Saturday, March 05, 2005

The European Constitution needs deciphering!

President Chirac announced yesterday that France will hold a referendum on the European Constitution on May 29. That gives the French people 12 weeks to make up their mind.
I don't know if many people in Europe have started reading the actual text. I have, and I get headaches from its obscure wording.
Here's a good example:
Article I.11 (on the fundamental Principles of Union Competences)
Under the principle of subsidiarity, in areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the Union shall act only if and insofar as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, either at central level or at regional and local level, but can rather, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved at Union level.
And this is what the Europeans have to vote for or against! They probably need a college degree first. Interestingly, it is former French President Giscard who lead the convention that drafted the text and whose aim was to :
simplify EU Treaties, putting them into a language that anyone can understand and bring the organisation closer to citizens.
Good job to the old man! Not all hope is lost, however. There are great sites on the Web that dicepher the most obscure passages, and frankly it is worth the trouble in the end.
For English-speakers, there is, among many others,:
- What the Constitution Says (BBC site)
- Treaty Establishing the Constitution (from the free encyclopedia Wikepedia)


At 18:01, Blogger Gill said...

Hi, your blog is my 'blog of the day' today over on


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