Sie lesen aktuell unserer Archiv. Die aktuelle Webseite befindet sich unter:
You are currently reading our archive. The current webseite is located at:

IEP Lunch Debate with Dr. Angelica SCHWALL-DÜREN: “How to Proceed with the EU Constitutional Process?”

Dr. Mathias Jopp, Director of the IEP; Dr. Angelica Schwall-Düren, MP

The consti­tution is not dead. This was the assessment with which Dr. Schwall-Düren, MP, Deputy Chair of the SPD Bundestag Faction, opened this IEP Lunch Debate on “How to Proceed with the EU Consti­tu­tional Process”. There still exists in Europe a signif­icant interest in the imple­men­tation of the goals of the consti­tu­tional treaty. Therefore, among the prior­ities of the German Council Presi­dency is giving the consti­tu­tional process new impetus. Even though the problems are unlikely to be resolved in the first half of 2007, the federal government could draft a kind of Road Map for further progress. In the view of Schwall-Düren, the federal government finds itself in a dilemma: On the one hand, one can only come to solutions if one inten­sively discusses different options with European partners, but on the other hand, too much publicity of such delib­er­a­tions contributes to their being prema­turely “discussed to death”. Schwall-Düren catego­rized the large number of proposals and consid­er­a­tions according to eight models and evaluated them as follows:

1.       Giving up the consti­tu­tional project and relying on Nice, something that, given the deficiencies of the Nice Treaty, holds the danger of the inability to act in an enlarged Union.

2.       The contin­u­ation of the ratifi­cation process and ratifying the treaty in as many countries as possible with the goal of placing increased pressure on countries that have not yet done so.

3.       Extensive renego­ti­ation, though it is unclear whether these would have a “better” result than the current consti­tu­tional treaty.

4.       The imple­men­tation of individual consti­tu­tional treaty reforms within existing primary law (cherry picking). This, however, would bring similar problems as an extensive renego­ti­ation. It would additionally result in the danger of allowing forces that support a strength­ening of inter­gov­ern­mental elements to better assert themselves.

5.       The intro­duction of opt-out regula­tions. However, the reasons for rejection in France and the Nether­lands were so different that it would be difficult to find individual elements to include in such opt-out regulations.

6.       Limiting the consti­tution to the first two parts, while the third part must be rewritten or replaced by the Treaty of Nice. Here, however, there would be the danger that the general population would view this as a “trick” to rescue an already rejected consti­tution, and accep­tance of the document would decrease even more.

7.       Revis­iting the model of a core Europe. There would however remain the question of whether such a core Europe without France and the Nether­lands could function at all.

8.       Adding to the consti­tution a protocol on national and social identity, above all in order to counter the concerns in France and the Netherlands.

Having considered the many proposals and objec­tions, Ms. Schwall-Düren came to the conclusion that the most sensible strategy would include a combi­nation of a contin­u­ation of the ratifi­cation process (Point 2) and the passage of a protocol on national and social identity (Point 8) in order to provide the starting point for a renewed attempt at ratifi­cation in France.

In the following discussion, the question was raised whether such a protocol would not provoke additional resis­tance, especially in Great Britain where there are funda­men­tally different concep­tions of the roll of the welfare state than in France. An additional point brought into the discussion was the possi­bility of calling a new, directly elected consti­tu­tional convention. Another proposal was aimed at excluding the extensive and heavily criti­cized part three from the primary law and catego­rizing it under a new legal framework according to the French model of loi organique.

In the end it was made clear that all of these strategy proposals first require a clari­fi­cation of the situation concerning the contin­u­ation of the consti­tu­tional process in France.

By: Dr. Daniel Göler