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What are the arguments for and against the proposals to reform the European Constitution?

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Introduction

What are the arguments for and against the proposals to reform the European Constitution? The constitution is a single document replacing current European laws that come from several international treaties. It recognises and codifies EU decision making which has become more complicated since the EU expanded from 15 to 25 states in May 2004. On 18 June, the EU Member States agreed on a Constitutional Treaty (Constitution) for the EU. The Member States of the European Union worked on this new Constitution during the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC), which started in October 2003. The basis for these negotiations was the draft Constitutional Treaty drawn up by the European Convention on the Future of Europe. Member States are expected to sign the Constitution on October 29, 2004. Subsequently, the Constitution has to be ratified by all Member States according to their constitutional provisions. Only thereafter, the Constitution will come into force. So far, ten Member States have announced to hold referenda: Ireland, Denmark, Great Britain, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland, the Czech Republic and Portugal. ...read more.

Middle

It also makes practical sense to sign new treaties and agreements with one signature not 25 as the EU is already an economic union. Some economists believe that this will be a step towards a single European state that will accelerate the extension of EU powers. They also believe that the Constitution will create powerful posts of President and Foreign Minister. These spokesperson' could undermine member states' ability to represent themselves independently at international level. This is challenged however by views for the constitution that the EU will have a greater clout and clarity on the world stage by the strengthening of the leadership. It is believed that the Constitution will help citizens to see how decision making is organised because it sets down on paper in one document for the first time how the EU works, it also will strengthen citizens rights by including the charter of fundamental rights. However economists state that although it explains how the EU institutions and countries relate to each other and how decisions are made, it doesn't address how citizens relate to EU institutions. ...read more.

Conclusion

It will affect how we're represented globally as `European citizens`. It's biggest impact for the next generation because the constitution may bring closer political integration. People still disagree on how important the constitution is and about what will happen if a UK referendum rejects or accepts it. Some argue that the constitution will just clarify or tidy up the running of the EU while others say it will fundamentally change the UK's independence and position in Europe. If the UK rejects the constitution it is thought that the UK will be pushed to the margins of the EU or even forced to leave it entirely, affecting British people economically and politically. On the other hand it is thought that the UK's independence will be secured and the government's accountability to its citizens secured. The impact will be less dramatic if referendums in other countries also reject it. If the poll accepts the Constitution people think that the EU bureaucracy will be expanded, economic and political integration speeded up creating a country called "Europe". Those in favour of the constitution say that it will make the EU more accountable and better run bringing EU issues and laws closer to home. Louise Carvey ...read more.

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