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For social justice and democracy in Europe

This campaign stands for:

  • Democracy: a democratic and transparent Europe
  • Sovereignty: a Europe of the peoples
  • Peace: an EU that promotes peace, disarmament, and conflict resolution
  • Equality: a social and economically just Europe
  • Human Rights: an EU which respects the human rights of all.

Our vision of Europe is one where the economy works to serve social needs, not big business and corporate greed. The EU should be committed to peace in the world, promoting disarmament and an end to nuclear weapons rather than increased arms spending. European trade should aid the development of poorer countries, rather than pushing the interests of big business. The EU should promote tolerance, welcome migrants, end discrimination and champion the rights of all workers, residents and nations. The EU should be democratic, with a proper voice for Europe's citizens in the decisions that affect their lives.

We are being told that the proposed EU Constitution is the only way forward for the enlarged EU. A Constitution should not contain detailed policies - thus preventing future generations re-making policy. But this Constitution is a blueprint for a privatised, militarised, centralised and undemocratic Europe.

The Constitution would enshrine right wing economic policy permanently. The European Commission can at present open trade negotiations in public services like water, energy and public transport with no power of veto from elected governments - pushing them into being run as purely money-making businesses. The Constitution would set this arrangement in stone. For the first time, the unrestricted veto governments still have on trade in health, education and culture would be removed.

This would make it easier for the Commission to open these latter services to competition from private companies through the General Agreement on Trade in Services. De-regulation like this would mean more two-tier services and more privatisation. By depriving governments a veto on EU trade talks, the Constitution would lead to more of the decisions that affect the lives of ordinary people being made without democratic accountability.

The Constitution would also retain the ban on subsidies for public services that might give services priority over private businesses. Likewise, governments would still have to keep public spending below a very tight level, or be fined and forced to make cuts. Restrictions on the movement of capital would be constitutionally banned, ruling out public control. The European Central Bank, which is not accountable to anybody, would still have price stability as its objective - rather than equality across Europe or sustainability.

This Constitution puts competition before sustainability and prioritises the market over the needs of ordinary people.

The Constitution would provide for the framing of a common 'defence' policy, strengthening a European military bloc equipped to intervene around the world. The range of tasks this military force could undertake is to be extended by the Constitution. While states could choose whether or not to send troops to individual operations, they would not be allowed to remain neutral. All states would have to take sides "actively and unreservedly" in support of EU Foreign and Security Policy. In response to an armed aggression on a Member State or an attack/threat of terrorism, all Member States have an "obligation of mutual assistance and solidarity towards one another". States that decide to join Structured Co-operation could embark on military action as a sub-group, and the objections of other Member States could be ignored.

The Constitution obliges all Member States to pay for the establishment and administration of EU military policy. The EU Constitution declares that its emerging defence policy shall be compatible with nuclear-armed NATO's. There is no requirement in the Constitution for the EU to obtain a UN mandate for its military actions. A European Defence Agency, that would support and promote the arms industry, will be enshrined in the Constitution.

By incorporating the Euratom Treaty, the Constitution would continue to promote nuclear power as the preferred source of energy in the EU. This makes a mockery of attempts to create a safe European environment.

This Constitution strengthens militarism in Europe rather than promoting peace.

The Constitution confirms and consolidates the principle that EU law takes precedence over national law. While national law can be changed by elected representatives, EU law cannot. The Constitution abolishes the national veto in many new areas - such as criminal law and asylum - while laws made on the basis of new population criteria would disadvantage smaller Member States.

Under the Constitution, the EU would negotiate treaties on behalf of all the Member States through a new Foreign Minister and diplomatic service - and Member States must comply with this procedure. The Council of Ministers may move many EU policy areas to majority voting without new treaties. If the Council decides it does not have sufficient powers, the Constitution allows it to "take appropriate measures" to obtain them - at the expense of national parliaments.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights would supposedly act as a human-rights reference-point in the application of EU law. But the Charter does not guarantee the same rights to all citizens across the EU. It would not stop cuts that would undermine universal access to essential services. Nor does it provide for an equalization upwards of political and social rights. And Rights in the Charter could be "limited ... to meet objectives of general interest recognised by the Union". Furthermore, many of the objectives of the Charter are nullified by policies in other parts of the Constitution, making a mockery of it.

This Constitution further centralises power in the EU without rendering the decision-making democratic.

The EU Constitution would make no significant steps towards a Europe where democracy, equality, peace, human rights, environmental sustainability, social and economic justice are the priorities. An opportunity to redress the democratic deficit and the gap between rich and poor - inside and outside of the EU - has been missed. The interests of the powerful few have been given priority over those of the many.

Everyone who wants a democratic, just and peaceful Europe which works for all the people should VOTE NO in the referendum on the EU Constitution.

For further information, email:


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