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new EU Constitution

Benefits and problems from the EU membership.

new EU Constitution

Postby Piratis » Wed Aug 04, 2004 10:53 am

What do you think about the new EU Constitution? EU is getting more integrated. Will that be good for us, or bad?

Here are some highlights from EU Business:

Here are the main innovations foreseen by the European Union's first-ever constitution, on which the expanding bloc finally agreed at a summit on 18 June 2004.

- PRESIDENT OF EUROPEAN COUNCIL: New job, proposed to replace the EU's current six-month rotating system.

To be elected by a qualified majority of European Council (member states' leaders) for a two-and-a-half year term, renewable once. In case of serious malpractice EU governments can end the mandate.

- COUNCIL OF MINISTERS: Group of three countries to chair ministerial councils (such as agriculture, home affairs, transport etc) for 18 months, under overall control of new president.

External affairs council, however, to be chaired by new foreign minister (see below), and eurozone finance ministers' council to get new president for two-and-a-half years.

- MINISTER FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS: New post, to be appointed by a qualified majority of member states. The foreign minister to be responsible for security and defence policy, replacing jobs currently held by Chris Patten and Javier Solana.

- EUROPEAN COUNCIL: Gathers leaders of member states. To meet four times a year. To take decisions by consensus, unless constitution provides otherwise.

- EUROPEAN COMMISSION: The independent EU executive, with power to initiate legislation and oversee its implementation.

The constitution calls for slimming down the executive to two-thirds of the number of member states in 2014, unless the European Council, acting unanimously, decides to alter this figure.

- EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT: Enacts legislation jointly with the Council of Ministers, and sees its powers of oversight doubled in the new constitution to about 80 policy areas.

To vote on approving commission president and his team. Size limited to 750 members. No member state is given more than 96 seats or fewer than six.

- QUALIFIED MAJORITY VOTING (QMV): All but the most sensitive EU decisions to be decided by a so-called "double majority" system under which an EU decision would need support of 55 percent of member countries, comprising at least 15 of them, and representing 65 percent of the bloc's population.

These thresholds were raised from 50 and 60 percent respectively in an initial draft, after pressure from middle-sized states fearing domination by EU heavyweights.

A blocking minority must include at least four members of the European Council or the qualified majority is considered attained.

As another safeguard, if EU members are acting on their own rather than the European Commission's or the foreign minister's initiative, they must muster a majority of 72 percent of states with 65 percent of the population.

On issues where only some countries have the right to vote, for instance on eurozone questions, other rules for the qualified majority will be defined.

Changes in foreign affairs, defence and tax law will still require unanimity.

- SOLIDARITY CLAUSE: EU countries would be bound to come to each's other defence in case of attack.

This was already adopted by EU leaders in the wake of the Madrid attacks in March.

- EU LEGISLATION: EU law shall have primacy over national legislation.

Current raft of legislative devices are to be replaced by six legal measures: laws, framework laws, regulations, decisions, recommendations and opinions.

- LEGAL STANDING: The constitution establishes the EU as a legal body with power to sign international treaties.

- CITIZENSHIP: "Every national of a Member State shall be a citizen of the Union."

- ROLE OF RELIGION: The preamble to the constitution says the EU draws its "inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, from which have developed the universal values of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, democracy, equality, freedom and the rule of law".

The Vatican and several Roman Catholic countries led by Poland pressed in vain for the constitution's preamble to refer to Europe's Christian heritage.

- VALUES: "The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, liberty, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights."

- SUSPENSION CLAUSE: If one member state seriously flouts the bedrock EU values, the rest could decide by a qualified majority to suspend it.

- EXIT CLAUSE: The constitution sets out for the first time in EU law that a member state can leave the bloc if it so chooses.

- CHARTER OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS: Britain won its battle to ensure that the charter, which forms Part II of the constitution, does not override national laws on sensitive issues such as employment legislation.


Some parts, like the one about "SOLIDARITY CLAUSE" seems to be for our benefit. This was one of the reasons we joined.
But the new "QUALIFIED MAJORITY VOTING " takes power away from small countries like ours. Personally i think this way is more democratic, but we needed this power to pressure Turkey for the silution of the Cyprus problem.
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Postby Marios1 » Wed Aug 18, 2004 7:45 am

I believe it is good in terms of security. However it is probably something negative for most others things. Cyprus is a small country and the more integrated EU gets the less power within it we have.
The problem is that not many Europeans put their EU identity higher than their national one. This is why it seems to me many of them would be willing to sacrifice the well being of their fellow EU citizens if they are going to gain something for their own countries.
EU has a long way to go to become like the USA.
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Cyprus, the EU and the EU Constitution

Postby Europhile » Sat Aug 28, 2004 1:27 pm

One or two thoughts from an interested outsider:-

1. Whether or not the draft EU Constitution is ratified by all Member States this time round or some other version is ratified subsequently, it is inevitable that we are on the road towards constructing a politically unified Europe.

