The French voted no, the Dutch voted no

by Volker Weber

And if anybody had asked the Germans, they would have voted no as well.

The EU in its current state is a "no event". Brussels is far. European directives usually mean more work, they don't make sense in a local context, and they are made by people nobody knows and nobody controls, but everybody pays for with a lot of tax money.

I am not surprised that people when asked will not vote to transfer more power to this structure.


United Europe is a brilliant idea. There are only a few flaws:
- They are 40 years late
- It's run by an not elected body
- It violates the subsidiary principle
- People are unexcited

Could it be fixed?
- Have an European president (directly elected!!!)
- cut Brussel's mandarins by 80%
- Scrap the unelected body
- Fix the money mess (agrar subsidiaries etc.)
- Foster direct releations on equivalent level (e.g. city partnerships)
- Create a constitution with less than 1000 words everybody can understand (see gappingvoid) that puts PEOPLE on the center stage

... but I suspect that won't exite people

My 2c
;-) stw

Stephan H. Wissel, 2005-06-02 06:22

This constitution was the chance to make things not perfect but much better. People voted against current european politics but missed a chance to change it...

Hubertus Amann, 2005-06-02 08:38

It was really funny to see the politicians appalled faces. Now they have a idea how the usual people feel if they make decisions. Somebody said yesterday in radio the right thing: there is a ghost going round in Europe; democracy.

United Europ is in fact a good idea, but the way it's working now is crap as the constitution is. A constitution should not regulate economy or military aspects in detail it should provide a framework. But as we know this from Brussels they have build a monstrous paper without having a look outside their ivory tower; 400 articels for a constitution how can one believe that this can work?

Sven Semel, 2005-06-02 08:43

Surely the EU is a tad like our own governments just less accountable

To misquote in a UK context "The Goverment in its current state is a "no event". Westminister is far. Westminister directives usually mean more work, they don't make sense in a local context, and they are made by people nobody trusts and nobody controls, but everybody pays for with a lot of tax money.

I am not surprised that people when asked will not vote to transfer more power to this structure."

However lets not doubt the ability of those slippery souls in Brussels to worm their way around this one . . .

john mill, 2005-06-02 08:43

According to latest polls, 59% of the Germans would have voted "Ja" to the European Constitution...

Moritz Petersen, 2005-06-02 09:19

Hmm, interesting, 59% yes, 26% no and 26% don't know. Makes a total of...let's calculate 59+26+26 = 111%. Very reliable...

Sven Semel, 2005-06-02 10:13

The correct values are: 59% yes, 15% no and 26% don't know...

Hubertus Amann, 2005-06-02 10:57

one should tell this :-)

Sven Semel, 2005-06-02 11:22

i did...

Hubertus Amann, 2005-06-02 11:33

Volker, I am glad to see there was a follow up to our short chat last night... ;-)

My real question now is, where do we go from here?
or, if you prefer, after this "warning" how do we stop the nonsense and go back to practical things?

Pieterjan Lansbergen, 2005-06-02 14:33

We have not had any debate pro and con this constitution. Without it the numbers are meaningless.

Volker Weber, 2005-06-02 18:24

As long as the constitution is some hundreds of pages long, most people are not going to have read or understood it.

It needs cutting down to 2-3 pages - and put the rest in an appendix for the lawyers. Why anyone thought it was sensible to even try to vote on the current proposal is beyond me.

John Keys, 2005-06-02 18:53

I fully agree that the constitution is not as elegant a document as the US constitution, the German Grundgesetz or other national constitutions, but this is very much due to the fact that the EU is not a nation and the 'constitution' (only named so because of Giscard d'Estaing's faible for grandeur) has to and can only with those areas in which the nation states are willing to cede sovereignty. It is certainly a lot more compact and transparent than the treaties that preceded it which, in all honesty isn't saying much. But it's a step in the right direction and I'm saddened that so many people rejected it. Maybe it is also a chance to take a second swing and see whether we might not come up with something cleaner, but given the fact that many of the things demanded by the people of countries that already rejected it or probably will are mutually exclusive I somewhat doubt it. Let's not forget how long it took to come up with the current document and how many compromises had to be struck between the nation states to get it into its final shape.

Tobias Schmidt, 2005-06-02 19:11


It's too long, it's too complicated and thus it's useless as nobody can really understand it (or better what exactly it's meaning). You can call it cooperation contract or somewhat at the very end one needs a lawyer to get an idea whats behind it and exactly this shows the overall problems with the EU. From my point of view the only useful way is to throw this away, make a new one and keep it simple and do an election of all European citizens. If more than 50% say yes to this it's up and running if less than that discuss it again and do another election. That's democracy and yes this process can take several years but nobady said that this would be an easy process. It's as simple as that but of course the politicians in Brussel are in this case depending of the opinion of the people and that means a loss of power and to be honest who likes this...

Sven Semel, 2005-06-02 21:20


As I said, I'd be the last to deny that the whole thing is complicated and a little messy, but that is not (just?) because some lawyers went nuts with it, but because it is very hard to agree on a document that is acceptable to all 25 states and any document that comes out of deliberations between the nation states will inevitably have plenty of warts. The reason why, despite all the problems I see with it, I am still in favor of it is that I know what some of the current Treaties look like and that in comparison to them, the constitution is a lot cleaner and simpler already. And whether one should have called it a Constitution or 'Second Treaty of Rome' is largely one of semantics as far as its functioning in practice is concerned (though I think picking the latter would have made it a LOT easier to sell). The courts are already interpreting the current Treaties as constitutional texts and many of the things that people think are new about it (e.g. the Charter of Human Rights) were already accepted and ratified by most EU members years ago.
Your suggestion of trying it over and over again until 50% of the EU's population say yes does not seem very helpful to me if only because it would be blocked by all smaller nation states who are afraid of getting a constitution shoved down their throats by the larger nations (Germany, France, Britain, Spain and Poland, only 5 out of 25 states in total, have more than 50% of the EU population). Unfortunately, it just isn't "as easy as that". As long as there is no European demos, but merely 25 separate demoi, the EU will always be torn between the ideal of a United States of Europe (which, by the way, is hardly the ideal of a majority of European nations) and that of the current necessity to work together on an intergovernmental basis because the nation states are unwilling to cede sovereignty in some areas. The rather strange animal that is the EU governance is just a reflection of that.

Tobias Schmidt, 2005-06-03 13:14

If you cut it down to 5 pages you know what will happen: the people who vote will not even read those 5 pages...

Hubertus Amann, 2005-06-03 13:46

I agree about the fact that a simpler text would have made more sense. However a Convention representing 25 countries and dozens of parties could have hardly done better. The problem I see is that we are now stuck with the pre-Constitution situation, which is even more complex and remote from the citizens than it would be under the rejected text. Moreover, the wrong lessons will be likely drawn from the "non" and "nee", namely that we need less integration, and therefore less direct democracy at Eu level.

From a slightly different angle, I understand that the Bundesverfassung was not ratified by Bavaria, although the Freistaat accepted to abide by it anyway. Would it make sense for the EU COnstitution that some states have the possibility to follow it even if they didn't approve it?

Silvio Sandrone, 2005-06-04 23:27

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