18 July, 2004
UEF supports the European Constitution: Next round of reforms must start 2008 at the latest

UEF supports the European Constitution

- Next round of reforms must start 2008 at the latest -

The Union of European Federalists,

A. Assessment of the Constitution adopted by the Heads of States and Governments

1. Welcomes that the Heads of States and Governments of the 25 member states have come to an agreement on the European Constitution at their summit in June 2004;

2. Underlines that the adoption of this Constitution is an act of great political importance and a symbol towards the political unity of Europe;

3. Is of the opinion that the Constitution represents a considerable progress when compared to the Nice Treaty and that the European Convention made a very decisive contribution to the Constitutional process;

4. Regrets, however, that the final text of the Constitution adopted by the Heads of States and Governments falls a long way behind the Convention's draft Constitution;

5. Welcomes in particular the following achievements of the Constitution;

a. the incorporation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights thus making it legally binding,

b. the clarification of the values, principles and objectives that form the common ground for the Europeans,

c. the simplification of the legal and political foundations of the EU construction as well as the clarification of the competences of the EU,

d. the strengthening of the democratic legitimacy of the EU by giving the European Parliament the right to elect the Commission President and the co-decisionpower in most of EU legislation,

e. the creation of the post of a European Foreign Minster and a European diplomatic service,

f. new mechanisms for common activities in the field of security and defence,

g. considerable progress on justice and home affairs.

6. Nevertheless criticizes that the Constitution falls short of what is needed in many respects, mainly

a. by not abolishing the unanimity rule in many important fields where more effective decision making and thus majority voting would have been necessary, in particular in foreign, security and defence policy and for the multi-annual financial framework,

b. and by not introducing a procedure what makes the entering into force of the Constitution possible when all but one or two member states have ratified the
text.

6. Nevertheless criticizes that the Constitution falls short of what is needed in many respects, mainly

a. by not abolishing the unanimity rule in many important fields where more effective decision making and thus majority voting would have been necessary, in particular in foreign, security and defence policy and for the multi-annual financial framework,

B. Ratification of the Constitution

7. Insists on the need to make known this important move forward to the European citizens and to the parliaments of the member states, with a view to the national ratifications and especially the referenda to be held in several member states;

8. invites the European Parliament to give its assent on the Constitution before any national ratification;

9. invites the European Parliament and the national parliaments to convene a "Congress of the parliaments of the EU" to help to ensure that the Constitution enters into force;

10. asks the member states to coordinate the dates of the national ratifications by the parliaments and the peoples of the member states in order to stimulate a genuine transnational debate;

C. Federalists involvement in the ratification process

11. commits itself to actively take part in the campaign for the ratification of the Constitution;

12. calls upon the activists of the UEF constituent organisations to form a broad coalition together with elected representatives on local, regional and national levels and civil society organisations, including political parties, to promote the achievements of the Constitution;

D. Revision of the Constitution and transformation of the EU into a European Federation

13. calls upon the Heads of State and Government of the member states to

a. create a framework for a democratic and transparent public debate on the Constitution;

b. commit to convening another Convention no later than 2008 to revise the Constitution and adopt further reforms to strengthen the democratic legitimacy the Union and the effectiveness of its instruments;

c. agree that future amendments to the Constitution should be adopted by qualified majority voting rather than by unanimity;

14. repeats its demand that if only one or two member states are unable to ratify the text, the other member states should proceed nevertheless with the entering into force of the Constitution;

15. calls upon the European Parliament and the parliaments of the member states to pass political resolutions in favour of the revision of the Constitution by a new Convention no later than 2008.

Adopted by the UEF Bureau at its meeting on 18 July 2004


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