No United States of Europe, but a new European Union

A national anthem for the EU had been proposed

Lissabons Treaty

Those who aren’t thrilled about the prospect of the EU moving towards a federal state can stop their worrying, even if the Treaty of Lisbon is ratified.

The European Union is not turning into a federal state; instead, it is becoming a completely new kind of system with the states yielding parts of their sovereignty to joint organs.

This vision was expressed by Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen, MP and candidate for the European Parliament Kimmo Kiljunen and Director Teija Tiilikainen. The three represented Finland in a convention that discussed the future constitution of the EU, now called the Treaty of Lisbon). Vanhanen also participated in an intergovernmental conference that continued the work of the convention.

"The conference dropped some characteristics of a federal state, such as a national anthem and the Europe Day, from the convent's proposal," Vanhanen says.

"I believe that it was a psychological mistake to include them in the original draft."

The work of the convention, working from 2002 to 2004, received even more criticism from the three.

Kiljunen told of internal disagreement, leading to differing expectations for the outcome by the three largest member states, the United Kingdom, France and Germany.

Vanhanen also says that after the constitution was discarded, the failed referendums of France and the Netherlands were not properly dealt with.

"Despite the referendums, the ratification in other countries should have been completed. Now a new round of increased demands preceded the Treaty of Lisbon, with member states fishing for more benefits."

Even if a dose of constitutional thinking was included by the Treaty of Lisbon, there will still be problems.

"Two parallel systems are still in operation in the European Union, the national parliaments and the parliament of the European Union. The relationship of these will not be clarified in the new treaty," Tiilikainen observes.

"This is a major problem, easier said than solved."

Text: Juha Merimaa
Photo: EU's photoarchive
6.4.2009
www.helsinki.fi/digitalcommunications

Translation: AAC Noodi Oy


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