European Constitution

A proposed constitutional treaty for the European Union; its main goal is to unify the existing, overlapping set of treaties which provide the current constitution for the European Union. The Constitution is based on the EU's two primary existing treaties, the Treaty of Rome (1957), and the Maastricht Treaty (1992), as modified by the more recent treties of Amsterdam and Nice; the need to consolidate was highlighted in the Treaty of Nice. The treaty has been agreed by the heads from 25 member states, but must yet be ratified by member states. Different states have different requirements for ratification; in Ireland, all treaties are required by the constitution to be put to a referendum; whereas in Germany, referendums are constitutionally prohibited. No article in the Constitution is completely new; Each is based either on a provision in existing treaties (some revised, some copied verbatim), or on a provision from the existing Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Most articles are identical in wording or spirit to their predecessors, others are differently presented, and some are significantly modified. The biggest changes include: A legal personality for the European Union (the European Community has always had one, and the structures will be merged into a single entity); explicit statement of the principle that the EU has no competences by right, and all rights it has are conferred by member states (purely a clarification - this has always been true); the EU may only act to exactly the extent needed to meet its objectives, and only where member states agree that the action of individual member states is insufficient; EU law takes primacy over the laws of member states where member states allow it to legislate (true since 1957), et al. More information:

contributed by user Gregory Block