9th Apr 2020

Giscard: rather no Constitution than a bad Constitution

The architect of the draft Constitution on Europe, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, has delivered a sombre message on the on-going talks on the treaty blueprint.

Speaking in Brussels on Friday (4 December) at a reconvening of the MEPs and MPs who drew up the draft Constitution, Mr Giscard said " ... we would have rather no constitution than a bad constitution; than a mutilated Constitution".

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He called on MEPs and MPs to make their protests calmly - " with equanimity but with some force".

He accused governments of picking apart the text saying that their job is to improve the Constitution "but certainly not to water it down" - citing moves on criminal law, economic governance and the powers of the European Parliament as evidence of back tracking.

Former Convention members should lodge their complaints with the European Council - EU leaders - which "is the level at which political will can be expressed", said Mr Giscard.

His comments come just a week before EU leaders will gather in Brussels in an attempt to finalise the Constitution.

Ten point wish list

The Convention members' general complaints take the form of a joint declaration with a 10-point wish list.

These points, which "are indispensable for the enlarged Union to act" include requests that the European Parliament's right over the EU budget not be undermined, that the European Commission be a "strong manageable executive in which all nationalities have an equal chance of access" and that the equality of men and women be inserted as an EU value.

The statement justifies the demands with the sentence: "recalling the outstanding legitimacy of the European Convention and the richness of its work".

For its part, the Italian Presidency did as much as it could to reassure the group.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said "It is better not to have a Constitution at all ... than to keep watering down the results of the Convention" - adding that they were determined to produce a "high profile" text.

Despite the general gloom surrounding the meeting with its focus on the few but very controversial issues still left on the table - generally to do with institutional questions - some sounded a positive note.

Inigo Mendez de Vigo, a Spanish MEP and influential member of the Convention, said afterwards to journalists.

"I think the IGC is following the text fairly faithfully".

He also said he thought there is still a "margin for agreement" on institutional issues ahead of the December 12-13 Summit.


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