Wednesday, June 01, 2005

What is really happening in the EU?

Most of the traditional media are speculating that the rejection of the EU constitution in France and the spiking of it in the Netherlands is somehow a reaction against free market policies of the bureaucrats in Brussels. Indeed, as Chancellor Schroeder once commented there are very high expectations for a social welfare state - he said 'Germany has the oldest university students and the youngest retirees in the world." - so there is some of that.

I suspect that while that is part of it - the real reason is the inherent intelligence of the voters and their manifest distrust of the elites. This afternoon I went through the proposed draft and picked out only a few examples of the absurdity of some of the language in the lengthy document. The document includes lots of vague detail. Declarations of rights which by any reasonable standard would be uneforceable in any reasonable proceeding but expanding expectations none-the-less. Perhaps the voters did not act out of fear but more appropriately out of "self interest rightly understood." I think those areas of improvement will remain - but the non and nee of the last few days and nein and no that would come from other places will be there as long as the voters feel the soft and hard effects of bureaucratic interventions in their lives.

If the elites are smart in this, and based on the comments from the Marshall Fund person a few days ago (*quoted several days ago) they may not be, they will think a bit more carefully about the real business of drafting a constitution not a laundry list.

Posted below are just some examples of the absurdities in the European Constitution.
ARTICLE II-89 Everyone has the right of access to a free placement service.
ARTICLE II-91 1. Every worker has the right to working conditions which respect his or her health, safety and
dignity. 2. Every worker has the right to limitation of maximum working hours, to daily and weekly
rest periods and to an annual period of paid leave.
ARTICLE II-112 1. Any limitation on the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognised by this Charter must be
provided for by law and respect the essence of those rights and freedoms. Subject to the principle
of proportionality, limitations may be made only if they are necessary and genuinely meet
objectives of general interest recognised by the Union or the need to protect the rights and freedoms
of others. 2. Rights recognised by this Charter for which provision is made in other Parts of the
Constitution shall be exercised under the conditions and within the limits defined by these relevant
Parts. 3. Insofar as this Charter contains rights which correspond to rights guaranteed by the
Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the meaning and scope
of those rights shall be the same as those laid down by the said Convention. This provision shall
not prevent Union law providing more extensive protection. 4. Insofar as this Charter recognises fundamental rights as they result from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States, those rights shall be interpreted in harmony with those traditions. 5. The provisions of this Charter which contain principles may be implemented by legislative
and executive acts taken by institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union, and by acts of
Member States when they are implementing Union law, in the exercise of their respective powers.
They shall be judicially cognisable only in the interpretation of such acts and in the ruling on their
legality. 6. Full account shall be taken of national laws and practices as specified in this Charter.
7. The explanations drawn up as a way of providing guidance in the interpretation of the Charter
of Fundamental Rights shall be given due regard by the courts of the Union and of the Member