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Democrat September 2007 (Number 104)

Former German President says - * EU Constitution is ever greater centralisation"

former German President Herzog

"It is true that we are experiencing an ever greater, inappropriate centralisation of powers away from the Member States and towards the EU. The German Ministry of Justice has compared the legal acts adopted by the Federal Republic of Germany between 1998 and 2004 with those adopted by the European Union in the same period. Results: 84 percent come from Brussels, with only 16 percent coming originally from Berlin ... Against the fundamental principle of the separation of powers, the essential European legislative functions lie with the members of the executive ... The figures stated by the German Ministry of Justice make it quite clear. By far the large majority of legislation valid in Germany is adopted by the German Government in the Council of Ministers, and not by the German Parliament ... And so the question arises whether Germany can still be referred to unconditionally as a parliamentary democracy at all, because the separation of powers as a fundamental constituting principle of the constitutional order in Germany has been cancelled out for large sections of the legislation applying to this country ... The proposed draft Constitution does not contain the possibility of restoring individual competencies to the national level as a centralisation brake. Instead, it counts on the same one-way street as before, heading towards ever greater centralisation ... Most people have a fundamentally positive attitude to European integration. But at the same time, they have an ever increasing feeling that something is going wrong, that an untransparent, complex, intricate, mammoth institution has evolved, divorced from the factual problems and national traditions, grabbing ever greater competencies and areas of power; that the democratic control mechanisms are failing: in brief, that it cannot go on like this."

* Former German President Roman Herzog, article on the EU Constitution,
jointly written with L├╝der Gerken, Welt Am Sonntag, 14 January 2007