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European Leaders Sign EU Constitution


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Oct 29, 9:24 AM (ET)


ROME (AP) - European leaders on Friday signed the EU's first constitution, a diplomatic triumph they hope will give the union a sharper international profile and speed up decision-making in a club now embracing 25 nations.

The treaty was the result of 28 months of sometimes acrimonious debate between the 25 EU governments and now faces ratification in national parliaments. At least nine EU nations also plan to put it to a referendum, increasing chances that it may not take effect in 2007 as scheduled.

A "no" result in any country would stop the constitution in its tracks.

The EU leaders signed the document at the Campidoglio, a Michaelangelo-designed complex of buildings on Rome's Capitoline Hill, along with the leaders of Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey and Croatia - four candidates for EU membership.

French President Jacques Chirac told reporters the constitution deepens "the roots of peace and democracy on our continent. For centuries and centuries we have fought each other and we have paid heavily with tears, blood, and waste."

The event was overshadowed by a dispute over the makeup of the next EU executive - particularly over a conservative Italian nominee, Rocco Buttiglione, who is opposed by a large segment of the 732-member European Parliament.

On the margins of the signing, the leaders sought to resolve the dispute over Buttiglione, who was nominated as justice commissioner. The conservative Catholic and papal confidant raised concerns by saying he believed homosexuality is a sin and that women are better off married and at home.

The constitution foresees simpler voting rules to end decision gridlock in a club that ballooned to 25 members this year and plans to absorb half a dozen more in the years ahead.

It includes new powers for the European Parliament and ends national vetoes in 45 new policy areas - including judicial and police cooperation, education and economic policy - but not in foreign and defense policy, social security, taxation or cultural matters.

The constitution was signed in the sala degli Orazi e Curiazi, the same spectacular hall in a Renaissance palazzo where in 1957 six nations - Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg - signed the union's founding treaty.

EU leaders signed the constitution in alphabetical order by country, led by Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt.

"The seeming madness of our founding fathers has become a splendid reality," Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian premier, said in a speech earlier. "Never in history have we seen an example of nations voluntarily deciding to exercise their sovereign powers jointly in the exclusive interests of their peoples, thus overcoming age-old impulses of rivalry and distrust."

The EU constitution, which includes a charter of fundamental rights, marks a new chapter in European history giving the continent "greater capacity for making Europe more secure, more prosperous, more just," said Jan Peter Balkenende, the Dutch leader whose nation holds the EU presidency.

Still, the internal turmoil over the makeup of the next EU executive commission cast a shadow over the ceremony.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said he counts on the EU assembly and Portugal's Jose Manuel Barroso, the next European Commission president, to resolve the issue within two weeks.

"I will not speak of a crisis if within 14 days the matter is resolved," Schroeder told reporters.

Chirac said the EU "needs a strong and independent commission capable of working as soon as possible on the problems that the European Union faces."

On Wednesday, Barroso withdrew his team from a vote in the European parliament, asking for more time to make changes.

If Buttiglione goes, others will likely go, too, to preserve a political balance that will secure European Parliament approval for the new EU executive.

Edit: removed some picture junk

Edited by Celumnaz
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  • Erikl


  • wunarmdscissor


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  • Celumnaz


French President Jacques Chirac told reporters the constitution deepens "the roots of peace and democracy on our continent. For centuries and centuries we have fought each other and we have paid heavily with tears, blood, and waste."

Just think how pwerful we could be if we made this work.

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The EU will be perfect if it would kick out Chirac's France, which is anything but a western country. tongue.gif

Edited by Erikl
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Yeah I know but believe me, I have no problem with the EU as long as France will not be part of it.

The capital of the EU should be changed from Brussels to Madrid, Rome (will be nice original.gif), London or Berlin (will be seriously ironic whistling2.gif) for all I care, and the French should be out as long as they continue to aligned themselves with anti-Western dictators and terrorists.

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Erikl, no offence, but I really don’t think you quite comprehend the role France has played in Europe.

