July 05, 2003

US-EU: The Constitutional Divide

Another excellent article from Cato:

The American Constitution is a product of the 18th century Enlightenment. Its overriding concern is the relationship between individual freedom and coercive government power. Hence, the government's powers are delegated, enumerated, and thus limited. The authority that government enjoys is derived from the people, who can, in theory, reclaim that authority.

In contrast, the recently drafted EU constitution is a product of 20th century welfare-state socialism. The official goal was to design a simpler, more efficient, more democratic Europe that is "closer to its citizens." However, the goal was never seriously pursued and, consequently, never achieved. As a result, the new constitution will have serious negative implications for liberal parliamentary democracy and the principles of self-government.

The EU constitution makes European government more, not less, remote from the citizenry. The EU's operations are expanded, not streamlined, and its bureaucracy is made more complex, not simpler. There are no cuts to the EU's 97,000 pages of accumulated laws and regulations. The EU's powers are supposedly limited in this document but there is an escape clause in case the Brussels-based bureaucracy ever feels boxed in by popular sentiment. The decisions in Brussels are final and EU laws supersede laws made by national parliaments.

The proposed EU constitution is certainly a product of welfare-state socialism but I fail to understand why does Europe need any kind of constitution...