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Remember the EU consitution? It's been signed
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Kerrigan
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Dec 13, 2007, 10:23 AM
 
EU leaders sign new constitutional pact - Times Online

What do you think about this? The Sun sums it up thus: "Never have so few decided so much for so many". Is this constitutional pact consistent with democratic practices? It brings to mind Aristotle's question, Is democratic behaviour the sort of behaviour which democracies like, or is it behaviour which preserves democracies?
     
peeb
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Dec 13, 2007, 12:49 PM
 
This is the same one that was voted down by the peoples of Europe.
     
TETENAL
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Dec 13, 2007, 12:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by Kerrigan View Post
"Never have so few decided so much for so many"
First, of all, all member countries' parliaments have to ratify the treaty before it comes into effect.

And while EU council decisions now have no longer to be made unanimous, they need the vote of at least 55 % of the member countries with at least 65% of the EU population. So I don't follow the argument that now "so few decide for so many". The new treaty also strengthens the role of the EU parliament. So the EU will become more democratic than before.

And countries can now voluntarily leave the union. So if the UK doesn't like it, it can just go.
     
Kerrigan  (op)
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Dec 13, 2007, 06:35 PM
 
Voters also understand that the constitutional pact alters the sovereignty of their respective states, in as much as it removes their currently held power to veto measures, it creates a foreign secretary which will speak on behalf of member states in the UN and has the power to sign treaties, it creates a strong executive office which sets the agenda of EU policy- rather than the executives of each member state- and it creates a court of appeals which has jurisprudence over national courts on issues such as immigration.

I never said the treaty was ratified, I said it was signed, which it has been.

Voters understand that, to all intents and purposes, this enhances the sovereignty of the EU at the expense of the sovereignty of member states. Regardless of the view you take on this, it has been rejected via referendum in the two states in which the matter was put to a vote (France and NL). Part of the reason for this ill will towards the constitution is that it seems to be putting the EU further down the path to the "Americanization" of Europe, a process by which individual countries lose their autonomy and individuality through liberalized trade and immigration. Of course, there are various protectionist measures in the constitution which will anger such states as the UK who like to remain competitive in the global economy.

So as you suggested, I think it would make perfect sense for the UK to exit the EU; staying out seems to have worked fairly well for Norway and Switzerland. Then the UK could still be signatories to various free trade pacts with the rest of Europe, which is all the EU should be anyways.
     
peeb
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Dec 13, 2007, 06:39 PM
 
I'm interested in what you mean by 'should' in that last phrase.
     
macintologist
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Dec 13, 2007, 06:42 PM
 
One thing that's wrong with the EU Constitution is thing:

per wikipedia
Length and complexity
Critics of the TCE point out that, compared to some existing national constitutions (such as the 4,600-word United States Constitution), it is very long, at over 160,000 words in its English version, including declarations and protocols. It is also written in technical legal language which has proved difficult even for specialists to understand, and highly inaccessible to the general public.
Proponents say that the document nevertheless remains considerably shorter and less complex than the existing set of treaties that it consolidates, but even the drafters of the CT have suggested that they were wrong to attempt, at the same time and in one document, both construction of a constitution and consolidation of all previous treaties, regardless of the nature of their provisions. Had they not done so, the TCE could have been much shorter, simpler and easier to grasp. Defenders of the length of the document say it is not an overarching general constitution, but a development of the previous treaties.
Constitutions need to be short and easy to understand.
     
peeb
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Dec 13, 2007, 06:54 PM
 
That's a little deceptive though. While the US Constitution as a document is short, subsequent interpretation and constitutional law is not. The EU constitution contains much of the type of depth that you only find in constitutional court decisions in the US. The declarations alone are short.
     
Kerrigan  (op)
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Dec 13, 2007, 08:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by peeb View Post
I'm interested in what you mean by 'should' in that last phrase.
shall, v.
...
b. should be: ought according to appearances to be, presumably is. Also, ought according to expectation to be, presumably will be (cf. sense 18a).
1605 SHAKES. Macb. I. iii. 45 You should be Women, And yet your Beards forbid me to interprete That you are so. 1631 HEYWOOD 2nd Pt. Fair Maide West IV. i, Pursue the Ruffin,..He should be Captain of those bloody theevs, That haunts our mountains. 1661 COSIN Corr. (Surtees) II. 36, I saw a letter to-day which tells us that the great Presbyterian preacher in London is silenced; but the letter names him not. I guesse it should be Mr. Baxter.

Anyways, within the context of that sentence, I'm saying that I, as well as many others, have expectations that a European Union should, or ought to be, an institution maintaining free-trade between a commonwealth of tightly linked democracies. If Europeans want to turn the EU into a super-state (which is doubtful, parce qu’ils sont voté « non » au référendum) then that is fine, but I disagree with what Brown and his "B-team" of second rate cabinet members have done.
( Last edited by Kerrigan; Dec 13, 2007 at 08:20 PM. )
     
peeb
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Dec 13, 2007, 08:30 PM
 
So, when you say 'should', you mean 'I want'?
     
