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08.11.02, 13:00
Draft Proposal for a Common Alternative:

Instead of an EU State Constitution

The Europe of Democracies

AWARE OF the need to strengthen democracy, and respect for the rule of law
and Human Rights in Europe

OBSERVING THE growing gap between the EU institutions and the people of
Europe and the loss of popular support for the EU as proved by several
referenda and European Parliament elections

CONCERNED THAT the Convention on the Future of Europe is not adequately
addressing the "democratic challenge facing Europe", as described in the
Laeken Declaration

WE PROPOSE to transform the EU into a Europe of Democracies (ED), which shall
be a treaty association of free and self-governing European states and an
open economic area.

1. EUROPE OF DEMOCRACIES. The European Union (EU) shall not have a
constitution. Instead, Europe should be organised on an interparliamentary
basis by means of a Treaty on European Cooperation. This will create a Europe
of Democracies (ED) in place of the existing EU.

2. A SLIMLINE TREATY. The present 85 000 pages of the acquis communautaire
covering the EU and EEA must be radically simplified. Instead, focus shall be
placed on cross-frontier issues where national parliaments cannot effectively
act by themselves. Decisions on subsidiarity shall be resolved by the
national parliaments.

3. OPEN TO ALL DEMOCRACIES. Membership of the ED shall be open to any
European democratic state which is a signatory of, and respects fully, the
European Convention on Human Rights.

4. SIMPLIFIED DECISION-MAKING. The present 30 different ways of making
decisions in the EU shall be reduced to two: binding laws and non-binding
recommendations. Where qualified majority voting applies, the proposal in
question shall require 75 per cent of the votes to be cast in favour, unless
otherwise stated.

5. A VETO ON VITAL ISSUES. Regulations shall be valid only if they have been
passed by national parliaments. A national parliament shall have a veto on an
issue it deems vital, empowering the Prime Minister concerned to defend it at
the next ED summit.

6. THE COMMON CORE ISSUES. Binding laws shall deal with the rules for the
Common Market and certain common minimum standards to protect employees,
consumers, health, safety and the environment. In other areas the ED shall
have the power to issue recommendations for Member States, which are always
free to adopt higher standards.

7. FLEXIBLE COOPERATION. The ED may unanimously approve flexible cooperation
for those nations that want to take part in closer cooperation. The ED shall
also recognise and support other pan-European organisations, such as the
Council of Europe.

8. OPENNESS AND TRANSPARENCY. The decision-making process and relevant
documents shall be open and accessible, unless a reasonable cause for
exception is confirmed by qualified majority.

9. STRAIGHTFORWARD COUNCIL VOTING. A simplified voting system shall operate
in the Council, which may comprise each Member State possessing one vote in
the ED Council. A decision by qualified majority shall require the support of
countries with more than half the total ED population.

should elect its own member of the Commission. The Commissioner shall attend
the European Scrutiny Committees of the national parliament concerned.
National parliaments shall have the power to dismiss their Commissioner. The
President of the Commission shall be elected unanimously by the European
Council. National parliaments shall decide on the annual legislative
programme and the Commission shall correspondingly act as a secretariat for
the Council and the national parliaments.

11. NO LEGISLATION BY THE COURT. Legal activism by the European Court in
Luxembourg shall be curbed, and the Court shall respect the European
Convention on Human Rights.

12. PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS. The Member States and the ED may enter into
partnership agreements of mutual interest with states or groups of states.
The ED shall respect the parliamentary democracy of its partners and may
assist poorer ones with a financial aid, while fostering free trade

13. BETTER SCRUTINY. The European Ombudsman, the Court of Auditors and the
Budget Control Committees of the European and national parliaments shall have
access to all documents and all financial accounts.

14. EQUALITY OF LANGUAGES. When legislating, all official ED languages shall
be treated equally.

15. UNITED NATIONS. The ED shall not have its own army. Peacekeeping and
peacemaking should be mandated by the United Nations and the Organisation for
Security and Cooperation in Europe. Member States shall decide themselves
whether they opt for a common defence through NATO, or follow a neutrality

Please send your comments and proposals for changes to Democracy Forum on:
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