German Bundestag Approves EU Constitution
The German Bundestag voted 569-23 to ratify the revised EU constitution, with approval from the Bundesrat and Chancellor Schroeder expected to follow.
Germany’s lower house of parliament today ratified the EU constitution with an overwhelming majority. The treaty received 569 votes in favour in the Bundestag, with 23 against and two abstentions. The main German political parties have indicated that the ratification will be rubber-stamped by the Bundesrat upper house when it votes on May 27, two days before France holds a keenly watched referendum on the constitution.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has said he hopes the clear support from Germany’s parliament will persuade the French people, who are divided almost 50-50 on the constitution, to vote yes.
The treaty aims to set out a new framework for an enlarged European Union which last year opened its doors to 10 mostly former communist countries. However, it needs to be ratified by all 25 member states to take effect. Six countries have so far completed the process of ratification. They are: Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Interesting. When this process got underway in the late 1980s, I was convinced that there was no way the great powers in Europe would voluntarily cede much of their sovereingty to an ephemeral “Europe” that nobody believes exists. It certainly looks like I was mistaken.
The consolidation of the old European Common Market, even including expansion to include the relatively backward economies of Eastern Europe, makes a world of sense. In a global economy, barriers between neighbors, especially when many of them are geographically tiny, are more hindrance than the ability to protect one’s domestic industry is worth. Political independence, though, is another matter. Why the Germans would wish to cede power to decide important matters of public policy to the French, let alone the Slovaks, I can not fathom.
Typing error in lead sentence corrected.