Letter:Confederal Europe needs time to evolve

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your article on Britain and Europe contained much good sense and should help to promote a more reasoned debate. However, I have to take issue with your contention that "What holds us together before everything is a shared attitude to human rights and market freedoms, so a charter of rights should be at the core of the Union."

Human rights, yes, of course, but the concept of a free market is a harmful illusion that deserves no enshrinement in a European Constitution. We would do better to protect the principles of genuine economic and environmental sustainability. In a world of finite resources, economic growth cannot be maintained. What is important is that the economy is dynamic, stable, and participatory. Important features of such an economy include democratic accountability and local production for local consumption, thus minimising pollution and other damage associated with transport of goods over great distances.

If this means the dismantling of consumer capitalist economics and its "market freedoms" and its replacement by new economic practices which promote the well-being of all sections of the population and our natural resources then we will have truly taken a step forward.

DAVID CROMWELL

e-mail: ddc@soc.soton.ac.uk

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