EU constitution alive and kicking?

The cabinet is prepared to allow most of the proposed EU constitution to be implemented, according to today’s Volkskrant. The paper bases its claims on an analysis of speeches and memos by ministers on the changes they want to the constitution. The Netherlands rejected the constitution by almost 62% in a referendum in 2005.

The Dutch proposals include removing passages about the European flag and anthem as well as the 15-page Charter of Fundamental Rights, the Volkskrant reports. Another 150 pages can be scrapped by removing text that overlaps with the treaties of Nice, Amsterdam and Maastricht, the paper claims.
Many of the measures the Dutch want to see implemented – such as more power for national parliaments, a smaller European Commission and more cooperation between member states on climate, energy, environmental and immigration policy – are already part of the constitution, the Volkskrant says.
‘The main driving force behind the constitution is unchanged,’ Liberal (VVD) MP Hans van Baalen told the paper. ‘Essential items such as the size of the commission, the voting relationship between member states and the scrapping of our veto rights are unchanged.’
Christian Democrat (CDA) MP Henk Jan Ormel pointed out that 18 of the 27 EU countries have approved the constitution. ‘It will already be quite an achievement if the cabinet succeeds in changing 5% of the constitution. The remaining 95% will remain as it is,’ he told the paper.
European affairs minister Frans Timmermans said he was surprised by the MPs conclusions. ‘The constitutional elements have disappeared from the text,’ Timmermans said.

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