Skip to main content

Make or Break for Europe's Constitution

The challenge for the EU now is to refocus itself on the priorities of today and tomorrow. It needs to connect better with its own citizens, to renew their support by showing that Europeans working together can foster growth and jobs, fight international crime, and secure a clean environment. The Union needs to play a more active role in the wider world, not in pursuit of selfish interests, but in promoting the universal values on which it is founded.

Most of all, the enlarged Union needs a constitutional and institutional framework that fits its ambitions. For thirty months, governments and parliamentarians have been working on a new constitution for Europe. An exceptional draft was prepared by the convention chaired by former French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing. It is the task of national governments - of me and my colleagues in the European Council - to finish the job. We meet in Brussels this week, and our overriding priority is to reach agreement on the constitution.

Consensus on most of the draft has existed for some time. There is no dispute about the EU's values and objectives, about inclusion of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, or about simplifying legislative processes. These are all major advances. But national governments inevitably have a particular interest in the powers of EU institutions in such key areas as foreign policy, criminal law, and taxation.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.


Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.;
  1. GettyImages-1185850541 Scott Peterson/Getty Images

    Power to the People?

    Aryeh Neier

    From Beirut to Hong Kong to Santiago, governments are eager to bring an end to mass demonstrations. But, in the absence of greater institutional responsiveness to popular grievances and demands, people are unlikely to stay home.

  2. rogoff187_Matt Anderson Photography Getty Images_datanumberlines Matt Anderson Photography/Getty Images

    The High Stakes of the Coming Digital Currency War

    Kenneth Rogoff

    Just as technology has disrupted media, politics, and business, it is on the verge of disrupting America’s ability to leverage faith in its currency to pursue its broader national interests. The real challenge for the United States isn't Facebook's proposed Libra; it's government-backed digital currencies like the one planned by China.


Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions