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European Constitution Moves Forward

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Issue: 19 Section: International News Geography: Europe

June 25, 2004

European Constitution Moves Forward

The European Union is continuing its inexorable move towards the signing of a European Constitution despite conflict over what form of government the super-state will assume. France and Germany, the two economic powerhouses seen to hold the most sway within the Union, are pushing for a Federal-style constitution, where decisions are taken by a simple majority vote within Parliament. Other more reluctant members, such as Great Britain, are unwilling to hand over sovereign power to the European Parliament and favour a constitution that gives individual member states veto rights over legislation.

Federalists argue that with membership in the European Union now at 25 countries, granting veto powers to any one state would render the Parliament powerless to take action. They also point out that giving equal power over legislation to Latvia and Italy would grant unfair power to small populations, while those favouring the veto-style government explain that theirs is the only way of protecting small states from Western European dominance.

Results of the recent European Parliament elections suggest, on the surface, that the general population of Europe is as leery of the Union as the vetoists. The 786-seat Parliament, whose seats are apportioned to countries by population, was largely filled by members representing anti-EU parties in the June 13th elections. EU proponents point out that, given the low poll turnout--as low as 30% in countries where electoral participation is not mandatory--it is likely that only electors opposed to the EU bothered to vote on election day.

» AFP: Enlarged EU eyes first-ever constitution at crunch summit

» European Union: The European Convention

» Western Mail: Euro constitution votes will test Blair's 'red lines'

» Wikipedia: European constitution

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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