Wednesday, September 11, 2002
Update on the European Convention

Whereas everybody will be analysing warblogs, Bush's address to the United Nations and the general war towards drift, the new plenary session of the Convention will start tomorrow.

To give a taste of the debate within which our futures are being decided, here is a document arguing for a community model amongst four alternatives - that contains the usual drives towards harmonisation - but recognises that some countries might not wish to join and includes options for abstention and withdrawal.

Or this model of a European Constitution from Andrew Duff, Lib Dem MEP for the East of England, who does not include the term "liberty" in his document and has very stiff terms for withdrawal. Secession is not decided by an individual state but by

Amendments to the Constitution, or the accession or secession of a member state or associate member, will take effect if supported either:

(i) by the Council, acting by a three-quarters majority of the member states, and by the Parliament acting by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast, and ratified thereafter by all member states according to their own constitutional requirements; or

(ii) by a referendum of the citizens of the Union, by the Parliament and by the Council.

No longer could individual states vote to end their association with the Union, if this was taken up. There are plenty of other odious examples of this confederal constitutionalism that undermines Britain's sovereignty.

Note that Britain has one member on the Praesidium, German born Gisela Stuart, a Labour Backbencher and former PPS to Paul Boateng, who is chairing the working party on National Parliaments and who would appear to be devoted to making the Union work.

The Convention will result in an approach incompatible with any remaining independent power held by the British Isles.


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