Adjustment of the timetable
We received important proposals for the adaptation of Articles II and III. These are two important articles. They contain revolutionary rules on common European interest, on direct democracy and on Appendices to the Constitution. That requires careful study. They determine the quality of the federal structure of the constitution.
The processing of the proposals to amend these articles has taken a long time and is not yet complete. This has to do with the following.
We suddenly had to deal with three different processing operations, simultaneously: the processing of the proposals for Article II and Article III and the processing of the outcome of a vote on a number of points which Herbert Tombeur had submitted to the Discussion Forum.
Re voting: the voting on Herbert’s issues has been done via Progress Report 14. Four members of the Convention casted a vote. The result is shown by attachment PR14 votes Dec. 17. We have implemented its essence in Articles II and III. But we would appreciate it if other members who may not have had a chance to vote in time could still do so. So, we are adjusting the timetable to 31 December. Until then, the other members of the Citizens’ Convention will still be able to cast their votes by following the procedure of Progress Report 14.
Re Article II: the importance of Article II lies in the fact that we implemented several rather revolutionary aspects of direct democracy and additional rules to ensure constitutionally a significant increase in the quality of delegates of the House of Citizens and of the States. To our knowledge, this has never been done before. The main reason that legitimizes us to demand in the constitution that transnational political parties be responsible for the quality of the candidates they delegate is the comments from members of our Convention about the quality of those candidates. The cause lies in the inability or unwillingness of political parties to make every effort to ensure that their candidates for the most important political office have exceptional competence and suitability. The rules in question also give an essential role to citizens. A form of direct democracy. This is elaborated in Appendix II A. Amended Article II is attached.
We fully support that Appendix II A, but we encounter a problem with it. In the attachment below on the votes cast on Herbert Tombeur’s issues, you can see that Fabrice Luijten, Lars Christensen and Christer Lundquist have expressed themselves in different ways on the quality of the delegates. Christer brought this up in a context in which he convincingly argues that the age for eligibility for the House of Citizens should not be set at 25 but at 18. We do not repeat his argument here and refer to it for brevity. In the amended Article II, we follow his view and have therefore set the age at 18. But that results in a contradiction with Appendix II A. That Appendix sets heavy demands on the competence and suitability of delegates. The question is whether someone aged 18-24 is capable of acquiring that competence and suitability according to the procedure set out in Appendix II A. That is why we are asking Fabrice, Lars and Christer, to see how they can work together to bridge this gap. De Appendix II A is een integral part of the constitution but not subject to the rules for amending the constitution.
Re Article III: the importance of this article lies in the addition of a clause on inclusiveness, deliberative decision-making, and representativeness in the sense of respect for and protection of minority positions within majority decision-making. Additional provisions of direct democracy are also included. The core of this article is determined by the limitative and exhaustive enumeration of seven Common European Interests. Amended Article III is attached.
Formal requirements of constitutional law-making entail that the constitution does not speak of policy, but it is clear that the Common Interests must be realised through policies. So, in order to give the relation between common interests and policies a place, we have designed Annexe III A. It regulates the procedures by which a federation actually is a federation, namely by the vertical division of competences between the member states of the federation and the federal body itself. For the sake of brevity, we refer to the Explanatory Memorandum. This Appendix III A, too, has a very important role for citizens and is therefore again a form of direct democracy.
When examining Articles II and III you will see texts in bold black and in bold blue. The black ones are amendments to II and III. The blue ones reflect the outcome of the said vote. We have not made the text of the Appendices bold.
Well, it is clear that studying this material and suggesting improvements will take some time. The Christmas period might be a suitable time for this, especially when many of us are forced to stay at home because of the Omicron virus.
Until 31 December, you can respond in the Discussion Forum with proposals for improvements to what we now offer as a preliminary result of the implementation of all proposals. Voting on Tombeur’s proposals will take place via the procedure in Progress Report 14.
We will then adopt Articles II and III in the first week of January 2022. On Saturday 8 January we start amending Article IV.
Kind regards, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year on behalf of the Board,
Leo Klinkers, Président