On October 19,2004, twenty-five European leaders signed a treaty establishing the Constitution of the European Union. The Treaty is composed of four Parts: The text of the of the Constitution, the Charter of the Fundamental Rights, provisions on how the Constitution will operate and general provisions, including ratification procedures.
In addition, there are several documents attached to the Constitution. These include thirty-six protocols covering the role of the national parliaments, the voting arrangements in the European Parliament and the Council as well as treaties of ascension. Including among others, there are fifty declarations dealing with the establishment of a European External Action Service and explanations to the Charter of Fundamental Rights. The full text of the full text of the constitution could be seen on www.eurotreaties.com.
Article I-19 of the European Union’s Constitution establishes five institutions. These are: the Parliament, the Council, the Council of Ministers, the Commission and the Court of Justice.
The signing of the European Union’s Constitution was a preliminary step. National parliaments have to ratify this Treaty. Ten or more of the Union’s twenty-five countries are scheduling national referendums.
The Treaty establishing the Constitution was signed in Rome, it consolidates past treaties into a single document.
The acts of the European Union may be issued in several forms: Regulations, Directives, Decisions, Recommendations and Opinions (see case C-322/88, Grinaldi v. Fonds des Maladies Proffessionalles). In addition to these forms, there are treaties between the European Union and non-member countries which may take the forms of Associate Membership Agreement, (see article 310 of the E.C. Treaty), Commercial Agreements (ibid 133) and mixed agreements (see T.C. Hartley, the Foundation of the European Community Law 155-182, 4th ed. Oxford Uni. Press,) and then there is the separate matter of the European Community Budgetary Process (see E.C. Treaty art. 268-280.)
Paragraph 1, art. I-4 of the Constitution lists the European basic four Freedoms, these are: Free movement of Persons, Goods, Services and Capital. Those and others would be the subject of my future articles.
Gabriel Sawma, Esq.
Sawma and Soueid International Law Firm.
January 8, 2005
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