Why Trade Unionist should demand a Referendum on the EU's Renamed Constitution
TUAEUC - Trade Unionists Against the EU Constitution.
As a trade unionist you will no doubt have witnessed some pretty low-downtricks and even deceit when negotiating with management on any givenissue. It may not surprise you then to learn that despite the rejection of the EUConstitution by French and Dutch voters two years ago, the EU haspresented us with the same animal under a different name.
Under its terms, member states would hand over significant governmental powers to unelected EU institutions. It would give Brussels the power to privatise any industry, force public services to be put out to ‘competition’, extend the unelected European Commission’s exclusive right to draw up new laws and commit EU member states to joining the Euro.
It represents a new and significant threat to workers’ rights to collective bargaining in the interests of creating a ‘single internal market’ without giving us the right to strike.
It would further militarise the EU and give the EU theright to extend its own police force, whose officers enjoy immunity from prosecution. All these measures and more are still in the ‘new’ treaty despite what some well-heeled politicians may tell you. In other words, it is the same treaty that TUC Congress delegates voted overwhelmingly to oppose in 2005. So remember, if it quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck, then it is a duck.
-BOB CROW RMT General Secretary, TUAEUC Chair
In May 2005 French and Dutch voters, led primarily by trade unions, rejected the proposed EU Constitution, and the UK referendum we were promised by our government on it was shelved.
EU leaders declared a ‘time for reflection’ in order to decide how to continue the process of imposing a supranational state Constitution on the diverse peoples of Europe.
Their answer was to establish an ‘exclusive mandate’ in June 2007, which is designed to keep all the features of the old constitution. The bigger states like Germanyand Britain pressurised the weaker EUstates to accept this strategy as a fait accompli.
The Czech delegation regarded the summitas "a fiasco". A member of the Czech delegation stated that "without a partnerfrom one of the larger states, we werepowerless". A ‘new’ version of the Constitution, now blessed with the more harmless-sounding tag ‘Reform Treaty’, was unveiled a month later by an intergovernmental conference (IGC) set to conclude by October 18 2007.
However, the process of imposing an ‘exclusive mandate’ on states negotiating with one another is illegal under laws governing international treaties. Under the Vienna Convention that governs international law and treaties, it is the fundamental right of sovereign states to negotiate any handing over of powers.
In the past with all EU treaties, from Rome to Nice, the IGC has preceded the tabling of a draft treaty where unanimity and ratification by all member states was required.
In the case of the “exclusive mandate” these principles have been set aside by the European Council – an informal group of EU heads of government.
At the supposedly sovereign IGC, governments will only be allowed to discuss the treaty which the European Council wants. So sovereign governments are now acting under orders from the European Council, an EU body.
Before any further moves are taken to rubberstamp this Renamed EUConstitution, we believe the peoples of Britain should have a say on the matter by casting their votes in the referendum the government promised us two years ago.