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3rd Mar 2024

German MP tries to stop EU Constitution ratification

A German MP is filing a legal complaint to the country's constitutional court against the German parliament's proposed ratification of the European Constitution next month.

Centre-right MP Peter Gauweiler on Monday (25 April) presented the constitutional court with the legal action which he is hoping will stop the bill to pass the EU charter on 12 May.

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The MP says that the Constitution will take power away from the German parliament arguing in a written statement that the EU charter "definitively" oversteps the boundaries that the German constitution provides for the integration of state institutions in the EU.

Mr Gauweiler also claims that the German parliament cannot give more rights to the EU than it has itself.

Instead Mr Gauweiler wants the European Constitution to be passed by referendum, although, currently, plebiscites are only called when the country restructures federal territory.

But Mr Gauweiler is arguing that there is room in the German constitution to introduce a referendum, a spokesperson for the MP told EUobserver.

Article 20 of the German constitution says that all state authority is derived from the people and shall be exercised "by the people through elections and other votes and through specific legislative, executive and judicial bodies".

The centre-right MP's legal challenge has been dismissed by the German government.

"The (German) Basic Law is quite clear and I would risk the prediction that Mr Gauweiler's challenge has no chance of success," said the government spokesperson, according to German media.

The spokesperson also saw no chance of a postponement of the ratification date arguing that the lower house will vote on 12 May and the upper house on 27 May as planned.

But Mr Gauweiler is not the only German politician unhappy with the Constitution. According to German media, up to 20 MPs from the Bavaria-based centre-right CSU may vote against the document.

This would be for various reasons, including the fact that the Constitution makes no reference to Christianity as well as fears that too much power is going to the executive - the Commission and Council - rather than legislative bodies in the EU.

The German government decided to ratify the EU Constitution in May so that its widely-expected approval would give a boost to the French referendum on the document at the end of May.

All 25 member states have to ratify the EU Constitution for it to come into force. So far, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovenia, Greece, and Italy have all given the green light via their parliaments while Spanish citizens have said yes in a referendum.

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