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The European Republic Policy proposals for a future constitution

By London (United Kingdom)) Stefan (London School of Economics and Political Science -LSE- Collignon and Muenchen (Germany) Centrum fuer angewandte Politikforschung -C.A.P- Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultaet Universitaet Muenchen

Abstract

Der vorliegende Beitrag beleuchtet die Moeglichkeiten einer zukuenftigen europaeischen Verfassung. (1) Der sich wandelnde internationale und europaeische Kontext erfordert es, dass eine europaeische Verfassung leistungsfaehige Strukturen fuer die Regierungsgewalt schafft. (2) Die freiwillige Kooperation und Koordination zwischen autonomen Regierungen ist wahrscheinlich nicht dazu geeignet, die europaeischen Buerger mit den kollektiven Guetern, die sie wuenschen, zu versorgen. (3) Das Subsidiaritaetsprinzip und die Erweiterung der EU erschweren das Problem. (4) Die Loesung dieses Problems bedeutet mehr Zentralisierung der politischen Entscheidungen auf europaeischer Ebene. Dies laesst sich rechtfertigen, wenn die europaeische Regierung den europaeischen Buergern in vollem Umfang rechenschaftspflichtig ist. (5) Ein gewuenschter Nebeneffekt der Schaffung einer europaeischen Regierung ist die Politisierung politischer Debatten. (6) Diese Veraenderungen sind von entscheidender Bedeutung fuer die oekonomische Steuerung der Europaeischen Waehrungsunion, da Stabilisierungspolitik zur Zentralisierung beitraegt.(7) Angenommen, konstitutioneller Konsens waere die wichtigste Grundlage fuer eine leistungsfaehige europaeische Politik, so muessten die Ratifizierungsverfahren das Aufkommen eines solchen Konsens unterstuetzen. Hier sind verschieden Modelle denkbar: (A) Die Ratifizierung der europaeischen Verfassung kann mittels nationaler Referenden erfolgen. (B) Alternativ dazu koennte die Verfassung nach einem europaweiten Referendum in Kraft treten. (C) Eine andere Option waere die Ratifizierung der Verfassung durch einen europaeischen Kongress, der aus einer gleichgrossen Anzahl nationaler und europaeischer Abgeordneter zusammengesetzt waere. (ICDUebers)'1. The changing international and European context requires that a European Constitution creates efficient structures for the governance of European collective policy goods. 2. Voluntary cooperation and coordination between autonomous governments is unlikely to provide European citizens with the collective goods they desire because of the so-called 'collective action problem'. Only a limited range of inclusive goods with network externalities will be supplied by this approach. 3. The principle of subsidiarity and the enlargement of the European Union are likely to exacerbate this problem. 4. The solution is more centralisation and conferral of European policy-making to the EU-level. But this can only be justified if a European Government (i.e. the Commission) is fully accountable to European citizens - rather than governments. Hence, the Commission must be elected by the European Parliament alone. Efficiency and legitimacy go together. 5. A desired side-effect of the creation a European Government is the politicisation of policy debates that will help to create a pan-European policy consensus. Hence, decision-making will become more efficient, as national governments are less likely to hold up the legislative process. 6. These changes are of particular relevance for the economic governance of European Monetary Union, as stabilisation policies are clearly a matter for centralisation. The Commission must take over the responsibility of defining European policies. Citizens must have the right to sanction the Commission if it does not reflect their preferences. National governments (or the European Council) cannot fulfil this function as they are not accountable to the European constituency as a whole. A final remark applies to the ratification of the Constitution. 7. Given that constitutional consensus is the most important foundation for efficient European policy-making, the ratification procedures must support the emergence of such consensus. Several models are imaginable. (1) The ratification of the European Constitution can be submitted to national referenda. But if votes are only counted at the level of member state constituencies, as has been customary in previous EU-treaty referenda (Denmark, France, Ireland, UK), this method re-enforces the communitarian honey-comb logic. The European Union will be perceived as belonging to member-states, rather than to its citizens. (2) Alternatively, the constitution could come into force after a pan-European referendum has approved it. The Constitution would automatically become valid in countries that have approved it. If this is in contradiction to national constitutions, parliamentary ratification procedures would follow after the pan-European referendum. If the population of a specific country does not vote in favour of the new constitution, it should have the right to participate nevertheless, if a minimum threshold of EU member states is reached, or to opt out. Of course, this requires appropriate procedures to deal with the opt-outs. (3) Another option would be ratification of the constitution by a European Congress, consisting of an equal number of national and European parliamentarians. This solution gives national parliaments a greater say in important European policy decisions. However, the drawback of this method is that it does not necessarily mobilize cross-border public debate, deliberation and commitment, unless it is linked to a major election, say of the European Parliament. Also, given that this method may be incompatible with national constitutions, it may have to be reserved for constitutional amendments after the new constitution has been ratified. Non-ratification of the Constitution should be treated as a voluntary withdrawal from the Union.' (author's abstract)German title: Die Europaeische Republik: politische Vorschlaege fuer eine zukuenftigen VerfassungSIGLEAvailable from Universitaet Muenchen, Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultaet, Centrum fuer angewandte Politikforschung -C.A.P-, Muenchen (DE) / FIZ - Fachinformationszzentrum Karlsruhe / TIB - Technische InformationsbibliothekDEGerman

Topics: 05J - Political science, public administration, EU, JOINING OF THE EUROPEAN UNION, EU EXPANSION, EUROPEAN INTEGRATION, EUROPEAN COOPERATION, EUROPEAN MARKET, EUROPEAN LAW, EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION, ELECTION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT, CONSTITUTION, DEMOCRACY, DEMOCRATIZATION, LEGITIMACY
Year: 2003
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Provided by: OpenGrey Repository
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