Welcome to our feature on the proposed EU Constitution. There are some points to bear in mind.

First - the terms 'Constitution' and 'Constitutional Treaty' get used interchangeably. Any changes to the current Treaty establishing the EU (The Treaty of Nice) are decided by governments ('intergovernmentally') who will sign a new Treaty.

Second - the European Union has already got a Constitution of sorts - although like the British Constitution - it is not all in a single document. The term acquis communautaire is used to summarise the current body of Treaties, European Community legislation and European Court judgements passed over the years. Most significantly this contains a ratchet that any powers transferred by member states stay at a European level.

Third - some countries, notably Denmark, UK and Republic of Ireland require referendums for what will be constitutional changes for them. Treaty ratification has to be unanimous, otherwise the new [Constitutional] Treaty does not come into force. French and Dutch 'No's create a problem. A political stitch-up, such as forcing a re-run is possible, however 2004 saw speculation that EU Governments might threaten to break ('abrogate') the current Treaty with those members that did not (for whatever reason) ratify the new Treaty. This would in theory require them to accept the new Treaty or leave the EU. Watch this space...

Our analysis of the main changes is now on-line. For links to official documents and websites, archive material and other analysis, click for our continuation page. National Platform's comments (2004) and the European Foundation's commentary (Oct 2003) are recommended as being valuable and 'nearly up to date'. Read them all with our news updates and "Why you can't trust New Labour" feature below.

Latest developments, Open Europe Latest developments, ePolitix
UK Presidency, reviewed Integration by stealth
Developments analysed
EUreferendum - recommended 'blog'
Proposed EU Constitution: incompatible
with ours, by John Bingley
Current 'EU constitution' or legal order
- in simple terms
European legal supremacy?
- chapter and verse
Britain's historic Constitution, Q+A International Law and EU withdrawal
'The EU Constitutional Treaty: How to deal with the Ratification Bottleneck' (PDF, 52kB)
by Greco and Tocaso, of Italy's IAI.
What if the Constitution isn't ratified?
- EPC Report, by Lucia Rossi.
(Virtually right, covers 'nuclear options')
Winning a Referendum -
is withdrawal the issue?
Life after EU?
What if Britain made a clean break?
People's No Campaign
Calls for a UK vote
Warning against complacency,
Jeffrey Donaldson MP speech to Bruges Group
'Vote-No' Campaign European 'No' Campaign
Tory contradictions Why you can't trust New Labour
New Alliance Index Page New Alliance Home Page


Date this page first compiled: 22 June 2003. links updated 4 July 2006;
Official document links now on a separate page