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Merkel's plan for the constitution

by A swedish kind of death Sat Jan 13th, 2007 at 08:52:17 AM EST

In todays Guardian, Merkel explains her plan to pass the constitution.

The international style


Passion apart, there is also the politics. Merkel has just launched an ambitious, if discreet, campaign to rescue the constitution. She is already highly rated as a very good listener and a skilful fixer. On the constitution, though, she wants to get her way and intends to bang heads for the next six months of her EU presidency to that end.

Her team has drafted a detailed timetable for what looks like a make-or-break attempt to reshape the way Europe is run. In an unusual move, she has just asked all EU leaders to appoint a senior figure to resume negotiations on the constitution behind closed doors over the next few months. There is to be minimal public disclosure. She hopes to avoid any further popular votes or referendums on the constitution.

In June Merkel will table an EU "roadmap", outlining how to enact the constitution within two years. The aim is to have the deal in the bag before the next European parliament elections in 2009.


Well this will do wonders to dispell public doubts about the EU-project!

But snark aside, is this even possible? Are there not some member countries that demand referendums to change their constitutins which might be necessary to enact the EU constitution? And how will the french and netherland publics react to being by-passed?

I would like to point out what I wrote this summer:

Public participation in the EU

Here is a list of three ways treaties could be passed in the EU with a focus on the public participation.

A) No public participation
If there is no referendums, ratification can go smoothly as long as the parliaments can be trusted. The governments doing the negotiation should know what can be passed in their respective parliament. States with mandatory referendums has to remove it from their constitutions (which would include referendums...). Switzerland can never join.


I think A will happen. The elites will get rid of the pesky referendums.

Am I...
. a) seeing the future in mists dancing on summer meadows? 0%
. b) creating the future as Merkel has a lackey in chrae of reading ET? 100%

Votes: 1
Results | Other Polls
I tried to write "in charge" but apparently I mispelled. It does not look like I can update the poll, as it keeps coming back the same way. Any gnome around to assist?

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by A swedish kind of death on Sat Jan 13th, 2007 at 11:04:08 AM EST
Ok, not a lot of reaction. Has this already been discussed?

Leave aside my snark, how do you feel about this - the fast-track approach to the constitution that is? In my view it would just feed resentment, but what do others think?

Considering how heated the discussion on the constitution has been, I figured this would create some discussion and maybe even ways to act proactively instead of reacting this summer when the "senior figures" has done their meetings.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Jan 14th, 2007 at 12:50:49 AM EST
referendums are pest and should be forbidden. But since they aren't, one have to deal with them. It would be incredibly difficult to pass a new constitution in France (specially after the late "no") without a new one.

The only way of doing it is to have the right timing : pass the referendum when the government is popular. It seldom happens but there are windows of opportunity sometimes.

by oldfrog on Sun Jan 14th, 2007 at 07:52:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's undemocratic, of course. But the 'elites' can't easily get rid of the referendums (for starters, a lot of elites believe or profess to believe that participative democracy is a good thing). What Merkel will be looking for is no referendum in France, at least. If France can be brought on board and the other states that have ratified stay on board, the game changes entirely because then they can threaten to go ahead without the states that have not ratified.

I have tried to keep track of the persons and positions around the 'constitution' for much of the past half year on my blog, which you can read in the Dead Constitution series.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Sun Jan 14th, 2007 at 10:01:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it's impossible to avoid a referendum in France on that matter. See post below.
by oldfrog on Sun Jan 14th, 2007 at 07:07:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Another top down proposal. This is precisely the wrong way to rescue the European project.

What is needed, as I have argued before, is a bottom up exercise which explicitly excludes the national governments and parliaments (at least as much as is constitutionally practicable).

I still favour a constitutional convention, comprised entirely of people popularly elected for the specific purpose of writing a constitution beginning "We the people". The text, if one emerges, should go to a simultaneous referendum in every member state and if approved (say) by a majority overall and a majority in two thirds of the member states should then come into force for those members that have so ratified. Any states which reject the constitution would then continue with the existing arrangements (not an ideal solution but it ought to be manageable at least for a few years).

by Gary J on Sun Jan 14th, 2007 at 01:15:43 PM EST
just saw the discussion about that (including interview with Merkel) on France Europe Express (TV3).

Montaubourg (socialist) and Barnier (UMP) agreed that a "mini-treaty" (part one and two in the old one) + a couple of amendments should be voted 2008. The method isn't settled but both are more or less for a single European referendum, the same day. This cannot apply to all countries for legal reasons but could be combined with parliamentary votes.

by oldfrog on Sun Jan 14th, 2007 at 07:05:21 PM EST
another precision :

it seems that an amendment will precise Europe's frontiers and thus tell the Turks to go and Cheney themselves. It's obviously the price to pay to get a yes.

by oldfrog on Sun Jan 14th, 2007 at 07:09:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arnaud Montebourg.
Nitpicking,yes, but somehow not just for the fun of it.
I have the feeling that the name is here to stay.  A sort of young lefty maverick from his beginning till today, with radical ideas he is not afraid to defend and a knack for receiving media attention for it, but quite realist in the inner-party politics if one looks closely. He seems to get some presence on TV, even if a polarizing one, at least from heasrsays (not being in France myself).
He got nominateds spokeperson for the candidate Segolene Royal, on track for higher functions.
Time will tell.
And no, he is not an ENA guy (he failed the selection) That makes 2 with Sarkozy, what is wrong with France?

La répartie est dans l'escalier. Elle revient de suite.
by lacordaire on Mon Jan 15th, 2007 at 05:30:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
things on the people when a referendum is policy or has been promised. Politicians should do their best to explain something and then let the people decide. If they cannot explain it well enough or it is not in the interest of the people then it will be rejected. Rather than try to secretly push this rejected document through, it is time to rework it and then se if it is more popular. The now very large EU remains an organization where the lowest common denominator remains the only option that can be accepted. If politicians do not like this state of affairs then it is time they started fighting to convince their electorates of what they want.  
by observer393 on Mon Jan 15th, 2007 at 12:00:53 AM EST
There's no way to avoid at least some referendums: Ireland will have to have one for a start.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Jan 15th, 2007 at 06:45:51 AM EST
I suspected as much. Thanks for confirming it.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Jan 15th, 2007 at 10:21:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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