Tuesday, 30 June 2009

EU Lisbon Treaty: Right is might

The Declaration of independence by the Second Continental Congress of the Union of the American States (4 July 1776) said it like this:

“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, …”.

For the subjects of parliamentary sovereignty it may be difficult to understand that right is might, not the other way around.

The Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) in Germany has, again, scrutinized an EU reform treaty with the rights of the citizens as its yardstick, under the German Basic Law (Constitution; Grundgesetz).

As long as the European Union remains an organization based on sovereign states, the equality and the rights of citizens have to be safeguarded by the member states, by the national constitutional bodies which act on behalf of the peoples.

At the current stage of development, including the Treaty of Lisbon, these bodies are the Bundestag and Bundesrat (the German Parliament), and their participation needs to be enhanced.

If and when a uniform European people is constituted as the subject of legitimisation, and it is able to express its majority will in a politically effective manner that takes due account of equality in the context of the foundation of a European federal state, the road to a European federation is clear.

This would naturally require a change of the national Constitutions, in Germany and elsewhere.

The Federal Constitutional Court has closed no doors to the future. It just requires that the rights of the citizens are respected, to the extent possible under the Lisbon Treaty, or in a future federation based on EU citizens.

Ralf Grahn

P.S. For comparison, read the divergent conclusions by Nosemonkey: German Constitutional Court Lisbon Treaty ruling (30 June 2009).