2. The EU is something greater than the sum of its parts and a good example of this may be taken from trade negotiations with the USA. In the past it was the practice of the USA to pick small states one by one and insist on privileges for US persons and corporations without reciprocity - a good example is in air transport where the USA insisted on obtaining privileges for its carriers going to Europe which it was not willing to grant within the USA. With the EU negotiating as a single entity, the US cannot pick off states one by one any more and has to negotiate on an equal footing.

3. The EU has proved a beneficial influence in areas of intercommunal conflict. Take the Northern Ireland situation. With the economic differentials on each side of the Irish land boundary diminishing, with EU enforceable guarantees of equal treatment and finaincial support, the extremists in both camps have become increasingly irrelevant.

4. The incorporation of legally enforceable human rights guarantees makes peple feel more secure and reduces the risk of entrenched positions being taken up out of fear.

5. The small states within the EU have a greater proportionate inluence over the decision making process - think of Luxembourg.

6. All these things suggest that Cyprus as a whole will benefit from both its EU membership and the increased human rights guarantees which will eventually flow from the EU constitution in whatever form it eventually takes.

7. And as the importance of the nation states diminishes (and that is happening) sqabbles and even centuries-old ethnic conflicts also diminish in their importance. Younger Europeans increasingly see themselves as Europeans with nation state nationality becoming less important. Most of the reservations about nationhood come from the older generation and there is increasing impatience with the geriatic politicians who fight old wars. That might also be beneficial in the Cyprus context
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Postby Piratis » Sat Aug 28, 2004 2:01 pm

4. The incorporation of legally enforceable human rights guarantees makes peple feel more secure and reduces the risk of entrenched positions being taken up out of fear.

6. All these things suggest that Cyprus as a whole will benefit from both its EU membership and the increased human rights guarantees which will eventually flow from the EU constitution in whatever form it eventually takes.


Unfortunately in the cases of Cyprus the powerful want to impose derogations from those human rights, and make us a second category citizens, with less human rights than the rest EU people.

We do hope that those human rights guarantees will eventually flow from the EU constitution to Cyprus. Unfortunately the solidarity that exists between US states, does not exist (yet?) between the EU members. It seems to me that EU would be willing to compromise several of those human rights for part of its citizens (Cypriots) to satisfy Turkey and the superpower.
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Human Rights in the EU

Postby Europhile » Sat Aug 28, 2004 3:09 pm

Piratis wrote:-

Unfortunately in the cases of Cyprus the powerful want to impose derogations from those human rights, and make us a second category citizens, with less human rights than the rest EU people. We do hope that those human rights guarantees will eventually flow from the EU constitution to Cyprus....


With respect, the human rights guarantees flow from membership and cannot be abrogated or derogated from. The EU is a body under the rule of law and that rule of law will be strengthened rather than weakened by a formal embodiment in a constitution. But the benefits also comport obligations.

As I discussed on another thread, you may find that the influence of the EU is all pervasive in fields you have never dreamed of - all the citizens of member states go through a process of realising just how much national sovereignty is signed away with the act of accession. Some (mainly the elderly) grow to resent that.

In fact national ministers also frequently fail to comprehend how much power has in fact been ceded and there is often a quite painful process of adjustment as they discover the vast areas where no national veto can be interposed, or where the ECJ can compel compliance and enforce its judgments with considerably more effect than the UN - as the UK has more than once found out - as have other member states.

That may well happen in Cyprus too ! There is a strong feeling in Brussels that the present leadership of the Republic has behaved less than honourably and the Commission, like any bureaucracy, has myriad ways of bringing fractious national ministers into line. Like, for example, putting all their pet projects to the bottom of the pile until compliance with something else is achieved.

