Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Nature of the European agreements

The ECSC, the EEC and Euratom Treaties are signed by independent states. They fall under international law. Those have lead to the establishment of institutions and laws which are distinguished from those of Member States.

The fact that the above mentioned Treaties are signed and ratified by Member States means that each of the States carries obligations, under the Treaties to enact into law, each within its territory, to be harmonious to the Community law. Thus each State's constitution must allow such changes to take place. In countries whose cnstitutions or legislations did not allow that, appropriate constitutional or legislations had to be made. The Court of Justice treats the European Community Treaties as creating "a new legal order". we will cover that in future articles.

The Constitution as well as the Treaties do not force Member States to abandon their laws merely because of their membership in the Union. The Constitution of Europe creates a balance of values and interests to prevent the fear of Member States to be overtaken or become powerless. In fact Art.1,1 of the proposed constitution states clearly that "Member States confer competences to attain objectives they have in common." The common objectives of Member States are expressed in Article 2 of the proposed constitution, it reads:"The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. These values are common to Member States..."

As far as the objectives of the Union is concerned, Art.3,1 reads:"the well-being of its peoples"; freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers, and single market where competiton is free and undestorted (see Art.1,2)' "to balance economic growth, a social market economy, highly competitive and aiming at full employment and social progress, and within high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environmet. It shall promote scientific and technological advance (Art.1,3). It shall combat social exclusion and discrimination, and shall promote social justice and protection, equality between women and men, solidarity between generations and protection of children's rights. It shall promote economic, social and territorial cohesion, and solidarity among Member States (Art.3,3).

The prposed constitution addresses the cultural and linguistic diversity among Member States. Art 3,3 reads: The Union shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity...", respects "the national identities" of Member States, "inherent their fundamental structures, political and constitutional, inclusive of regional and local self-government". "It shall respect their essential State functions, including those for insuring the territorial integrity of the State, and for maintaining law and order and safeguarding internal security." (Art.5,1).

In future articles, I'll discuss in further details, the application of these priciples as described by the proposed constitution.

P.S. The European Union Parliament has just passed a resolution in favour of the proposed constitution. It will be submitted to a "series of make-or-break referendums starting next month in the twenty-five nation bloc." see the N.Y.Times, January 13, 2005. The ratification process is expected to take two to three years. I mentioned in a previous article that the proposed constitution must be ratified in every European Union Member State before it takes effect. So far the Parliaments of Hungary and Lithuania have already ratified the constituion. The two nations have joined the EU in May, 2004.

Gabriel Sawma

Copyright 2005 by Gabriel Sawma - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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