Considering in May 1950, it was the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman to announce a plan the plan of merging European coal and steel production under a common authority in the first place. This led to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community, (the ECSC) which paved the way to the Treaty of Rome in 1957. I therefore doubt very much that they’ll be thrown out of it. In any case, France and Germany are the two most heavily integrated and most influential countries in the EU, and they are there to stay.

However back to the topic at hand, I think that this European Constitution is a total waste of time, and while I have no quarrels the rest of Europe if they want to sign it, I feel it can only be detrimental to Britain on several levels.

Firstly and more foremost, it fundamentally undermines Parliamentary Sovereignty. Those we don’t vote for and who we cannot hold to account will be making new legislation that, with the introduction of Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) will mean that even if your country opposes the laws, it cannot veto it, given a majority vote in the European Council. Don’t you think that’s a scary thought? blink.gif This is a Supranational State that is growing out of hand at an ever increasing rate with each Treaty signed (or in this case, a Constitution!) dontgetit.gif Power is being gradually sapped from Westminster to Europe. Blair is only signing this to keep his friends in Europe. Perhaps he should listen to what his country wants. disgust.gif

I think the EU would be great if it stayed solely as a Free Trade Area. I think the political implications are too consequential and disadvantageous for individual Nations. Where does the integration stop?


*Don’t get me started on why the UK shouldn't join the Euro. tongue.gif

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Tommy, no offence, but I really don’t think you quite comprehend the relations of France with dictators and terror groups.

Started with the fact that France harboured Ayatola Khumeini in the 70s, allowing him to bombered pro-West Iran with Islamist propaganda from his safe heaven near Paris. Later on, in 1979, Khumeini landed in Iran with a French airplane.

France thus is responsible for Iran becomming the Islamic republic that it is today, by harbouring it's perpetrator, and allowing him to destroy the pro-Western regime of Iran.

Later on, Frence also built the Osirak nuclear reactor for Saddam Hussein, playing the same role as Russia is playing today in the nuclear arming of Iran.

If Israel didn't destroy that nuclear reactor a month before it became active, the Iran-Iraq war and the first Gulf War would have looked totally different...

Then, France enabled Arafat, during the 1982 war in Lebanon, which destroyed the country (the only Arab democracy untill the arrival of the PLO) and massacred 10,000 christian lebanese, to escape to Tunisia.

Much more recently, Chriac was the only western leader to show up for Hafez Asad funeral in 2000.

Chirac also invited Nassralah to participate in the Francophone Convention in Beirut. Nassralah is head of the Hezbollah, a terror organisation that is responsible for the followings:

suicide bombings of the U.S. Embassy, which killed 63 including 17 Americans, of the US Marine barracks in Beirut (see Marine Barracks Bombing), which killed 241 American servicemen.

The bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina was the deadliest terrorist attack in that country until 1994, and the deadliest on an Israeli diplomatic mission, killing 29 and wounding 242.

The bombing of the Jewish Cultural Center in Aregentina on 1994, that was Argentina's worst terrorist attack and the largest single incident of terrorism against Jews since World War II. Argentina is home to the largest Jewish community in Latin America. The attack killed 86 people, wounding more than 300.

Chirac still refuses to include Hezbollah in the terror organizations list.

Also, France allowed Hezbollah to open it's network Al-Manar in France, thus enabling Hezbollah to further radicalized the already radical muslim population in France.

Chirac also fail to fight against the wave of anti-Semitism in France, the worst seen in Europe since WW2. Only 3 years ago Chirac was quoted as to "there is no anti-Semitism in France!". France today holds the record in violent anti-Semitic incidents in the world, with more than 300 incidents a year against Europe's largest Jewish community.

For these reasons and more, I don't see France as a worthy member of the western world.

It's population might be western, but it's foreign policy for the last 30 years are anything but western.

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This will answer youre question:

"It's population might be western, but it's foreign policy for the last 30 years are anything but western."

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My question was...Don't you like French people?

"It's population might be western, but it's foreign policy for the last 30 years are anything but western."

