3rd Dec 2022

'Federal' removed from Constitution draft

The Convention's presidium has decided to remove the word "federal" from the EU Constitution draft, after fears that EU member states' powers were seen to be slowly drifting to Brussels.

A compromise appears to have been struck between the Convention chair Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and the UK Premier Tony Blair, the Financial Times reports today.

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However, the move seems to be largely symbolic and does not compromise the draft constitution, in its present form. For the f-word to be removed, the preamble to the constitution would still speak of "an ever closer union of the peoples of Europe".

This last-minute change follows efforts by the drafting team which worked behind closed doors for the last two days with the aim of finishing the first full draft of the EU Constitution tonight, the FT said.

The elite drafting team also scrapped plans to give Brussels control over national economies, the Telegraph reported.

This change was made to an Article in the Constitution draft, which said that member states' economic policies shall be co-ordinated by the Union. The newspaper reports that the new text will restore primacy to member states, making it clear that they co-ordinate their own economies, albeit in the "framework of the Union".

Two countries that are backing this change are France and Germany.

These developments have been reported by the UK press as a victory to Mr Blair after furious protests ensued over the revolutionary proposals in the first draft Articles.

The name European Union is also likely to stay, despite suggestions such as "United Europe" and "United States of Europe".

The use of "European Union" in the Constitution draft text, which had previously been left blank when it came to a name, indicated that nobody had raised objections and that this would be the name, British officials involved in the Convention told the BBC.

The European Convention will be debating the draft Constitution text next month and the final amended work will be handed over to EU leaders on 20 June at the Thessaloniki summit.

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