" A SLAP IN THE FACE FOR EUROPEAN DEMOCRACY "
is how observers are describing the proposed constitutional reforms
of the EU. Rather than remediate the EU's current " democratic deficit " the reforms instead auger a move toward further " Transfer of Sovereignty " to an unaccountable class of transnational elite bureaucrats and political string-pullers. Americans should watch closely because this is the direction that NGO activists, International Law theorists, political Progressives and left-wing Democrats are attempting to take the United States.
The link seems not to be functioning so here's the full article:
Brussels rejects Giscard's blueprint for EU
By David Haworth in Brussels
The attempt to draw up a new European Union constitution suffered a serious setback yesterday when Brussels rejected the blueprint drawn up by the former French president, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing.
The European Commission said plans by M Giscard's 105-member Convention on the Future of Europe failed to give any clear answer to the question of "who does what?" Using language that in diplomatic terms was scathing, a commission statement said it was "disappointed" with the way the convention's proposals had been presented.
It added that they were "unlikely to foster the development of a consensus on these difficult institutional issues".
M Giscard's proposals, due to be presented to EU leaders in June, threaten to dilute the commission's power and its attack sets the stage for a brutal struggle before agreement is reached.
At present the plans include the appointment of a powerful EU president, with a deputy and executive office, to replace the current rotating presidency which shifts between member states every six months.
They also foresee the slimming-down of the commission, reducing its current 20 members to 13, and creation of a seven-member "bureau' within the Council of Ministers to co-ordinate the EU's work.
"Increasing the number of presidents and vice-presidents, setting up a bureau, can only bring confusion. Duplication of bureaucracies goes against common sense and against indications coming from all sides," the commission added.
Opponents see the scheme as concentrating power among the EU's larger members. At present the union has 15 members but is due to take in 10 more, mostly in eastern Europe, next year.
"This would undermine the checks and balances in place between the EU institutions," said a commission spokesman. "It could lead to unequal treatment of member states and this would jeopardise trust between them. In short, it would damage the community method, firmly based on an equilibrium between council, commission and parliament, which has been at the heart of the success of 50 years of European integration."
European leaders failed to agree at a summit in Athens last week whether the EU should have a permanent chairman or president.
Tony Blair is backing the creation of such a post, which is also supported by France and Spain. The smaller EU members are highly suspicious of the idea, as are the governments of the 10 incoming states.
Although the role of such a "president of Europe" would supposedly be confined to coordination, his or her existence would be seen as a threat to the primacy of the commission within EU decision-making.
The convention has also proposed that EU foreign policy decisions should be taken by majority voting once the EU is enlarged in 2004. But Peter Hain, the Welsh Secretary and the senior British representative on the Convention, has already rejected that out of hand.
MEPs also condemned the proposals. Elmar Brok, a senior Christian Democrat, described them as "autistic". He explained: "This is purely about reducing the powers of smaller EU countries, the commission and the European Parliament."
Monica Frassoni, co-president of the Greens group in the European Parliament, said M Giscard's proposals were "a slap in the face for European democracy".