SP votes against European constitution

12 January 2005

SP votes against European constitution

Today in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Members voted on the proposed European constitution. The SP voted against the proposal. According to SP Euro-MP Erik Meijer, this constitution would lead to the further militarisation of Europe, the undermining of social- and environmental standards, and the dismantling of public services. He announced that the next few months in the Netherlands would see a campaign for the rejection of this constitution in the referendum scheduled for later in the year.

Erik Meijer During the vote over the proposal concerning the European constitution, Erik Meijer read out the following declaration: “Today the constitution’s supporters are celebrating. The European Parliament has no power to amend the document. The same applies to national parliaments and to the voters who will take part in national referenda. Everyone can merely vote yea or nay, and then celebrate or mourn accordingly. This means that it is impossible to get rid of the obligation to increase armaments or to give concrete support to NATO. It is equally impossible to subordinate free,unhindered competition - which takes the front seat in this text – to considerations of environment, the provision of public services or the protection of workers. The proposal to hold a referendum on any proposal which garners a million signatures, as provided for in Article 46, is equally closed to discussion. New fundamental social rights are conspicuous by their absence.

“The EU’s traditionally authoritarian model of governance, including a strong role for the Council and Presidency, and no real possibilities to provide the usual correctives of a parliamentary democracy, is not up for discussion. I do not want this constitution. Today’s festive joy is not mine. In the Netherlands in the coming months I will participate in the campaign of my party, the Socialist Party, to persuade a majority of the electorate to vote against this misbegotten text.”

SP Euro-MP Kartika Liotard also outlined her criticisms of the proposal: “Before the European Parliament has made any pronouncement regarding the proposed constitution, 375,000 euros has already been earmarked for a celebration of our approval. Once again we see confirmation that the EU is undemocratic and financially wasteful.

“My party is against this constitution for a number of reasons. We totally denounce its neoliberal social and economic elements, which under the mask of “free trade” will undermine public services and remove from national and local authorities the right to decide how to regulate these for themselves. We are also completely opposed to the militarisation of Europe which is one of the constitution’s aims, as demonstrated for example in the article which obliges member states to increase their defence budgets. And we reject this constitution because it will confirm the undemocratic structure of the Union rather than bringing about any improvement worthy of the name.

Perhaps some of my colleagues are prepared, in exchange for a few additional parliamentary powers, to sell their souls to neoliberalism. I am not. If we are talking about democracy we can surely only be content with the best, and this constitution of the European elite, the multinationals, the warmongers and the bureaucrats will never enjoy my support.”

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