Kerrigan  (op)
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Dec 13, 2007, 08:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by peeb View Post
So, when you say 'should', you mean 'I want'?
No, I meant "ought according to expectation". Do you have anything to say about the content of what I posted, rather than make failed attempts to criticize semantical aspects of it? I'm open to an actual debate.
     
peeb
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Dec 13, 2007, 08:44 PM
 
Should, according to your expectation, is the point I am making, I was wondering whether you meant anything but what you wanted. I don't know on what basis you think the EU should be what you describe, other than that you would like it to be that way. Justify why you want that, is what I am asking.
     
macintologist
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Dec 13, 2007, 10:23 PM
 
If I started a country my constitution would look like this:

Anybody can do whatever they want so long as they do not violate the rights of others.
That's my Constitution. That's it. Nothing more.
     
peeb
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Dec 13, 2007, 10:35 PM
 
Yes, that sounds great, but you would immediately be bogged down by issues of what the rights of others are, wouldn't you?
     
monkeybrain
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Dec 14, 2007, 01:20 AM
 
It's probably true that the European states will lose some degree of national sovereignty with this treaty. But looking long-term, this sort of thing needs to happen. Within 100 years, maybe even 50, the rise of countries like China, India and others in Asia and even South America is going to make the world very much more competitive. By creating a closer Europe, which will sacrifice some differences between members, the greater ideals of those members can be maintained.
     
OreoCookie
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Dec 14, 2007, 03:49 AM
 
Something people don't understand is that what is called `European Constitution' is actually a contract similar to the ones that make up the EU. However, the proposed treaty is already much, much, much shorter and more concise than the various contracts it supersedes. The other misconception people have is that the EU suddenly has lots of powers it hasn't had before, this isn't true either.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
OreoCookie
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Dec 14, 2007, 05:04 AM
 
Originally Posted by macintologist View Post
If I started a country my constitution would look like this:
That's my Constitution. That's it. Nothing more.
The thing is that the purpose of laws is to regulate when the rights/interests of several individuals collide.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
Weyland-Yutani
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Dec 16, 2007, 12:45 AM
 
Amusingly PM Brown wasn't present at the signing of the Lisabon Treaty because he had something better to do

That is funny on so many levels.

On the treaty itself:

It isn't the EU constitution, but it contains many things that were in the EU constitution.

It still has to be ratified.

Life goes on and the EU is still the EU.

“Building Better Worlds”
     
Sven G
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Dec 17, 2007, 10:09 AM
 
Today's politics, after all, is rather nothing more than a "demo-pluto-cleptocracy", etc. etc.: i.e., "government" (?) by a mediatically-moronised "people" (nothing to do with the idealisations of the past), by the improperly and excessively rich, and thus by a class - pardon, a mafiosi-like caste - of institutional thieves.

What a beautiful world...

So, where is "true" democracy, today?

The freedom of all is essential to my freedom. - Mikhail Bakunin
     
peeb
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Dec 17, 2007, 12:06 PM
 
Cuba.
     
Buckaroo
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Dec 17, 2007, 04:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by TETENAL View Post

And countries can now voluntarily leave the union. So if the UK doesn't like it, it can just go.
Is the UK part of the EU? The reason I ask, is when I bought something on ebay from a UK person, they would not take the EU Dollar.

If they are now part of the EU, do they have to accept the EU Dollar, is it optional?
     
peeb
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Dec 17, 2007, 05:54 PM
 
The Euro currency zone is a subset of the EU. Not all members use the Euro.
     
TETENAL
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Dec 17, 2007, 05:58 PM
 
There is no "EU Dollar". The currency is called "Euro" and uses this sign: €

Yes, the UK is part of the EU (is Wikipedia broken for you?), but it is not in the so called "Euro-Zone", ie. it did not adopt the Euro as currency. That's still the Pound Sterling: £. Only a subset of the EU countries adopted the Euro. Another reason why it is wrong to call it "EU Dollar".
     
nonhuman
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Dec 17, 2007, 06:02 PM
 
Where is this 'EU Dollar' thing coming from? I've heard several people say it lately. Not all forms of currency are called dollars!

Edit: TETENAL beat me to it...
     
peeb
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Dec 17, 2007, 06:07 PM
 
Incidentally, some touristy shops in London do accept the Euro, and many companies do business in Euros with Euro bank accounts in the UK - you are right that they do not have to accept the Euro, but some places choose to.
     
nonhuman
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Dec 17, 2007, 06:12 PM
 
Hell, I'll accept payments in Euros and I do business in the US...
     
Sven G
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Dec 18, 2007, 11:29 AM
 
Europe should be "done" from the bottom up, not in the Bruxelles-based bureaucrats' top-down, financial-economy-based way!

Exactly - just to make an example - as Garibaldi didn't really create the "Italians", but only a formal Italy: despite all his great ideals, the result only was a formally united country, with a corrupted political class.

Idem for other countries, of course...

That's why there isn't yet any "real" unity: you just can't create unity from merely economical and financial bases.

Well, unity can always be forced - but that is historically a failure, to say the least.

Personally, I would rather prefer a worldwide, federally-based "unity", from the bottom up (i.e., really wished by civil society), rather than imposed by decrees and constitutions in a top-down manner...
( Last edited by Sven G; Dec 18, 2007 at 11:42 AM. )

The freedom of all is essential to my freedom. - Mikhail Bakunin
     
   
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