Dear members of the Group 55+,
You will have noticed that the process of improving our Constitution has been somewhat delayed. From the beginning of December, we have been working on the various proposals from the Citizen’s’ Convention to improve Articles II and III. Because some proposals would be better placed elsewhere in the Constitution, the Board – while implementing those (sometimes conflicting) proposals – could not limit it selves to these Articles II and III and had to place some proposals in Articles V and VII as well. These included the proposal to include an Ombudsman in the Constitution and proposals to build in more direct democracy than was already provided for in the Constitution.
Meanwhile, the Board awaited the outcome of a joint consultation between three members of the Convention – Fabrice Luyten, Lars N. Christensen, and Christer Lundquist – on Article II. The Board had asked them to jointly streamline their proposed amendments to Article II. It now appears that this request ended up in the junk mail or was otherwise not seen. If the three Members mentioned are still prepared to comply with that request, we would ask them to take this Progress Report 17 as their starting point. That is, to take the provisionally improved versions of Articles II, III, V and VII (see Annexes) as the basis for proposals for improvement.
The proposals to add more direct democracy to the constitution than is already the case have occupied the Board for a long time. The constitution recognises four forms of democracy:
- Representative democracy: the people are represented by elected delegates. This is the basis of the constitution.
- Process-driven democracy: Citizens leading/steering decision-making processes. In Article II, Section 2, Clause 3, this is the engine by which the requirements for competence and suitability for political office are to be fulfilled through the impetus of transnational political parties that become responsible for the proper competence and suitability of their candidates and that are steered to that end by panels of Citizens. Citizens also guide the process of the vertical separation of powers by which the limitative list of Common European Interests is composed (Article III, Section 2, Clause 3 and Appendix III A).
- Deliberative democracy: the Houses of the European Congress organise meetings with Citizens to make good decisions with the wisdom and expertise of Citizens. This is stated in Article II, Section 2, Clause 4; in Article III, Section 1, Clause 2 and Section 2, Clause 3; in Article VII, Section 1, Clause 5.
- Direct democracy: Citizens have the right of popular initiative and to express themselves in referendums. These are now in Article VII, Section 1, Clauses 1-11, taken from the Swiss Constitution.
This implies that the Board choose to include all four forms of democracy in our constitution because they each have their own function. Even though they each have weaknesses. But in their combination, the democracy aspect of our constitution is ironclad. In this respect, the concept of democracy in the Lisbon Treaty is a shameful and pathetic mistake, which history will judge.
Since the diversity of amendments to Articles II and III necessitated the inclusion of Articles V and VII, this Progress Report 17 thus has four annexes: Amended Articles II, Amended Articles III, Amended Articles V, Amended Articles VII.
We realise that this is a lot of reading, but Articles II and III cannot be understood if you do not also read Articles V and VII. Of course, Articles V and VII will only really be discussed once we are ready for them. For now, it is mainly a matter of your proposals to improve Articles II and III further. However, everyone is free to make further amendments to the attached Articles V and VII. The Board will implement them provisionally until the articles themselves will be dealt with in an adjusted timeframe.
To make the Articles readable, the improved text of Articles II and III is not in bold and everything that needed to be deleted has been deleted. In Articles V and VII, bold has been retained. In Article II the Appendix II A has been deleted since its procedure would be too much to include as an Appendix to the constitution. The relevant Article II, Section 2, Clause 3 is sufficient.
The Board looks forward to seeing your potential amendments in the Discussion Forum. Until further notice, we will wait to deal with Article IV until we have sufficiently completed Articles II and III together.
On behalf of FAEF Board,