Letter: Why Europe needs a constitution

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Sir: The most important decision that the European Council could make, either in Birmingham or Edinburgh, would be to create a European constitutional convention charged with the task of writing a clear and lasting constitution for the European Community.

Jacques Delors' challenge to write a brief, comprehensive, but universally acceptable, definition of subsidiarity is extremely pertinent. People want to know at which level decisions will be taken. But this should not be yet another hastily thought out amendment to previous treaties. Europe now requires a constitution that defines the fundamental political objectives of the European Union and establishes a clear and lasting allocation of powers.

The convention should consist of delegated members of national parliaments, members of the European Parliament, and representatives of the governments of the member states. The European Commission should be charged with submitting the first draft. The convention would be required to seek the views of as many interested groups as possible, but most especially the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. The ratification of the final report of the convention would not rest with the European Council, however, nor even with the parliaments of the member states, but would require the approval of the citizens of Europe through referendums held simultaneously in all the member states.

A constitution that has the backing of the citizens of Europe is the surest way to bring about democratic European government able to tackle the urgent economic problems confronting the whole Community.

Yours faithfully,



European Movement United


London, SW1

15 October