Last night Chancellor Merkel presented her first Constitutional road map to the heads of state. She proposes to change the debate on two fronts. Firstly, she wants to speed up and have a text agreed by February 2008. Secondly, Merkel prefers to move on with a much shorter text that will no longer be called Constitution. This fast-track Constitutional diet is supposed to avoid any form of citizen consultations through a wider debate and ultimately ratification by referendum.
JEF-Europe president Jan Seifert, present in Brussels, commented on Merkel’s proposals:
“I welcome Chancellor Merkel’s efforts to revive the Constitution and leading the all EU-27 men’s club towards a solution as soon as feasible. It was exactly in these months that the European Constitution was supposed to come into force. Every month we loose without institutional reforms, prevents the Union from moving forward and adapting to the realities of the globalised world.”
“Merkel is right to press the pushing button but the Merkel method will lead to the same dead end as the last ratification process. A text that is quickly and secretly hammered out by diplomats will never reflect the reality of the European citizens. Improving the Constitution is necessary but it must be a transparent process and reflect the issues European citizens are voicing in the multiple debates during the ongoing reflection period under Plan D. A simple Constitutional diet will not connect better to the demands of the citizens and wealth fat of their concerns“, Seifert added.
JEF Europe has been stating for long that only a revision method that includes the European parliaments and one which is transparent and open to interested citizens can lead to better results. “Here, Merkel should be bold and call for a semester-long Convention to revise the text”, Seifert demanded.
“Merkel’s plan to move on with the old-school way of national ratifications in 2008 will fail – just as it did in 2005 and thereafter. It is time to move on to a more democratic method that does not let some governments hold the whole Union hostage. European citizens are demanding to voice their opinion and to hold a European referendum alongside the 2009 elections. JEF and UEF will soon launch a wider campaign on this matter”, explained Jan Seifert.
-> JEF press release from today, 09 March 2007