PART 11 | 01 APRIL – 15 APRIL 2022
Article VI of the US Constitution gives States that would accede to the Federal Constitution the opportunity to enter into Federation membership knowing that they would be supported by the Federation in meeting their financial and contractual obligations that they had prior to signing the Constitution. In the first Clause of our Article X, we adopt this arrangement. Debts and contractual obligations of those Member States - contracted before their ratification of the
European Constitution - are also valid vis-à-vis the United States of Europe.
The Federation thus helps them to meet their financial and contractual obligations, as is already the case in the Eurozone to keep impoverished EU countries afloat. The Eurozone realizes that a common currency must have a common economic base; this should be no different in the United States of Europe as we outline it in this Constitution. This financial basis for the Member States can be further strengthened by creating a Fiscal Union. For the argumentation, see Chapter 3 of the 'Constitutional and Institutional Toolkit for Establishing the Federal United States of Europe'.
After the Constitution comes into force, member states that do not get their finances in order cannot count on amalgamation of their debts by the federal government again. In order to safeguard the functioning of the United States of Europe, States that join the Federation after its creation will not be able to benefit from this aid. These States will therefore have to put their financial affairs in order before being admitted.
As has already been mentioned several times, the drafters of the American Constitution were bold enough not to require (as the Articles of Confederation required) the unanimity of the States concerned, but to state that the Constitution would enter into force upon nine ratifications out of the envisaged thirteen. It must be said that they were not so much aiming at the number 'nine' as at the fact that nine was a two-thirds majority of thirteen. For us, a two-thirds majority is not so relevant because the Treaty of Lisbon, in Article 20 of the Treaty on European Union, provides the basis for enhanced cooperation by nine Member States. That is enough to keep the number 'nine' as the criterion for establishing a federal Europe of nine Member States.
So much for the draft Constitution for the United States of Europe. Short and to the point - bearing in mind Napoleon Bonaparte's 1804 statement: "The best constitution is the concise and pithy one." A long way from the legal monstrosity known as the Lisbon Treaty with its more than 400 complex articles and many derogations. Leave that Treaty intact for now to accompany the dying process of the intergovernmental operating system. But use the only appropriate political
instrument for the creation of the United States of Europe, namely a true federal Constitution. This is the leap that is needed now, while the EU is falling apart. This is perhaps what former Commission President Romano Prodi meant in 2000 when he said: "Great reforms will make a great Europe."
Let us recall once again that the American founding fathers gave substance to Prodi's statement avant la lettre back in 1787 by committing three acts of gross disobedience. Firstly, by disobeying the order to meet in Philadelphia to amend their treaty the ‘Articles of Confederation’. They turned their backs on that and designed a federal Constitution. Second, by submitting the draft of that federal Constitution not to the Confederal Congress for ratification, but to the citizens of those States through a system of electoral delegates. Thirdly, they ignored the treaty requirement of unanimity: if the Citizens of only nine States agreed, the Constitution would enter into force. Three steps out of the box; a paradigm shift of the purest kind.
Do not say that this draft by analogy with the US Constitution is alien to European political culture and philosophy and should therefore be rejected. Those who say that do not know the history of Europe. What the Americans drafted at the end of the 18th century was directly derived from the constitutional and institutional thinking of the European political philosophers of the time, including in particular Montesquieu, Rousseau, and Locke. So, a federal Constitution for Europe on the American model, but based on European ones, is nothing other than finally coming home. What the Americans realised only eleven years after their independence in 1776 - finding one authority that encompasses them all as a remedy for degenerating fragmentation, from which Europe suffers more than ever - Europe is only now about to achieve, more than two hundred years after the French Revolution. We can be amazed and annoyed by it. Better to be glad that it finally seems to be happening.
An additional advantage of this type of Constitution is the high degree of difficulty in adapting it. The conditions for adapting it are a great guarantee against influence by national or even nationalistic tendencies of member states. No European state can reasonably dispute the correctness of this concise Constitution: it does not threaten any existing right or interest of any state, but places the responsibility on the higher, European level where it must be placed, in order to meet global challenges. It is precisely the phenomenon of intergovernmentalism whereby each Member State wants to see its own interests incorporated into the treaty that binds them together almost definitively that breaks down the commonality. A compact Constitution such as this leaves no doubt as to the extent of the commonality and offers no room for Member State particularism. The fundamental strength of this Constitution is the distribution of horizontal power over the trias politica and the distribution of vertical power over sovereign powers of a federal authority and sovereign powers of the States. There is no political hierarchy between the two levels of government.
Finally, this. The ratification of this European Constitution is a task and a matter for the Citizens of Europe. Not of the current European Parliament, not of the European Council, not of the European Commission, not of the national Parliaments or their Governments. But of the Citizens.
Article X – Ratification of the Constitution
The ratification by a simple majority of the Citizens of nine States of Europe, followed by an approval thereof by their respective parliaments, will be sufficient for this Constitution of the European Federal Union to come into force.
The drafters of the American Constitution were bold enough not to require (as the Articles of Confederation required) the unanimity of the thirteen States concerned, but to state that the Constitution would enter into force upon nine ratifications. It must be said that they were not so much aiming at the number 'nine' as at the fact that nine was a two-thirds majority of thirteen.
For our Constitution, a two-thirds majority is not so relevant because the Treaty of Lisbon, in Article 20 of the Treaty on European Union, provides the basis for enhanced cooperation by nine Member States. Which cooperation, in our opinion, can be a federal organisation. That is enough to keep the number 'nine' as criterium for the European Federal Union to come into force.
Article X – Transitional Measures and Ratification of the Constitution