SP to take part in “fight against nonsensical stories" about the proposed EU constitution

19 January 2005

SP to take part in “fight against nonsensical stories" about the proposed EU constitution

The SP’s European Parliamentary group has declared its enthusiastic support for the initiative of a number of MEPs, including EP president Joseph Borrel and German social democrat Jo Leinen, to form a “rapid reaction force” to respond to “nonsensical stories” concerning the European Constitution. The SP has written to Mr Leinen asking him if the party can participate.

The SP has itself also noticed that misinterpretations and “ half truths” about the constitution abound, particularly in statements from its supporters. There is, for example, the stubbornly persistent idea that the constitution would give European citizens the right to force a referendum on any proposal which can attract a million signatures. This is completely incorrect. The text does indeed offer citizens the chance to propose a referendum, but it equally allows the European Commission to ignore such a request.

Another frequently heard misconception about the constitution is that it gives individual citizens more rights. This is also untrue, as the Charter of Fundamental Rights refers exclusively to rights which, through international treaties signed and ratified by every single EU member state, citizens of these states already enjoy. For citizens of the Netherlands, this Charter is thus absolutely worthless.

Commenting on the “fight against nonsensical stories”, SP Euro-MP Kartika Liotard said, “It would be a fine thing if the half-truths and myths were to disappear from discussion of the constitution and the debate were to focus exclusively on the advantages and, more to the point, the many disadvantages that the document actually offers. Personally I am convinced that if Dutch citizens were objectively and truthfully informed about the constitution they would vote against it quite overwhelmingly in the coming referendum.”

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