Thursday

9th Apr 2020

No UK referendum on Constitution

The UK government is not prepared to give the British people a say in a referendum on the new EU constitution being currently drawn up by the European Convention in Brussels.

"In effect, the existing treaties are already an EU constitution. However, they are overly complex and unclear. For this reason, the Government supports redrafting and restructuring the treaties", the UK Foreign Office said in a letter to the all-party Eurosceptic Democracy Movement. The Movement requested to know whether there would be a referendum on the Constitution currently being drafted in the Convention chaired by former French president, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"Such a redrafted text, more clearly labelled an EU constitution, will not fundamentally change the relationship between the EU and its citizens, nor alter the position of nation states as the fundamental basis of the European Union," the ministry said.

"A new restructured treaty, or amendments to the existing treaties would need to be ratified according to the individual constitutional arrangements in each of the Member States. In the UK, the Government is committed to the existing system of parliamentary democracy, rather than public referenda. As with the Nice Treaty, and all other previous treaties amending the original treaty structure, any new amendments would have to stand up to rigorous scrutiny by Parliament before the UK could ratify", Mr Neill Sharp replied on behalf of the British Foreign Office.

Marc Glendening, DM campaign director commented: "It is clear that Tony Blair wants to ratify the EU constitution, which will make Brussels the principal decision making body for all European citizens, without the voters being able to give or withhold their consent. New Labour has no mandate to ratify the next EU treaty in 2004 since at no time during the last election campaign did it reveal that it intended to sign the British people up to an EU constitution."

Analysis

First 100 days: Digital and Green Deal policies hit by crises

The first 100 days of Ursula von der Leyen's commission were supposed to be about the digital and environmental transitions. However, that agenda has been hit by first the coronavirus, and now the Greek border situation.

Feature

How corporate lobbyists steer EU law-making

Former EUobserver investigations editor Peter Teffer has written a new book about how lobbying in the EU works. The EU's focus on the internal market offers corporate lobbyists a perfect means to forward their interests.

Investigation

G4S: the EU's preferred security contractor

The British multinational security company G4S lost its contract with the European Parliament in 2011 in a backlash from MEPs over alleged abuses in Israel. Today, they guard the parliament's main entrance and have become the EU's top security provider.

Exclusive

EU commissioner lobbied by energy firm he owns shares in

EU budget commissioner Johannes Hahn owns 2,200 shares in Austria's largest electricity provider. Those shares have tripled in value since he first declared them in 2014. In January, the firm met his head of cabinet to discuss climate policy.

EU transparency on lobbyist meetings still piecemeal

Small steps are being made to reveal who is lobbying who within the EU. But the approach is basically haphazard and piecemeal - meaning the public remains largely in the dark and unable to truly scrutinise the influencers.

'Top-down' future of Europe conference 'will fail' warning

The new president of the Committee of the Regions has warned the EU Commission that a top-down, centralised, Brussels-driven conference will fail to rebuild trust in Europe. Instead, he proposes a stronger say for local and regional authorities.

News in Brief

  1. EU injunction blocks Polish judicial tribunal
  2. EU's science chief resigns over 'disappointing' Covid-19 action
  3. EU urged to help abused women under lockdown
  4. Luxembourg to take 12 Greece-based refugees
  5. Thirteen EPP national groups call for suspending Fidesz
  6. WhatsApp imposes restriction on message forwarding
  7. EU military operations continue despite virus
  8. EU to ask firms to hedge against future pandemics

This is the (finally) approved European Commission

MEPs gave the green light to the entire new European Commission during the plenary session in Strasbourg - but with the abstention of the Greens and a rejection by the leftist group GUE/NGL.

Magazine

Welcome to the EU engine room

Welcome to the EU engine room: the European Parliament (EP's) 22 committees, which churn out hundreds of new laws and non-binding reports each year and which keep an eye on other European institutions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAMaking Europe’s Economy Circular – the time is now
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  3. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  4. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us