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TEAM Press Statement 29.10.04


On 29 October the leaders of the EU countries signed the "Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe" and after that it is up to all the EU countries to decide upon it. The Constitution grants to the EU significant characteristics of a state, such as flag, anthem, army, currency, legal precedence and personality, a motto and a national day, all combined with a foreign policy monopoly and the right to further its powers without consent of the national parliaments. Ever more legislation for the EU states will emanate from the EU Commission.

This project has not been called for by the peoples of Europe. There have been two major streams of criticism of it.

A move towards a democratic Federation for Europe like the USA or Germany can be criticised as to the need for such a project and for the naïve belief that such a state can be reconcilable with real democracy for the foreseeable future. For that would require a broad common political debate among its citizens. That in turn would require a common language, common media and a community solidarity across Europe that cannot realistically be expected within this century at least.

Who really wants this and what would be gained by such a massive destruction of European diversity and dynamics? The European integrationist project is already reducing the debate on the future in all EU countries into disputes as to the speed and extent of the EU's growing powers and their reduction of the powers of national parliaments and electorates.

The second stream of criticism is the criticism that the Constitution is an unacceptable promoter of right wing or left wing politics. This seeming paradox is caused by the fact that the EU Constitution is not politically neutral when it comes to ideology, as a proper democratic Constitution should be. At its core is an historically unique combination of certain versions of Left and Right policies that some have described as including the worst of both worlds. The EU supports a huge bureaucracy that seeks to regulate every product and extend its legislative control into ever more areas of life. At the same time the EU promotes the interests of the largest European-based transnational companies. The Constitution's provisions for free movement of capital between the EU and the rest of the world aim to assist these in moving to where wages are low and environmental policies are weak, and the extensive harmonising of products is aimed at giving them advantages of scale.

Controversial issues of Left and Right and modern disputes over growth versus environmental protection and the like - should be left to ongoing debate amongst the peoples of Europe, not fixed as constitutional imperatives in a document that will be virtually impossible to change on such fundamentals if it should be ratified.

We, the undersigned, think that a review of the existing treaties of the European Union is highly desirable, but this present effort has unfortunately failed. However, it has brought the good with it that referendums will be held in several countries, which can stimulate a proper debate on the future of Europe, especially if the referendums are fair, with equal resources and media access for both views. Those EU leaders who have rejected to hold a referendum up to now can still change their minds an allow their citizens to take part in this vital debate and decision. And it is an excellent opportunity for the other countries of Europe "whether applicants to join the Union or not, to start a freer and broader debate that can influence those struggling with the paragraphs of the proposed Constitution.

Trying to start an all-European debate is the more necessary, since it at present is possible that the proposed EU Constitution is rejected somewhere, and in that case, the Constitution is dead. This is because the treaty cannot come into force for any EU country unless it comes into force for all. Historically, this principle has been poorly respected by some EU-leaders, who instead have arranged second referendums on losing EU-treaties in countries that turned them down, adding some non binding declaration or other to persuade the voters to change their minds. A people's democratic vote should be respected. If this happens this time, a "No" should mean "No", and no such re-runs should be attempted.

The rejection of the Constitution in any EU country will provide an excellent opportunity to stop and think a while. What is the great hurry to have an EU State Constitution? What we really need is time for a thorough and broad debate amongst our peoples to bring forth a vision, preferably many visions, of the future. Such a pan-European popular debate should examine the ways and means to a truly popular and non-elitist structure for European co-operation, applying the basic principles of democracy. The outcome may be something wholly incompatible with the present EU structures, or it may be something the EU can develop into in a considered way. That is however a second stage in this necessary debate. What is needed is public discussion on something other that the fait-accompli of this EU Constitution, drawn up by a tiny handful of Europe's top politicians and bureaucrats.

>We appeal to the peoples of the EU countries that are holding referendums to vote against the proposed EU Constitution. We ask the governments in those countries that have not yet agreed to hold referendums to join the other countries in doing so. And we appeal to political leaders in the rest of Europe, whether EU applicants or not, to encourage a vision of their countries™ future that goes beyond whether they should join the present EU or not. In that way we can create time and space for a proper public debate on Europe's future and the best way to encourage real international co-operation on our continent in this dynamic modern world.

Signed by

Anthony Coughlan, secretary, National Platform - Ireland

Hans Lindqvist, chair, EU-critical network of the Centre Party - Sweden

Roger Cole, chair, Peace and Neutrality Alliance - Ireland

Denis Anderson, Chairman, Campaign against Euro-federalism - United Kingdom

Nicu Bazga, co-ordinator Attac - Rumania

Leopoldo Salqui, Another Democracy is Possible - Spain

Lukas Reimann, LeaderYoung4Fun - Switzerland

Ulla Klötzer, chair, Alternative to EU - Finland

Normunds Grostins, chair, Movement for Independence - Latvia

Carl Schlyter, EU-parliamentarian, The Green Party - Sweden

Antti Pesonen, chair, League for Free Finland - Finland

Ole Krarup, EU-Parliamentarian, People's Movement against the EU - Denmark

Mark Croucher, Secretary, United Kingdom Independence Party - Uinted Kingdom

29 October 2004