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(DV) Whitney: The EU Constitution







The EU Constitution: Don’t Believe the BS
by Mike Whitney
May 30, 2005

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The EU constitution is a Trojan horse slapped together by corporate and banking elites with the clear purpose of undermining national sovereignty and accelerating globalization. Thank God the French had the common sense to read the document and vote it down. Unlike their American counterparts, who have been the victims of a barrage of free trade agreements (NAFTA, CAFTA, FTAA) which have sacrificed the environment, eviscerated national sovereignty, and savaged the middle-class, the French thumbed their noses at a plan that was designed to torpedo their economic system. If the constitution had passed, its neoliberal policies would inevitably put Frenchmen in direct competition with the lowest paid workers in Canton Province.

No thanks. That’s a model that only works for the corporate oligarchy and their friends in the “free press”.

It doesn’t take much research to figure out who was behind this EU turkey. A quick glance at Google News shows that every media outlet in the world, excluding the Socialist Worker and the International Herald Tribune, supported the treaty and is already bemoaning the election results, dismissing them as a sign of “French stubbornness” and “cultural arrogance.” Most of the news completely eschews the facts, choosing instead to whimper about a “divided Europe” and the disgrace that Chirac’s naughty children have heaped on his pristine reputation.

Just listen to the braying at the New York Times: “PARIS, May 29 -- Turning its back on half a century of European history, France decisively rejected a constitution for Europe on Sunday, plunging the country into political disarray and jeopardizing the cause of European unity.”

“Plunging the country into political disarray and jeopardizing the cause of European unity”? My Gawd, they never tire of hyperbole at “the newspaper of record.”

First of all, it’s a stretch just to call this neoliberal rag a constitution at all. Typically, we think of a constitution as a document that embraces the highest ideals of a people; laying out clear guidelines for safeguarding civil liberties and the rule of law; not a compendium of perks for big business and their cronies in high finance. The EU constitution simply hands over more power to an “unelected” class of euro-parasites who want to suck the life out of the social welfare system that has raised the standard of living for the middle class to the highest in the world. The French were smart enough to say “non!”

The constitution poses an even greater threat to French national sovereignty. As George Will notes in his May 29 article, “The constitution says member states can ‘exercise their competence’ only where the EU does not exercise its. But the constitution gives EU institutions jurisdiction over foreign affairs, defense, immigration, trade, energy, agriculture, fishing and much more.”

What?! Control over “foreign affairs, defense, immigration, trade, energy, agriculture, fishing and much more”?

Why would any sovereign people transfer authority on these issues to bureaucrats and corporatists whose only interest is the bottom line? Even the conservative George Will admits that a “yes” vote “would accelerate the leeching away of each nation's sovereignty.” (Ironically, Will’s article was one of only two articles, out of 1,400, to criticize the EU constitution)

An article by America Vera Zavala, “French Vote on the Constitution,” further clarifies the sovereignty dilemma: “The constitution centralizes even more power in the hands of the undemocratic…EU commission. The EU commission gets a fast track in trade issues…. The constitution clearly speaks about a military union and states that the nation states have to increase military expenses in their national budgets…. The neoliberal economic policy is fixed in the treaty; it gives priority to the fight against inflation over unemployment -- an economic dogma creating problems in the entire world.”

In other words, the same neoliberal straightjacket that has been used throughout the developing world is now being tailored for Europe. It is a strategy that reliably transfers the lion’s share of the wealth and resources to multinational corporations and their colleagues in the banking establishment. Presumably, the resources that are directed into the military would go straight into NATO (not some alternative, European force) and remain under American control. The reason for this is that the US Military is a fully owned franchise of the corporate elite, a model that requires no fine-tuning.

The French vote is just the first volley in what will undoubtedly be a long war. The corporate moguls and their political underlings have sharpened their talons for a long and bloody conflict. They won’t be discouraged by results of the democratic process. Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker has already brushed aside the French vote saying the ratification process must “go on”.

And certainly it will.

The EU constitution provides an excellent example of the underlying dangers facing democracy in the modern world. The insidious influence of corporations far surpasses the danger of international terrorism. At risk are the institutions that protect personal liberty and national independence. The EU constitution, bathed in the soft pastels of a massive public relations campaign, is just the latest malevolent scheme to undermine the nation state and establish the apocryphal “new world order.”

George Will said it best: “Sovereignty is a predicate of self-government. The deeply retrograde constitution would reverse five centuries of struggle to give representative national parliaments control over public finance and governance generally.”


Mike Whitney lives in Washington state, and can be reached at:

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