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Last Updated: Monday, 21 June, 2004, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
Excerpts: Europe's draft constitution
The following are excerpts from the draft European Union constitutional treaty, including amendments agreed by EU leaders at a summit in Brussels on 18 June 2004.

Preamble

...Drawing inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, from which have developed the universal values of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, democracy, equality, freedom and the rule of law.

Believing that Europe, reunited after bitter experiences, intends to continue along this path of civilisation, progress and prosperity, for the good of all its inhabitants, including the weakest and most deprived...

Convinced that, while remaining proud of their own national identities and history, the peoples of Europe are determined to transcend their ancient divisions, and, united in an ever closer fashion, to forge a common destiny,

[members of the European Convention... have agreed as follows:]

Part 1 - Definition and objectives of the union

Establishment of the Union:

Reflecting the will of the citizens and States of Europe to build a common future, this Constitution establishes the European Union, on which the member states confer competences to attain objectives they have in common. The Union shall co-ordinate the policies by which the member states aim to achieve these objectives, and shall exercise in the Community way the competences they confer on it.

The Union shall be open to all European States which respect its values and are committed to promoting them together.

The Union's values:

The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the member states in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between men and women prevail.

Relations between the Union and the Member States:

The Union shall respect the equality of member states before the Constitution as well as their national identities, inherent in their fundamental structures, political and constitutional, inclusive of regional and local self-government. It shall respect their essential state functions, including for ensuring the territorial integrity of the state, and for maintaining law and order and safeguarding internal security...

Legal personality:

The Union shall have legal personality.

Fundamental rights:

The Union shall recognise the rights, freedoms and principles set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights which constitutes the second part of this constitution...

Fundamental principles:

The limits of Union competences are governed by the principle of conferral. The use of Union competences is governed by the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality...

Competences not conferred on the Union in the Constitution remain with the Member States...

Union law:

The Constitution, and law adopted by the Union's Institutions in exercising competences conferred on it, shall have primacy over the law of the Member States...

The common foreign and security policy:

The Union's competence in matters of common foreign and security policy shall cover all areas of foreign policy and all questions relating to the Union's security, including the progressive framing of a common defence policy, which might lead to a common defence.

Member states shall actively and unreservedly support the Union's common foreign and security policy in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity and shall comply with the acts adopted by the Union in this area. They shall refrain from action contrary to the Union's interests or likely to impair its effectiveness...

The Union's institutions:

European Parliament:

The European Parliament shall be composed of representatives of the Union's citizens. They shall not exceed 750 in number. Representation of citizens shall be degressively proportional, with a minimum threshold of six members per member state. No member state shall be allocated more than 96 seats.

European Council President:

The European Council shall elect its President, by qualified majority, for a term of two and a half years, renewable once...

The President of the European Council shall chair it and drive forward its work. In co-operation with the President of the Commission, and on the basis of the work of the General Affairs Council, he shall ensure proper preparation and continuity. He shall endeavour to facilitate cohesion and consensus within the European Council. He shall present a report to the European Parliament after each of its meetings.

The President of the European Council shall in that capacity ensure, at his level, the external representation of the Union on issues concerning its Common Foreign and Security Policy, without prejudice to the responsibilities of the Minister for Foreign Affairs.

The President of the European Council may not hold a national mandate.

The Council of Ministers:

... Except where the Constitution provides otherwise, decisions of the Council shall be taken by qualified majority...

Qualified majority:

A qualified majority shall be defined as at least 55% of the members of the council, comprising at least 15 of them and representing member states comprising 65% of the population of the union.

The European Commission:

The Commission shall consist of a number of members including its President and the Union Minister of Foreign Affairs corresponding to two-thirds of the number of member states, unless the European Council, acting unanimously, decides to alter this figure. They shall be selected among the nationals of the member states on the basis of a system of equal rotation between the member states.

The President of the European Commission:

Taking into account the elections to the European Parliament and after having held the appropriate consultations, the European Council, acting by a qualified majority, shall propose to the European Parliament a candidate for President of the Commission. This candidate shall be elected by the European Parliament by a majority of its members. If he or she does not obtain the required majority, the European Council, acting by a qualified majority, shall within one month proposed a new candidate, who shall be elected by the European Parliament following the same procedure.

The Foreign Minister:

The European Council, deciding by qualified majority, with the agreement of the president of the Commission, shall appoint the Union Minister of Foreign Affairs...

The Union Minister of Foreign Affairs shall conduct the Union's common foreign and security policy. He or she shall contribute by his or her proposals to the development of that policy, which he or she shall carry out as mandated by the Council. The same shall apply to the common security and defence policy...

The Union Minister of Foreign Affairs shall be one of the Vice-Presidents of the Commission. He or she shall ensure the consistency of the Union's external action...

In fulfilling his or her mandate, the Union Minister of Foreign Affairs shall be assisted by a European External Action Service. This service shall work in co-operation with the diplomatic services of the member states...

Specific provisions for implementing common foreign and security policy:

The European Union shall conduct a common foreign and security policy, based on the development of mutual political solidarity among member states, the identification of questions of general interest and the achievement of an ever-increasing degree of convergence of member states' actions.

The European Council shall identify the Union's strategic interests and determine the objectives of its common foreign and security policy...

Specific provisions for implementing the common security and defence policy:

The common security and defence policy shall be an integral part of the common foreign and security policy... [It] shall include the progressive framing of a common Union defence policy. This will lead to a common defence when the European Council, acting unanimously, so decides...

If a member state is the victim of armed aggression on its territory, the other member states shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all the means in their power, in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. This shall not prejudice the specific character of the security and defence policy of certain Member States.

Commitments and co-operation in this area shall be consistent with commitments under Nato, which, for those states which are members of it, remains the foundation of their collective defence and the forum for its implementation...

Part 2 - The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the Union

... It is necessary to strengthen the protection of fundamental rights in the light of changes in society, social progress and scientific and technological developments, by making those rights more visible in a Charter...

Workers and employers, or their respective organisations, have, in accordance with Union law and national laws and practices, the right to negotiate and conclude collective agreements at the appropriate levels and, in cases of conflicts of interest, to take collective action to defend their interests, including strike action...

Part 3 - The Policies and Functioning of the Union

...

Fiscal provisions:

A European law or framework law of the Council shall lay down measures for the harmonisation of legislation concerning turnover taxes, excise duties and other forms of indirect taxation provided that such harmonisation is necessary for the functioning of the internal market and to avoid distortion of competition...

Social policy:

... The Union shall take into account requirements linked to the promotion of a high level of employment, the guarantee of adequate social protection, the fight against social exclusion and a high level of education and protection of human health.

Policies on border checks, asylum and immigration:

...The Union shall develop a common policy on asylum and temporary protection with a view to offering appropriate status to any third-country national requiring international protection...

Judicial co-operation on criminal matters:

...In order to combat crimes affecting the financial interests of the Union, a European Law of the Council may establish a European Public Prosecutor's Office from Eurojust...

The European Public Prosecutor's Office shall be responsible for investigating, prosecuting and bringing to judgement, where appropriate in liaison with Europol, the perpetrators of, and accomplices in, offences against the Union's financial interests...




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