IEA authors call for new model for Europe

An alternative constitution for the EU has been suggested by a group of academic experts, today, in a report released by the IEA*. In a multi-authored study they strongly criticise the on-going process attempting to develop the new European Constitution

The IEA's authors suggest a different constitutional model that is highly practical whilst soundly grounded in political theory and historical experience.

In all future discussions, those determining the content of constitutional changes should represent the member states parliaments and electorate, not the institutions of the European Union " it is on behalf of the people of Europe not the institutions of Europe that the constitution should be drafted.

There should be a significantly greater role for member states. Except where there is a genuine international interest, issues should be reserved for member states. In particular, the EU should have no role to play in labour markets. The Constitution should guarantee this.

The European Court's first duty should be to prevent restrictions being placed by governments on trade within the EU. The EU must be first and foremost a free trade zone.

The constitution should be a simple document that restrains the power of European politicians rather than giving power to different groups of politicians. The constitution must limit the power of the EU, not give politicians and bureaucrats a licence to run amok.

Restrictions on central EU powers and extension of the veto will also allow nations to independently discover the best forms of regulation rather than having particular forms forced upon them.

The experience of previous constitutional conventions - such as in the USA and Canada - suggest that successful constitutions are written by the political leaders of the day, who will have to live with the consequences of their decisions, not by an ensemble of has-beens who may not be around to see the impact of their decisions!

Ends

*The Governance of the European Union, Economic Affairs, Volume 24, No 1, March 2004. Institute of Economic Affairs, £6.00 (includes UK & Europe p&p) obtainable from: The Institute of Economic Affairs

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