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Wednesday, September 15, 2004

A New EU Constitution Proposal

The French have rejected it. As have the Dutch. The future of the EU Constitution is now being compared unfavourably to that of a dead duck, but could you come up with a better version? One that could work for Britain and find support across Europe?  

Referendum or not, now's your chance to have your say.

We've asked Conservative MP David Heathcoat Amory to come up with an alternative text. Mr Heathcoat Amory was a British representative on the convention on the future of Europe, which drew up the constitution.
He opposed the final version and helped produce a minority report outlining a different vision of Europe. His proposed treaty - a term he prefers to constitution - is based on that report and is set out below.
In the run-up to the summit on 16th June, we're seeking suggestions for amendments to his treaty. 

David Heathcoat-Amory

Send us your thoughts - any line, any change - and help us create a new treaty. One made by listeners, for listeners.

Submit and debate your suggestions on the thread we've set up on the Today Message Boards.


A Europe of Democracies

Aware of the need to strengthen democracy and respect for the rule of law in Europe,

Observing the growing gulf between the EU institutions and the people of Europe and the loss of popular support for the EU as proved by successive referendums

We propose transforming the EU into a Europe of Democracies (ED) which should be a treaty association of free and self-governing European states and an open economic area.

1) Europe of Democracies . Europe shall not be governed by constitution. Instead, it shall be organised on an inter-parliamentary basis by means of a Treaty on European Cooperation. This will create a Europe of Democracies (ED) in place of the European Union.

2) Open to all democracies. Membership of the ED shall be open to any democratic European state which is a signatory of and respects fully the European Convention on Human Rights.

3) Simplified decision-making. ED laws shall be passed by unanimous vote by the ED council in which each member state government is represented on the basis of equality. ED laws may allow for implementing measures to be passed by majority voting by 75 per cent of council members representing at least half the ED total population.

4) National parliaments elect the Commission. An ED Commission based in Helsinki shall sit as a secretariat for the council and the national parliaments. Every nation parliament shall elect its own member of the commission. National parliaments shall decide on the annual legislative programme.

5) Powers and Competencies. ED legislation shall be confined to cross-border policies areas such as mutual trade and environmental issues. External representation of the ED shall be undertaken by the president of the ED, elected annually by the council by unanimity. The ED shall not have legal personality and will not itself be a party to international agreements.

6) Openness and Transparency. The decision-making process and all relevant documents shall be open and accessible and available on demand.

7) A European Assembly. There shall be an assembly composed of seconded national parliamentarians which shall meet six times a year to discuss proposed ED laws and advise the council but it shall not itself legislate

8) No legal activism. The European Court shall be composed of one judge from each member state, elected by national parliaments for a single four-year term. The court shall resolve disputes between member states and interpret ED laws. Treaty interpretations shall be referred to the council.

9) No militarisation. The ED shall not have its own armed forces, armaments agency or defence pact.

To see what amendments you have made to this constitution, read the listeners' constitution here.

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