The Socialist Unity Network

We should welcome a referendum on euro Constitution

Eamonn McCann

This article first appeared on the website of the
Socialist Environmental Alliance and has been reproduced with their kind permission

Socialist Environmental Alliance European candidate, Eamonn McCann, has welcomed the planned referendum on a European Constitution.


"Europe is widely seen as irrelevant to everyday life here", says Mr. McCann. "But one of our reasons for standing in June's election is to highlight the way many major issues of concern to ordinary people are affected by EU policies.


"The referendum should spark a wide debate on what kind of Europe we want - a Social Europe of solidarity and justice or a market-led Europe that tries to compete with the US in the economic and military spheres.


Mr. McCann claims that the way the proposed EU Constitution has been presented by mainstream politicians has been 'deceitful'.


"They have given the impression that the most divisive issues in the Constitution are around the voting powers of the various countries. Certainly, we have concerns about the effect of some of the voting changes proposed.


"However", the socialist argues, "the real issues for trade unionists, anti-war and anti-racist activists are hidden in the detail of the Constitution and, without a referendum, we would have little chance of bringing these issues out into the open.


"There are four main areas of concern: the proposed Constitution opens many of our public services, including health and education, to privatisation; it increases the militarisation of Europe and obliges member states to 'progressively improve their military capabilities'; it promotes investment in nuclear power; and it will make it more difficult for people fleeing war and persecution to obtain asylum in Europe.


"There are, of course, elements of the proposed Constitution that are to be welcomed", says Mr. McCann. "For example, it incorporates the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which at present has no power. This broadens out human rights to include social and economic rights, a welcome development. However, even here there are concerns since it also allows basic human rights to be limited it this is seen to meet 'the objectives of general interest recognised by the Union'.



April 2004

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