I'm afraid you're going to have to explain that some more for me.

You see...(my opinion) As far as people are concerned (French or otherwise) there is very little they can do in respect of their government's foreign policies.

There is actually a drive toward creating a 'one world government' ...It's part of the NWO (New World Order) that we hear so much about just recently...Chirac, he's part of it...So is Blair and Bush and all the other 'sub minded' puppet leaders from around the globe. When one of them (Chirac) in your case, appears to behave in a way that another (like yourself) might find objectionable and/or hostile to one's national interests, then think about this...it's all part of a great big global agenda. And the favourable results of that planned agenda can only succeed if people (such as yourself) are mad enough to point the finger at another person and say "you're the enemy".



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As a neutral observer( although we wont be too neutral anymore when Turkey joins and we will have to share a frontier with the EU; oh my god, I wonder if that is going to be good or bad? It will surely beat having Saddam as a neighbour); it seems to me that there is much confusion among Europeans themselves about what kind of entity the EU is going to be! It doesnt look like individual national interests are going to allow a super state to form and function properly, not like federal America in any case! With the European parliament looking more and more like a moral-lesson-giving gathering rather than a real parliament, it will be interesting to see what the new constitution has in reserve for everyone! Maybe the world will end up with a new religion with the European constitution as its holy text and the parliament as its equivalent college of cardinals!

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lol nice

The thing is zephyr there isnt mainly mainland europeans on this forum we mainly all british we are by far the most insular of the nations in the EU.

Partly because we are sepereate and dont share a border with any country.

We are the only major nation in EU that has a sizeable opposition to becoming part of a superstate .

The rest are all very much keen on the idea.

The thing is britain's economy is about to become the stringest in europe and the rest of the european countries are keen to get theor hands on our economy.

The EU actually does have quite extensive powers by the way and they DO affect our everyday life, especially in Employment, which all the countries HAVE to follow in order to receive the EU grants we all get.

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Wun, I'm afraid the UK's mistake was to abandon the Commonwealth in favour of the EU.

I mean I know the Commonwealth is still up and running, but in the last 30 years, and especially during the 80s, it became more of a symbol than a real political organization.

Think about it - 30% of the world's population is a member of the Commonweatlh. If the UK will restore it's trade rights to the max., I'm sure the Commonwealth, in an EU-like fashion, could become as powerfull as the US and the EU are.

The UK's bet over the EU in my opinion only weakened UK's position in the world.

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vimjams, I'm afraid I can't buy into this.

France's actions in the last 30 years have been strictly anti-Western.

It's like the French world is a seperate world from the rest of Europe.

France is acting as if it is still a super power, and thus aligning itself with people and countries that no one in the west will.

As such, their foreign policy is in conflict of the interest of the west.

I know that you as a European will try to step up for the French, but I see it in a bigger picture - there is not only the EU and the US. There is the West. This civilization connects you and me.

We are both part of the western civilization.

This civilization shares the same values of democracy, economy, and world view regarding human rights.

In this civilization I see France going against the interest of the other members of the civilization.

When France align itself with Hezbollah or Syria or Iraq, they go against the interest of the other western countries, because those countries and organizations are clearly anti-Western.

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It wasnt us who reduced the commonwealth's scope it was the member nations whose public were oppsed to having our flag flown over them.

A bounceback against our colonial past.

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No wun you didn't understand me - I didn't mean that the UK should have remain in all those countries. After the 60s, the Commonwealth was an organization of independent states, that enjoyed trade rights and immigration rights.

The UK shifted it's focus to Europe and weakened the Commonwealth. Today all that left from the Commonwealth are the sport games and an occasional trip of the queen to the member states tongue.gif.

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no , i didnt lol.

I didntt mean we were still IN those countries , i mean the countries resented even being in the organisation because of what it once stood for.


in saying all this you should know that there has been a massive resurgance in the importance of the commonwealth in our country at lease.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I support a united Europe, but please please let the UK go into as 5 seperate states.

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