February 25, 2015
Prior to the 2014 elections the EU’s leading federalist and constitution specialist, Andrew Duff, oversaw the writing and drafting of the Fundamental Law Treaty to amend the Lisbon Treaty. The aim is for the EU to form a federal government to help it function more efficiently and eliminate many of the problems the EU has been encountering. The recent crisis’s have threatened the EU edifices, which were launched to help European citizens achieve greater prosperity.
Andrew Duff, is currently helping to prompt the initiation of an intergovernmental conference, which is the first official step for a treaty revision. His latest book, “Penelope, Pandora and Polity: How to Save the European Union, details the need for a federal government for the EU to overcome its structural problems. He is currently speaking throughout the EU to educate EU citizens on his proposals.
EU architect’s like Andrew Duff aim for a Europe that is united similar to a United States of Europe. According to EU critics, men like Andrew Duff are faceless bureaucrats out of touch with the citizens of the European Union. This is not the case with Andrew Duff. He makes continuous efforts to draw close to the citizen. In his books he invites EU citizens to his twitter account to comment on his proposals. Andrew Duff also contributes to several blog sites and writes letters to the editor, which is unheard of from a man who is lumped in with the political elite. Andrew Duff even appeared in the comment section of an article correcting the journalist who wrote it.
In one particular interview, Andrew Duff was questioned by a youth who suffered a disability from Speak Up, an award winning charity for the disabled. According to Speak Up’s website, Andrew Duff stopped in to see them.
Andrew Duff is helping write the EU’s future and while pressing for the initiation of the Fundamental Law he makes every attempt to get as close to the people as possible. This is reflected in his affirmation that “the Constitution belongs to the citizen.” Andrew Duff’s actions mirror his words.
While this interview provides a view into the EU’s move forward, and takes an in-depth look at the Fundamental Law, while getting a glimpse into the mind of the man who wrote it, we see Mr. Duff’s emphasis on the preeminent Member State within the EU and the role of the citizen.
Europa lists seven Treaties and one act that make up the European Union, but you list many more in your book on Pandora, Penelope and Polity, How to Change the European Union. How many actual Treaties make up the Union and how many Acts?
The Treaties process- the founding Treaties, which go back to the Treaty in Paris in 1951 and all those things that have happened throughout that period, comprise a corpus of constitutional law, which is the statute of the European Union.
The pile of these Treaties- when you pile them up on a table, is very tall and very heavy. The drafting hasn’t always been very good. In fact [it has] frequently been drafted so that the outcomes and figutes have sort of disguised the purpose of changing the Treaties- the [Member] States have clouded in ambiguity- when they drafted these things.
It is not a surprise that the public is uncertain as to their meaning. It’s very difficult. It is very hard to oblige the citizen to be interested in constitutional law. The American people think they have this great thing the constitution, but they’ve never read it. They have no idea how much its grown with amendment after amendment and how complex it is has become…this idea that it is a simple concise clear thing like the Magna Carta for instance.
I have certain questions regarding the Fundamental Law. The Member States play a significant role in the EU’s political evolution and have derailed its momentum and progress at times, does this change with the Fundamental Law?
Yes, the Fundamental Law displays or it illustrates what a federal union would be like. The States are still there. They still play and important part especially as the component of the second chamber of the legislature- in critical issues of global strategy for instance the Ukrainian crisis. The States and especially the Prime Ministers and Presidents of the larger States have a important part to play in such a global crisis. But, they aren’t in the federal prospectus that I’ve put forward. As it were the masters of the Treaties; the Treaties become a Constitution and the Constitution belongs to the citizen, which has popular sovereignty- to own the Treaty construct, which at present it does not. It’s not up to lawyers and diplomats. We want to bring the exercise closer to the people so that there is a sense of identity with the government of the union that at present people just don’t have.
I want to ask you some questions about what I see as inconsistencies in the Fundamental Law. The Fundamental Law or “the Law of the Union.” reclassifies Member States as States and its aim is to establish full-fledged Federal Union. Yet, in several areas it reverts back to the nation state having preeminence such as in the UN.
Article 414, it states:
States which are also members of the United Nations Security Council will concert and keep the other States and the Foreign Minister fully informed. States which are members of the Security Council will in the execution of their functions, defend the positions and the interests of the Union, without prejudice to their responsibilities under the provisions of the United Nations Charter.
Once the Fundamental Law establishes the EU as a United States of Europe and it is a federal union, wouldn’t the States that hold seats in the Security Council cease to exist as sovereign nations and have to withdraw from the Security Council, such as West Germany, Czechoslovakia? The follow up question to that is, once the Fundamental Law is established and the EU achieves political union wouldn’t the federalized EU need to submit a new application to the UN and apply as a member because it will be an actual government for the people?
Yes, I think that one’s not to preempt or preclude from anything happening in the years to come. The problem in the present treaties is it is very prohibited to what you can’t do, what you mustn’t do.
What I want to do is to create a treaty- constitutional treaty -that is more permissive that will permit the development of a common foreign security and defense policy in its time and as circumstances permit.
If I had sought at this stage to prescribe the abolition of the permanent seats of France and the UK in the Security Council of the UN- in the absence of any larger reform of the UN, incidentally, which is a different issue but an associated one- I think that would have been considered to be rather absurd. One has to be pragmatic. One can have aspirations. One can have clear objectives, but I think that in the means to achieve a common international policy, one has to recognize it’s going to take time. It’s going to take process. There is going to be a process of integration as simulation of building trust between the States of the EU in each other’s diplomacy-sharing intelligence’s-but treatment is a very sensitive issue.
Yes, it’s very delicate, and to try to balance that as well.
So one I think can’t be too naive about this.
So that was deliberate then, that was deliberate to not take that step because that would be too offensive?
For more from Andrew Duff follow him on twitter @AndrewDuffEU, and be sure to purchase a copy of his book. Penelope, Pandora and Polity: How To Change The European Union. Also be on the lookout for the next interview in this series, which continues to take a deep look into the Fundamental Law and Europe’s move forward.
Author : Erika Grey