Term Paper: European Union

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[. . .] .."The text has not had the courage to recognize the historical fact of the influence of Christianity in European culture," said Cardinal Roberto Tucci, president of Radio Vatican. (EU's Draft Constitution Sets Up Raucous Debate, 2003)

The article also reports that some oppose the preamble to the constitution because they feel that it contains political rhetoric. (EU's Draft Constitution Sets Up Raucous Debate, 2003) The author asserts that the wording of the document is dry and lacks the simplicity that is present in the American preamble, which simply reads "We The People." (EU's Draft Constitution Sets Up Raucous Debate, 2003) They feel that the constitution does not focus enough on the citizens that it will serve. (EU's Draft Constitution Sets Up Raucous Debate, 2003)

In short, people that are opposed to the constitution believe that it will give the Union to much power at the expense of the individual member states and the citizens of those states. The article also explains that the constitution does not give the Union powers that are "clear and enforceable." (Lucier 2003) This lack of specificity could be detrimental to member states and result in great divisiveness amongst citizens.

Critical Evaluation

Now that we understand the main powers that are being given to the Union through the constitution and the criticisms of the constitution we can evaluate the extent to which the draft Constitution creates an institutional architecture that both sustainable for the future of Europe and achieves an appropriate inter-institutional balance. We must also take into consideration the original purpose of the EU and the way Europe has evolved. In addition, our evaluation must address the concerns of the European community and the world.

The architecture of the constitution is such that it does have the ability to grow and it also makes concessions for the addition of new nations into the union. In addition, the Union will be responsible for making decisions concerning the international community. This decision making ability will allow the European Union to make definitive decisions regarding support for military and humanitarian efforts throughout the world.

In addition, the architecture of the constitution also gives the European Union even greater control over economic aspects of the continent. Theses economic factors include agriculture and the energy policies. Power over these areas will allow for the economic expansion of an already strong economy.

The architecture of the constitution also attempts to ensure that all of the member states have equal voting rights. The ability of smaller nations to have a fair say in the voting process is essential to the growth of Europe. This means that smaller nations are likely to join the union because they believe that they will be treated fairly.

Overall, the architecture of the constitution will definitely allow for the economic and p[political growth of Europe and the European Union. The drafters of the constitution were able to create a constitution that addressed the concerns of some European nations. In addition, the constitution provides the European Union with definitive power and authority.

The question of whether or not the constitution provides for appropriate inter-institutional balance is a bit more complicated. It seems that in most respects the European Union has been given too much power. A prime example of this is the newfound authority that the European Union has over criminal justice. As we mentioned previously in our discussion, the European Union will have the authority to override the laws of its member states. This amount of power is seen as monumental throughout Europe and the World.

In addition, it seems that in some respects the European Union is attempting to eliminate religious freedom and tolerance. The Union's constitution wants to abandon even the mention of the Christian history of Europe. The problem with this also relates to the Union's ability to override the laws of member nations. For instance, some of the member nations may embrace religious diversity and the mention of the continents Christian history. However, if the EU declares such exercise illegal, there is not much the individual nations can do to reverse the declaration. Many would argue that the European Union would have too much power under the constitution.

This also means that the inter-institutional balance of power is uneven.

Indeed, for an entity that prides itself on being democratic, some of the standards presented in the constitution have many of the leanings of a dictatorship. If the Union is not careful, Europe will become just that. The constitution fails to give the appropriate powers to the individual nations and may run the risk of alienating citizens.

The original purpose of the European Union was to create a unified front. Since the inception and consequent membership of several nations, the EU has accomplished this goal. However, the constitution threatens to create a Europe that is extremely divided. Nations that are not members of the European Union may be forced to join the union because of the economic and political pressures that they will face. On the other hand, nations that are members of the union may feel forced to stay in the union.

There is also some criticism of the constitution in other democratic nations, namely the United States. The United States feels that the European Union will ultimately become a super power that will compete with the United States both economically and militarily. An article in the Washington Times asserts,

European officials on a visit to Washington have sought to ease fears that a European constitution will turn the continent into a political and military rival to the United States. Addressing a conference at the American Enterprise Institute on Tuesday, the European officials noted rising concern on this side of the Atlantic as the European Union moves toward closer consolidation and discussions about raising an independent military force. "Doubts about America's attitude towards a political, and especially military, union in Europe have recently emerged on this side of the Atlantic...a school of thinking in the United States "tends to greet new European initiatives with a mixture of ambivalence, trepidation and skepticism."(Soulas 2003)

While international opinion is important, the European Union must do what it deem appropriate for the European Continent. Many argue that the right thing for the European Continent is to create a united front that is strong. While others contend that a unified Europe should not come at the expense of alienating the continent from the rest of the world. In any case, the European Union will have a huge task on is hands for many years to come.

Discussion and Conclusion

We began our discussion with a brief overview of the European Union and the nations that are a part of the entity. We found that there were several changes that would take place under the constitution. These changes included; Foreign Policy, The Presidency, The power of the European Union, Commission reform and the division of responsibility.

Our investigation also focused on the criticisms that the constitution faced. We found that many dis agreed with the wording of the constitution, while others disagreed about the amount of power that the European Union would have under the constitution. Opponents contend that the constitution takes too much power away from the member states and gives it to the European Union. Some even charge that the drafters of the constitution had no right to create the document. Other opponents believe that the preamble to the constitution lacks simplicity and attempts to abandon the Christian history of the continent.

The purpose of this discussion was to investigate the details of the draft constitution.

In particular, this discussion sought to critically evaluate the extent to which the draft Constitution creates an institutional architecture that both sustainable for the future of Europe and achieves an appropriate inter-institutional balance. We found that the constitution is designed in a manner that is sustainable for the growth of Europe. We concluded that the economic powers given to the European Union will ensure the future expansion of the Union and the continent on the international stage.

On the other hand, we found that the European Union does not provide appropriate inter-institutional balance. Our investigation suggests that the European Union has been given too much power under the constitution. We also found that this amount of power is reminiscent of the dictatorship rather than a democracy. We concluded that this amount of power could ultimately lead to instability in Europe and be counterproductive to the original goals of the European Europe. Indeed, the constitution of the European Union will be an issue of debate for years to come. The union must find a health balance between unifying the continent and assuring that the member states retain some of the authority over the way that their nations operate.

REFERENCES http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5001938764

EU's Draft Constitution Sets Up Raucous Debate; Religion, Balance of Power at Issue. (2003, June 2). The Washington Times, p. A01.

European Union at a Glance.(2004) Retrieved August 17, 2004, at http://europa.eu.int/abc/index2_en.htm

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