http//www.thetimes.com


http//european-convention.eu.int/bienvenue.asp?lang=EN, Draft EU Constitution.


http//www.euobserver.com, EU should be named United States of Europe.


http//www.globalbritain.org, Better off out.


http//www.whatthepaperssay.co.uk, Britain laughs off `United States Of Europe¡¯.


http//www.younthpeople.com, A United States of Europe


Sir Winston Churchill, speech to the academic Youth, Zurich,146.


Valery Giscard d¡¯Estaing, Speech to College of Brugge, Belgium,00.


Excerpts Europes draft constitution, BBC news.


Giscard makes case for United States of Europe, The Daily Telegraph.


Q&A Europes constitution, BBC news.


Row over United States of Europe , CNN world news.


Jac Vam Impe, United States of Europe, Jac Vam Impe Ministries, 15.


Kevin Ellul Bonici Controlling the Future of Europe---Welcome to the Emerging Giscardian Empire, 00.


Dr. Thomas Schirrmacher, The United States of Europe vs. The People, 11.


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