In Europe, some politicians think that a unified continent is an important principle that has been revealed to them by an angel. Some green and leftist politicians see a unified Europe as a perfect tool to spread their favorite ideology. It has become popular among certain people to paint the EU constitution as an inevitably good thing and its opponents as politically incorrect people. Among the good people, there is consensus.
Is there any consensus? Well,
There are still anti-EU sentiments in the United Kingdom, despite Tony Blair's attempts to eliminate them. However, the EU also has new members and some of them have very good reasons to feel as self-confident co-determinants of the common policy. Well, so far I am not talking about Romania and Bulgaria who don't really know yet what these questions are all about.
It is Prague that has emerged as a key opponent of a further unification and a foe of a complicated and long EU constitution. Angela Merkel saw it last week. President Klaus wants to replace EU by his Organization of European States. He is certainly not the only one who has similar ideas about these issues.
Jan Zahradil, a member of the European Parliament, was chosen to be Czechia's negotiator in these issues. He shares the opinions with other Czech politicians. Also, he believes it would be profoundly wrong if it became possible for the EU to silently expand its power into welfare and healthcare systems of the individual countries because these important issues could no longer be decided by democratic mechanisms.
Poland shares these Czech sentiments although its politicians are far less outspoken about them. On the other hand, the most Euro-optimistic party in the Czech Republic is probably the Green Party that has become a part of the current government.
If you care, the Czech Republic is the only EU country (among 27) that hasn't ratified the International Criminal Court (ICC), together with countries like the U.S. and Israel.
Have you ever heard of this name? He is a head of a committee of the European Parliament. As far as I can say, I have only heard about this Gentleman whenever he criticized Václav Klaus. In this sense, Jo Leinen is Klaus' misbehaving appendix in the same sense as e.g. CapitalistImperialistPig is mine. :-) Nevertheless, this particular Jo Leinen feels very self-confident in criticizing the Czech president:
Various people simply want to revive the same dead EU constitution that has been rejected by citizens of two pretty important countries. The referendums were just errors in their measurement. They can be neglected. Re-counts and re-re-counts must be organized until this "great" document will be accepted.
Click the picture to get a Russian opinion.
I don't believe that democracy can work at a supernatural level. There are things in which the European unification has been kind of useful regardless of political opinions - free trade, ability to move, simpler bureaucracy, funds to pay for certain projects in certain regions, especially poor regions, and so forth.
But there are topics which are purely political, controversial, and that should be decided democratically as long as the territory of Europe remains an example of democracy. The level of taxation, cultural questions, the healthcare system, pension rights, gay marriage, legal status of drugs and prostitution are examples. If these things are decided democratically, I think that it is rather clear that they must remain national issues.
It is impossible to elect European representatives truly democratically. It will always - at least in the next 10 years - be the case that a primary task for the deputies of the EU Parliament will be to defend the national interests of their countries. It's simply a fact because the national identity within the EU will remain more important than other kinds of identities, including the identity to political blocs, for most citizens of the EU. Most citizens of the EU can't understand what most politicians of the EU want, and how much they want it - because they don't speak their language.
It would be very wrong to create a Europe controlled by a political elite that is electing itself because most citizens can't really influence its composition. It would be very wrong to create a Europe in which politicians are not being chosen according to their political principles and abilities but according to their language skills and their friendship with other similar people with language skills. It is not hard to see that the language requirements impose a drastic reduction of the pool of possible candidates for European politics and there is no good reason to think that something will dramatically change about this fact.
These are some of the reasons why a newer, shorter, more comprehensible, and less ambitious constitution must be written.
And that's the memo.