And the European Constitution was born weak and blind

Convention members gathered in Brussels yesterday finalized their work to build a new treaty on the Europe of the future

Happy ? Yes apparently, the president of the Convention on the future of Europe, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing is proud to have finished his work. " The result is not perfect but it is unexpected. We have been able to build consensuses that seem acceptable and fair to most member states”. And with a bit of borrowed lyricism, more worthy, however, of a science po student in need of inspiration than of a former president of the republic, he adds: “ We have sown the seeds of a European people. A European demo ».

The Convention is closed, or almost. Applause, hymn to joy, champagne, hugs… But on closer examination of the 260-page pavement, laid by the “conventionals”, the enthusiasm wanes. Written by sans-culottes in suits and ties, the text is winded. Its preamble in particular. But where have the fervor of the French or American revolutionary declarations gone, the meaning of the formulas of the founding fathers in the treaty on coal and steel, the conciseness of the European Convention on Human Rights? Celebrating in the third person a " Europe, a continent carrying civilization”, the Constitution forgets the “We”, the only one capable of fulfilling its objective: to make the reader-citizens appropriate this foreign body that Europe could become.

The sequel is of the same ilk. With positive sides… sometimes. The competences of the Union are thus clarified. The European Parliament, elected by the people, will now have a say in most decisions. And the member states' right of veto is abolished in some others. But by appointing a President of the European Council appointed for two and a half years, competing with the European Commission, and by not giving the latter new powers, the Convention ignores its objective of efficiency. Worse ! It puts an extra zest of complexity.

And by not wanting to touch European policies, the “Conventionals” forgot to give this Union a new impetus, a vision for the future! The States, and their diplomats, therefore now have a free hand to, in the secrecy of carefully organized confessionals, begin new negotiations and draft a new text. Thank you Giscard! Bye…

Nicolas Gros Verheyde
Published in France-Soir, June 2003

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).