Thursday, February 20, 2003
Amendments to the Second Draft - 20th February 2003, 20.56

The Convention has been accepting amendments to the second draft of the Constitution. Some 1,500 have been received by today with more expected even though the deadline of Monday, 17th February, has now been dropped. The Financial Times has reported that the vast majority of these amendments are critical of the draft because it does not fully support the agenda of integration. They call for 'to preserve references to "an ever closer Union", promote the "European social model" and work towards common defence'. Many also want the European Union to confirm that it has developed into a state.

Many members call for explicit reference to the symbols of the EU - such as its flag, anthem, currency and public holidays, many of which are seen by UK politicians as having the trappings of statehood.

Peter Hain has objected to all 16 clauses of the draft and has made common cause with the Irish on a common foreign policy and with the French on integrating the remaining areas of national policy. At it is currently constructed, the draft is a poison pill, craftily designed to force Great Britain to swallow bitter medicine.


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