But the EU on the whole has contributed greatly to the development of respect for ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities in member states and as between them. That will be an inevitable result of Cypriot accession and I fervently believe it will be on the whole beneficial as has proved to be the case in other parts of the EU.
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Postby Bananiot » Mon Aug 30, 2004 9:31 am

Cyprus became an EU member after long deliberations within our society and initially the pro European movement had to overcome a huge obstacle, that is, AKEL, the staunchly pro Moscow communist party that campaigned against EU and NATO. What swung the balance was a nebulous thought that EU could solve the Cyprus issue and AKEL made it quite clear that this was the only reason why it reversed its policy on EU. Of course, this is debatable, but my query is this: will the EU sidestep the UN and take over the reigns in the effort to solve the issue? Personally I believe this is impossible and the Cypriot politicians must know this, thus we will gain more respect in Europe if we stopped whining and contribute towards tackling broader issues that concern Europe as a whole. It’s a tragedy Cyprus joined the EU while still divided, we had our chance but we kicked it, or to put it the way Prime Minister Simitis “we allowed history to bypass us”.
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Postby Piratis » Mon Aug 30, 2004 2:00 pm

Cyprus joined the EU as one country. We would have joined divided if we had accepted the Annan partition plan.

That may well happen in Cyprus too ! There is a strong feeling in Brussels that the present leadership of the Republic has behaved less than honourably and the Commission, like any bureaucracy, has myriad ways of bringing fractious national ministers into line. Like, for example, putting all their pet projects to the bottom of the pile until compliance with something else is achieved.

Every country within EU has special interests. The EU is not there to serve just the British or the French interests. The Cyprus probelem is the issue for us (all we are asking after all is for the EU aquis and international laws to be applied), and I believe that within the spirit of cooparation our partners should help us, like we will help them on other issues.
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EU and Cyprus

Postby Europhile » Tue Aug 31, 2004 10:13 pm

Piratis wrote:-

Every country within EU has special interests. The EU is not there to serve just the British or the French interests. The Cyprus probelem is the issue for us (all we are asking after all is for the EU aquis and international laws to be applied), and I believe that within the spirit of cooparation our partners should help us, like we will help them on other issues.


Member states have national interests, the Commission and the Court are there in the European interest.

The European interest is not to perpetuate the division of Cyprus, nor is it to permit the unjust treatment of a substantial minority of Cypriots. Nor is it in the European interest to privilege the Greek Cypriot majority over the Turkish minority.

Europe will help so long as people behave reasonably. On this and other threads I have voiced the view that the present government of Cyprus is being anything but reasonable.
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Postby Piratis » Tue Aug 31, 2004 10:24 pm

The European interest is not to perpetuate the division of Cyprus, nor is it to permit the unjust treatment of a substantial minority of Cypriots. Nor is it in the European interest to privilege the Greek Cypriot majority over the Turkish minority.

I am sorry, but do you know that in Cyprus Turkish Cypriots have, and will have a ton more privileges than any minority in the UK?

So if the treatment of Turkish Cypriots is unjust, then the treatment of your minorities is 100x unjust. Maybe the EU should take some measures against you?
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Postby pisagor » Thu Sep 02, 2004 9:32 pm

I am sorry, but do you know that in Cyprus Turkish Cypriots have, and will have a ton more privileges than any minority in the UK?

So if the treatment of Turkish Cypriots is unjust, then the treatment of your minorities is 100x unjust. Maybe the EU should take some measures against you?


i am a turkish who lives in istanbul.i do not think that "greek" cypriot guy catchs the affair from the focus.or he does not want to do. first of all the humanity has to demolish preconceptions.
we fighted in cyprus, we killed and we died. it's tragical point of view , serious and honest people have to not get an interest about it. i dont think again "greek" cypriots are stupid or preventing like a child...you can be sure, they hate us.. they hate us because of anything(they claims : wars, occupation or surroundings) these are cannot be reason to hate a "nation". to hate a nation is a helpless feeling , despite even all the real or hanciful reasons.
return the preconceptions i ment when i started. these people wants to expose that we are "uneducated" , "barbarian" and " not acceptable". these people wants to not see in any desk for eu. and this attitude is beeing developed by state politics in schools in cyprus.they learn that if they give an oportunity , we'll take all the land quickly. they learn in schools we are barbaric dogs. i play chess for cuba national team and have been south side two times.i see the hate even in the childs eyes.
we dont teach our kids to hate ....
minority concept is not beeing measured by proportion.this is a small land anyway. it is a right for turks to have their own governments. yes i can accept, we took it . but it is some diferent than kurdistan, we did not take a land %100 greek... if we wanted to surround, why would we stop on north side... war is not ofcourse a good thing.. i remain , we did not take india like englishes did, we did not take algeria like frenchs did... cause we know , there was not only greeks .. and we know the world imperialists cannot behave us like themselves do in india or in algeria.
we dont hate greeks, we shared same lands since 960 years . they are our brothers if we got problems and if they can kill us, i will prefer it than any "european solition" .....[/quote]
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