Why the USA should worry about the EU’s Renamed Constitution

The following piece was written by my good friend and colleague Dan Hannan MEP, and I was so impressed with it that (with his permission) I decided to post it here.

Key Quote: “Where the US constitution is chiefly about the rights of the individual, the European one is chiefly about the power of the state”.

1. The European Constitution / Lisbon Treaty will strengthen the EU’s common foreign policy.
Is this in the interests of the United States? In recent years the EU has:
· Declared its intention to sell arms to Beijing
· Pursued a policy of “constructive engagement” towards the ayatollahs in Teheran
· Withdrawn its recognition from the anti-Castro dissidents in Cuba
· Continued to funnel money to Hamas-controlled territory through intermediaries and NGOs, so as to stay within the letter of its own law on financing terrorist organisations
There is a reason why the EU and the US take different positions on these and other issues. In all these cases, the US favours democracy, the EU stability.

2. The European Constitution was rejected at the ballot box
There is a reason that the EU tends to be more accommodating towards authoritarian regimes than the US. Its leaders are often lukewarm about democracy — or “populism” as they call it, when it produces results they don’t like. The European Constitution was voted down overwhelmingly in two referendums in 2005: by 55 per cent of French voters and 62 per cent of Dutch voters. Instead of accepting the result, EU leaders simply pushed ahead with ratifying the same document, making what Angela Merkel referred to in a leaked memo as “the necessary presentational changes” and altering its name to “Lisbon Treaty”. All EU leaders accept that the two documents are essentially the same. The only one who denies it is Gordon Brown, because he doesn’t want to hold the referendum he promised at the last election.

3. It would be rejected again
Eight EU governments promised their peoples referendums on the treaty. Seven have reneged. Only Ireland, whose national constitution requires plebiscites on questions of constitutional change, is giving its people a vote. The reason the other referendums have been cancelled is simple: people would vote “No” again.

4. It’s a bad constitution
The United States Constitution contains 4,550 words in the original draft, 7,600 with all 27 amendments. The European Constitution/Lisbon Treaty has 76,250 words. Where the US constitution is chiefly about the rights of the individual, the European one is chiefly about the power of the state. Where the American concerns itself with delineating the powers of the various institutions, the European busies itself with interfering in every aspect of the everyday lives of our citizens.

5. International judicial activism
The EU is as much a construct of its judges as of its legislators. European integration has advanced through a series of contentious rulings by the European Court of Justice. These are now forming a corpus of international law which judges in every country, including the US, are recognising in their own precedents.

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