Constitution and/or democratisation ? Contributions by David Carayol (Newropeans2009) on #CitizensRoute e-tribune 06/12

On Dec. 6th #CitizensRoute initiated its second e-tribune “Constitution and/or democratisation ?“. Our guest speakers, Jens Baganz -We are Europe, David Carayol -Newropeans2009, Erik Edman -DiEM25, Yves Gernigon -PFE, and Adrian Taylor -iCAN, were invited to share and assert their position on this issue by answering namely two sub-questions among following ones :

  • 1- What do you mean by “constitution” ?
  • 2- Constitution or democratisation first? Or both and how?
  • 3- How understandable is the drafting of a constitution for the general public?
  • 4- Is a constitution compatible with 21st century principles of flexibility? What else?

David Carayol, former head of list (South West of France constituency) of Newropeans, first transeuropean political movement for the European election in 2009, and member of DiEM25, argued on the issue on sub-questions:

  • 1. What do you mean by “constitution” ?
  • 2. Constitution or democratisation first? Or both and how?

Read his arguments:

#CITIZENSROUTE E-TRIBUNES 06.12.2017: Constitution and/or democratisation ? 

What do you mean by “constitution” ?

Here are a definition and principles on a Constitution.

A Constitution is a pact passed between men and their rulers. It is because they signed this pact that men agree to obey the laws. It is through this pact that authority finds its legitimacy. This pact must protect men against injustice and arbitrariness”.

Here follow a few principles to ensure that the pact plays its protective role and that men can control it :

  1. First principle of constitutional law: a Constitution is a readable text.
  2. Second principle of constitutional law: a Constitution does not impose a policy or another, it allows the political debate without imposing the outcome.
  3. Third principle of constitutional law: a democratic Constitution is revisable
  4. Fourth principle of constitutional law: a democratic constitution guarantees against arbitrariness ensuring both separation and control of powers
  5. Fifth principle of constitutional law: a democratic Constitution is necessarily established by an independent assembly of powers in place

The problem with the 2005 European Constitution is that it did not respect any of these 5 principles.

  1. Readable : It wasn’t a readable text but a much too long text compiling previous treaties…
  2. A not oriented text : An oriented text towards liberal policies, not neutral, it imposed political views with an absence of debate…
  3. A revisable text : This constitution was very difficult to revise, with the unanimity of all the European countries required to revise it ! The majority of European citizens could not modify it ! This is not normal.
  4. Separation and control of powers : It did not guarantee a fair separation of powers, the EU parliament couldn’t and can’t be dissolved, and this same parliament did not and still doesn’t have the initiative of laws. At last it has a limited vote for the budget and it doesn’t have its word to say in very important fields (economic fields mainly) reserved to the European commission ! The European commission can only be dissolved by the parliament but with a very difficult procedure… The Council of ministers and the European council are not responsible at all in front of anyone !
  5. Constitutional assembly : There was not such a constitutional assembly prior to the 2005 EU constitution, this text was established by the powers in place by the same who need to be controled by such a constitution !

Constitution or democratisation first? Or both and how?

Definitely both !

A constitutional assembly should be set as soon as possible with the objective to draft a constitution by and for the people. Because this constitution is the “missing text” for European citizen since the beginning of the European project !

It would replace previous treaties and ensure that the European Union is now the result of the will of people and not its elites only (as it was at in the beginning).

This text should strictly respects the 5 principles described before, and we could imagine it to be ratified by referendum the same day in all the EU countries. This was a proposal made by Newropeans already 10 years ago as a pre-condition for more democracy in the EU (ratify by referenda each future treaty or enlargement in the whole European Union, the same day in all the EU countries and have it ratified both by a minimum of 50% of European citizen and 50% of members states).

A large part of the “previous job” made to set this constitution would consist also to inform citizens and campaign in order to have this European constitution ratified at the majority of European citizens and countries and not the unanimity of countries like today.

This constitution should be the result of the first trans-european and transnational campaign.

In the meantime the democratisation of the EU should be made by applying some or all of the proposals made by Newropeans 10 years ago.

Newropeans made several proposals required to democratize the EU. Here are a few of them below :

  • Include European parties in Parliament
  • Ensure that the European Parliament is 50% composed of representatives of national (or regional lists), and 50% from trans-European lists; Offer each citizen two votes in the European elections. In order to play an important political role, the European Parliament must manage to integrate within itself the many different components of Europeans citizens’ identity.
  • Campaigning for the election (and not appointment) of a European government (to replace the European Commission) responsible in front of the European parliament
  • Give the right of initiative to the EU parliament, if not given, take it by Elected MEPs !
  • Trans-european referenda for future enlargement and the future constitution

David Carayol, 06.12.2017

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