Posts Tagged ‘NO campaign’

Conceptual map: the Lisbon Treaty is a constitution

April 25, 2008

Fact 1: The definition of the word “constitution”:
Set of doctrines and practices that form the fundamental organizing principle of a political state. It may be written (e.g., the Constitution of the U.S.) or partly written and uncodified (e.g., Britain’s constitution). Its provisions usually specify how the government is to be organized, what rights it shall have, and what rights shall be retained by the people. A constitution is also referred to as a social contract between a state and its citizens.

Fact 2: The definition of a political “state”:
Political organisation of society, or the body politic, or -more narrowly- the institutions of government. The state is distinguished from other social groups by its purpose (establishment of order and security), methods (its laws and their enforcement), territory (its area of jurisdiction), and sovereignty. In some countries (e.g., the U.S.), the term also refers to non-sovereign political units subject to the authority of the larger state, or federal union.

Fact 3: The definition of “federal union” :
Federal: 1) of or relating to a compact or treaty, 2 a): formed by a compact between political units that surrender their individual sovereignty to a central authority but retain limited residuary powers of government b): of or constituting a form of government in which power is distributed between a central authority and a number of constituent territorial units c): of or relating to the central government of a federation as distinguished from the governments of the constituent units.
Union: the formation of a single political unit from two or more separate and independent units; a political unit constituting an organic whole formed usually. from previously independent units, which have surrendered their principal powers to the government of the whole or to a newly created government (as the U.S. in 1789).

Fact 4: The definition of “state’s rights” within a federal union:
All government rights or powers held by the individual states of a federal union under the provisions of a federal constitution. In some federally organized countries, these powers are those that remain after the powers of the central government are enumerated in the constitution. In others, the powers of both levels of government are defined in their respective constitutions. The federal government can influence state policy even in areas that are constitutionally the purview of the states (e.g., education, local road construction) through withholding funds from states that fail to comply with its wishes.
(All definitions are from the Encyclopædia Britannica.)

After matching the Lisbon Treaty to the definitions above the result is the following:

Fact 1: The Lisbon Treaty is a constitution, because it is a written set of doctrines and practices that form the fundamental organizing principle of a political state . The Lisbon Treaty is a constitution because its provisions specify how the EU-state as a federal government is to be organized, what rights it shall have, and what voting and other rights shall be retained by the people. The Lisbon Treaty lays down the provisions for the political organization of the society of the current member states, the body politic of, or -more narrowly- the institutions of a new government. The Lisbon Treaty is a social contract between the EU as a state and its citizens, the citizens of the Union. A country can have only one constitution in effect at a time, the provisions of which have primacy over all other laws. In the case when a state is arranged as a federal union, the federal constitution enjoys primacy over the provision of the dependent state constitutions.

Fact 2: As per the constitution called Lisbon Treaty, the European Union is to become a state because it is distinguished from other social groups by its purpose, by its establishment of order and security, by its methods, by its own laws and their enforcement, by its own territory or area of jurisdiction, by the borders specified as per the Schengen agreements, and its sovereignty. The European Union will be a sovereign state in terms of its physical borders, its sovereign foreign policy representation in international matters by the “high representative”, its own domestic market regulated by the Union, its own currency and central bank, its own monetary policy regulating the Union’s economy as a whole, its own citizens with obligations to the EU as a central authority, by its own representation of the Union citizens, by the European Parliament, by its own security policy, its own defence strategies based on its own perception of “international threats and security”, etc. This treaty gives the EU the constitutional form of a state. These are the ten most important things the Lisbon Treaty does: 1. It establishes a legally new European Union in the constitutional form of a supranational European State. 2. It empowers this new European Union to act as a State vis-à-vis other States and its own citizens. 3. It makes us all citizens of this new European Union. 4. To hide the enormity of the change, the same name – European Union – will be kept while the Lisbon Treaty changes fundamentally the legal and constitutional nature of the Union. 5. It creates a Union Parliament for the Union’s new citizens. 6. It creates a Cabinet Government of the new Union. 7. It creates a new Union political President. 8. It creates a civil rights code for the new Union’s citizens. 9. It makes national Parliaments subordinate to the new Union. 10. It gives the new Union self-empowerment powers.” [1]

Fact 3: The Lisbon Treaty is a federal constitution establishing a new political organisation in the form of a federal union and on the basis of an international agreement, incorporating 27 currently sovereign nations. As per the provisions of the federal constitution called Lisbon Treaty, the new state to be established is a federal union (note: “superstate” is a term the EU denies to cover the issue of federalisation ) by a compact between political units that surrender their individual sovereignty to a central authority but retain limited residuary powers of government. The EU constitutes a form of government in which power is distributed between a central authority (the EU institutions) and a number of constituent territorial units (the member states). The central government of the federation is called “federal“, as distinguished from the governments of the constituent units (“states“).
The federal hierarchy of laws is established by the FINAL ACT (2007/C 306/02) Declaration 17 (“Declaration concerning primacy”), which contains a declaration that the Union laws enjoy primacy over domestic laws due to precedence and due to the inherent nature of community laws. The further extension of the Union laws in the future as a specific consequence of the general self-amending feature of the Treaty is possible as well. Declaration 18 of the Final Act: “in accordance with the ordinary revision procedure provided for in Article 48(2) to (5) of the Treaty on European Union, the EU authorities may decide to amend the Treaties upon which the Union is founded, including either to increase or to reduce the competences conferred on the Union in the said Treaties.”

Fact 4: In accordance with the above, if the Lisbon Treaty would be ratified, the member states would lose their national sovereignty , and accordingly, the citizens would lose their current citizen rights and would be subject to obligations to a new authority. In such context the term “state“, whenever used for the EU member states, would refer to non-sovereign political units (e.g., similarly to the states of the U.S.) subject to the authority of the larger state, the federal European Union. The Lisbon Treaty, as a federal constitution, stipulates all government rights and powers held by the individual states of the European Union. Typical of the federally organized countries, these powers are those that remain after the powers of the central government are enumerated in the constitution. (In others, the powers of both levels of government are defined in their respective constitutions.) The federal government of the EU can influence state policy even in areas that are constitutionally the purview of the states (e.g., education, local road construction) through withholding funds from states that fail to comply with its wishes.

Conclusions: The Lisbon Treaty is a constitution laying down the foundations of a new political state under the name of “European Union”. This new political state founded by the Lisbon Treaty is a federal union, in which the member states would become non-sovereign political units. A nation’s constitution stipulates the rights and obligations pertaining to the status of being a citizen of the respective nation. When national sovereignty is surrendered to a higher authority than the one representing the nation, this implies the direct and indirect, gradual or abrupt loss of rights and privileges attached to a particular citizenship of a formerly sovereign state. The concept of national sovereignty is attached to the legally binding state-founding concepts, such as the legally binding agreements on common borders.

Note that the rights and obligations specified for the citizens of the Union are not only specified in the Charter of Fundamental Rights but also in the Lisbon Treaty, one of the footnotes of which stipulates the primacy of the Union law over the state laws, which implies that the rights and obligations pertaining to the Union citizenship will indeed override the current national citizens’ rights and obligations. Therefore, in order to meet the minimal requirement of a lawful and democratic process of the establishment of a new federal state, i.e. in order to respect the rights of the citizens as per the current social contracts (national constitutions) between the citizens and their state, the citizens -whose new voting rights and other constitutional rights would be enforced by law under the Lisbon Treaty within new borders of a new state -should be asked by a referendum if they approve of surrendering their current constitutional rights to those specified by the new constitution, the Lisbon Treaty.