Wednesday

26th Apr 2017

Constitution remains God-less

The European Constitution will remain without a reference to Christianity, under new proposals by the Irish EU Presidency.

In a paper dealing with eleventh-hour issues circulated to governments on Sunday (12 June), Dublin moderates the lengthy preamble to the Constitution but does not add any reference to God or Christianity.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The preamble keeps the wording "drawing inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe".

Dublin's decision follows strong pressure from Belgium, in particularly, but also France to keep the text free from any specific religious references.

Both countries are lay states and argued that a separate article in the Constitution anchoring the status and role of churches is enough.

But it will be a blow for countries such as Poland and Italy, who along with five other member states, recently sent a letter to the Presidency on issue.

"This issue remains a priority for our Governments, but also for many representatives of the European Parliament and of National Parliaments, as well as for millions of European citizens", said the letter sent last month.

Referring to the paper, an Irish diplomat said "we don't believe it will be possible to get a consensus on the issue; that is why we haven't proposed anything".

However, the diplomat did not rule out that the issue will be left to EU leaders to deal with at the end of the week.

No philosophising

The Irish have also cut down the wordy preamble to the Constitution drawn up alone by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, the architect of the treaty.

The quote by Greek philosopher Thucydides, which Mr Giscard inserted at the beginning of preamble, has been unceremoniously dropped as has the wordy first paragraph on Europe bringing forth civilisation.

However, they stopped far short of a Finnish proposal - made last year - to scrap the whole thing, and most of it remains.

"He [Mr Giscard] should still be happy that 90% of his magnum opus remains", remarked an EU diplomat dryly.

Eurozone bank needs more scrutiny, says NGO

Transparency International says eurozone's central bank is not subject to "appropriate democratic scrutiny" and should have no say on EU bailout projects.

Analysis

From Bratislava to Rome: Little more than a show of unity

The so-called Bratislava process of reflection for the EU came to an end on Saturday, but there were few tangible results that citizens could take away from the soul-searching. Despite that, unity among the EU-27 has been maintained.

Rome summit tries to restart EU momentum

EU 27 leaders in Rome to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of Treaty of Rome, in bid to counter rising challenges after Brexit. But new ideas are scarce.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Controlling the right of repeal

There was a distinct air of finality about Sir Tim Barrow's personal delivery of the Article 50 letter in Brussels – it certainly marks the end of an era.

Be fair in Brexit talks, EU tells UK

European Council chief Tusk sent draft guidelines to member states. He said the EU wants "fairness" and then warned against using security cooperation as bargaining chip.

News in Brief

  1. EU parliament moves to lift Le Pen's immunity
  2. EU Commission launches probe into Hungary's university law
  3. Scots slowly losing appetite for independence - poll
  4. Council of Europe puts Turkey on watch list
  5. EU to put parental leave on political agenda
  6. Israel cancels German meeting over human rights groups
  7. Hungary's Orban will participate in EU parliament debate
  8. Malta floats cash-for-refugees plan

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  3. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  4. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  5. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  6. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  7. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  8. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?
  10. European Free AllianceEFA MEPs Vote in Favor of European Parliament's Brexit Mandate
  11. Mission of China to the EUXinhua Insight: China to Open up Like Never Before
  12. World VisionViolence Becomes New Normal for Syrian Children

Latest News

  1. Brexit is about Europe's future as well
  2. Power struggle in Greenland: Three reasons why the EU should care
  3. Nordic and Baltic countries step up digitalisation efforts
  4. European states still top media freedom list
  5. Let’s not put European public health at risk
  6. Threatened Budapest university calls for EU support
  7. Orban set to face down EU threats
  8. Dont expect 'quick fix' in Syria, China tells EU