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Heathcoat-Amory: A constitution or a simplification?

Speech to the European Convention

The aim of any constitution is to describe 'who does what' and where power resides. People will look at Part 1 for a clear division of powers between the Union and Member States. They will be disappointed.

 

If the reader looks at Article 12 he will see policy areas like transport, energy, social policy and public health described as "shared competences". This is hardly a clear division of powers.

 

Also, the list is described as being only the "principal areas". So there may be other "shared competences" buried in Part 2 of the text.

 

This is really no guide at all and certainly does not act as a check or limit on this new Union which is called into being by this constitution.

 

It may be replied that the draft constitution has to describe the present situation in the existing treaties, which is messy. This is not true. There are some very radical new powers given to the Union. For instance, Article 13 says, "The Union shall coordinate the economic policies of member states". There is nothing like this in the existing treaties: it is a huge new power for the Union.

 

Also, Article 11 (2) gives the Commission exclusive competence to represent member states in international agreements concerning all internal, domestic policies such as intellectual property rights and crucial justice matters. Again, this goes way beyond the existing situation.

 

I and others have tabled amendments to give a clearer division of separability, as we tried to do in Working Group V, whose conclusions have been largely ignored.

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