They Said it: Words of other EU leaders expose Britain's lies over the new constitution


August 21, 2007 19:54 | by Brian Denny

It will not surprise most readers that the new version of the EU constitution is almost exactly the same as the original constitution rejected by French and Dutch voters two years ago.

Only 10 out of 250 proposals in the new treaty are different from the proposals in the original constitution. In other words, 96 per cent of the text - which is only officially available in French - is the same.

Yet new Labour ministers are increasing acting like medieval obscurantist priests, first by denying this obvious fact and then refusing to produce an official English translation of the text until after Parliament rises for the summer in mid-October.

However, in recent weeks, almost all EU leaders have stressed that the "new" reform treaty is the same as the old EU constitution.

While Britain's Europe Minister Jim Murphy claims that "the reform treaty will differ fundamentally from the constitutional treaty in its substance," German Chancellor Angela Merkel says: "The substance of the Constitution is preserved. That is a fact."

While the British government claims to have an "opt-out" from the Charter of Fundamental Rights, Swedish Prime Minister Frederick Reinfeldt says: "It was important for the Swedish government to keep the charter legally binding, which now is the case. The UK accepted this. It should be stressed that the UK was given a clarification, not an opt-out."

And so it goes on. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Zapatero admits: "We have not let a single substantial point of the constitutional treaty go."

He says: "It is, without a doubt, much more than a treaty. This is a project of foundational character, a treaty for a new Europe."

European communications commissioner Margot Wallstrom gaily admits: "It's essentially the same proposal as the old constitution."

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen says: "The good thing is that all the symbolic elements are gone and that which really matters - the core - is left."

Czech President Vaclav Klaus says that "only cosmetic changes have been made and the basic document remains the same."

Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern says: "They haven't changed the substance - 90 per cent of it is still there."

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos Moratinos says: "I believe that 98 per cent of the content of what we consider the substance of the constitutional treaty, is to be found in the future EU treaty. The wrapping has been changed, but not the content."

He went on to say: "Legal primacy has been saved with a declaration. The Charter of Fundamental Rights has a binding character and, if one goes over all the essential points, it's all still there."

EU commissioner Louis Michel also wrote that the new treaty is "an indispensable instrument for the pursuit of the European project and certainly not an end in itself." The treaty, he wrote, "takes up the essence of the constitutional project."

In order to help Gordon Brown out of this jam, former Italian prime minister Giuliano Amato admits that EU leaders had "decided that the document should be unreadable," explaining that this would allow Brown to present the text to Parliament and say: "Look, you see, it's absolutely unreadable, it's the typical Brussels treaty, nothing new, no need for a referendum."

The other ploy that the British government is using is to claim that the new "treaty" contains a gaggle of opt-outs, opt-ins, emergency brakes and other "safeguards."

However, most of these are not new and were in the original version of the constitution, on which the government promised a referendum.

These "safeguards" are designed to distract from the really big change in the home affairs field proposed by the constitution, which is to give the European Union's own European Court of Justice full jurisdiction over justice, policing and other areas.

Labour MP Gisela Stuart, who was involved in the commission that drew up the constitution, is among the many MPs demanding a referendum.

"Given that Gordon Brown is committed to the even greater participation of people in decision-making, I think the case is even stronger now," she says.

The GMB has recently come out in favour of a referendum, while RMT, the T&G section of UNITE and UNISON are among the unions which oppose the treaty.

This constitution is designed to give the EU the constitutional form of a state, owing obedience to its laws and loyalty to its authority. It would transfer more powers to the EU and establish law-making powers over 50 new areas of policy.

The non-elected commission would get the monopoly of proposing EU laws in these new areas. In other words, an oligarchy made up of faceless Eurocrats and the Council of Ministers would make binding laws for over 500 million people without a mandate to do so.

Such measures would represent a significant shift back to the pre-democratic ideas of feudalism, which fell out of favour following the enlightenment and the rise of rationalism. Now who voted for that?

Brian Denny is active in Trade Unions Against the EU Constitution. TUAEUC produces a regular round-up with links to press stories on EU affairs. He can be contacted at this email<> This article first appeared in the Morning Star The full English translation of the "new" EU constitution can be read at this website

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