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Are we fools led by liars? (THE EU CONSTITUTION EXPLAINED)
The Times ^ | February 28, 2005 | William Rees-Mogg

Posted on 02/27/2005 3:42:43 PM PST by MadIvan

The EU constitution makes tough reading, but its meaning - and its danger - couldn't be clearer

WHO’S GOT it right? The German Minister for Europe, Hans Martin Bury, or the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom, Jack Straw? Last week Herr Bury told the Bundestag that the constitution of the European Union is more than a “milestone”, it is “the birth certificate of the United States of Europe”. Last month Mr Straw said that the constitution treaty signalled “thus far and no further on European integration”. Is the treaty a boundary marker for European integration or is it a birth certificate for “a single European state bound by one European constitution”, to use the language of the German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer?

One may doubt how many people have yet read the constitution. Since the early phases of drafting, I have been reading it and re-reading it. In this process I’ve kept in touch with David Heathcote-Amory, the Conservative MP for Wells, who was a member of the convention on the EU constitution. I hope everyone will read the treaty, though they may not find it much fun.

The treaty is indeed complex. If the convention had followed the example of the framers of the American Constitution, it might have produced a skeleton constitution. Unfortunately, the constitution includes quantities of material of a quite unsuitable kind, in an apparent attempt to dictate not only the structure but the long-term political objectives of the European Union.

For instance, Title 1 includes a statement of objectives which would be better suited to a party manifesto than to a constitutional document. Article 3 reads: “The Union shall work for sustainable development of Europe based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, and with a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment. It shall promote scientific and technological advance.”

We have to take this seriously, but these aspirations are neither defined nor justiciable. Suppose they were brought in front of the European Court of Justice, on the complaint that the European institutions were failing to achieve these objectives.

What is “sustainable development”? How can Europe achieve “balanced economic growth”? What does “balanced” mean in that context? Is “economic growth” desirable in all circumstances? What is a “social market”? In what ways does it differ from an ordinary “market economy”? Can a “social market economy” be “highly competitive”, or will its social character be a hindrance to its competitiveness? What is the appropriate level of full employment? Is it 3 per cent unemployment, as Lord Beveridge once suggested? Is it the 10 per cent which is the current German level? What is “social progress”? Can it be measured by income differentials? Or by educational standards? Might there not be a conflict between social progress and economic growth? How does one measure the “improvement of the quality of the environment”? Indeed, what is “the quality of the environment”? How should Europe promote “scientific and technological advance”? By subsidies? How would they fit in with fair competition?

Whenever one dips into the constitution one is liable to sink into a bog of unexamined propositions. I cannot think of any document of comparable historic importance which raises so many questions or answers so few. As an American scholar has observed, the European constitution, if it were American, would raise numerous Supreme Court cases in every paragraph.

Nevertheless, the constitution does two things which do allow one to answer the question: boundary stone or birth certificate? It creates a state. Article 11: “The constitution establishes the European Union.” Article 15a: “The constitution . . . shall have primacy over the law of the member states.” Article 18: “Every national of a member state shall be a citizen of the union.”

This new state will have broad and predominant powers, with ministers to execute those powers. Article 111: “The member states shall co-ordinate their economic and employment policies within arrangements as determined by Part 3, which the union shall have competence (power) to provide . . . the union shall have competence to define and implement a common foreign and security policy, including the progressive framing of a common defence policy.”

The EU is already proceeding step by step to the establishment of this common foreign and security policy. Nato is being downgraded; a European diplomatic service is being developed; the constitution provides for a Foreign Minister. The whole European structure has been built by general aspirations backed by creeping bureaucracy. The common foreign and defence policy is likely to become a fait accompli.

I sometimes think that Britain has a Government which takes us all for fools. There may be a case for a United States of Europe. Many continental Europeans believe in that; most Germans, for instance, see a single European state as a natural development, similar to the creation of a united Germany in the 1870s. Britain, as Franz-Josef Strauss used to say, should have the status in a United Europe which Bavaria has in the Federal Republic. Bavaria, he would add, does not feel any need for a separate air force. Some Germans differ. One recently commented to me: “What is the problem for which the European Union is the solution?”

We could have a useful debate on these issues. Is it Europe’s destiny to become a superstate? Is the age of British independence at an end? Can we protect democracy and the rule of law in a fully united Europe? That would be an honest and historic debate. But it cannot be an honest debate so long as the Government pretends that the European constitution is anything other than a constitution for the United States of Europe. The Germans are telling the truth. So long as our Government takes us for fools, we have every reason to take them for liars.


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: constitution; eu; euconstitution; lies
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I am hopeful Poland in addition to ourselves, will say "No".

Regards, Ivan


1 posted on 02/27/2005 3:42:48 PM PST by MadIvan
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To: Hudobna; LadyofShalott; Tolik; mtngrl@vrwc; pax_et_bonum; Alkhin; agrace; EggsAckley; dinasour; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 02/27/2005 3:43:14 PM PST by MadIvan (One blog to bring them all...and in the Darkness bind them: http://www.theringwraith.com/)
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To: MadIvan
"Are we fools led by liars?"

To ask is to answer.

(Well, close enough)

3 posted on 02/27/2005 3:45:19 PM PST by Uncle Miltie (Democrat Obstructionists will be Daschled!)
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To: MadIvan
"The treaty is indeed complex."

When bureaucrats write constitutions, who do you think will be the prime beneficiaries?

4 posted on 02/27/2005 3:47:10 PM PST by Uncle Miltie (Democrat Obstructionists will be Daschled!)
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To: MadIvan

I have said from DAY ONE that the EU is destined for failure due to its burdensome complexity.

The reason why the US is so successful is due to the simplicity of our founding documents.

Free citizens, open markets, property rights, limited gov't, etc.


5 posted on 02/27/2005 3:48:11 PM PST by Erik Latranyi (9-11 is your Peace Dividend)
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To: MadIvan
"a highly competitive social market economy"

Oxymoron alert!

6 posted on 02/27/2005 3:48:13 PM PST by Uncle Miltie (Democrat Obstructionists will be Daschled!)
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To: Erik Latranyi

I entirely agree. The strength of the American constitution is in its transparency and relevance. This is just a bunch of bureaucratic gobbledygook, filled with mindless platitudes and burdensome language.

Regards, Ivan


7 posted on 02/27/2005 3:49:20 PM PST by MadIvan (One blog to bring them all...and in the Darkness bind them: http://www.theringwraith.com/)
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To: MadIvan

I can not believe that so few people have even bothered to read something that is so important to their futures.


8 posted on 02/27/2005 3:55:06 PM PST by McGavin999
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To: MadIvan
The treaty is indeed complex. If the convention had followed the example of the framers of the American Constitution, it might have produced a skeleton constitution. Unfortunately, the constitution includes quantities of material of a quite unsuitable kind, in an apparent attempt to dictate not only the structure but the long-term political objectives of the European Union.

The author is entirely correct; this "constitution" is not one in the same sense as our American Constitution.

I would like to think that if Europeans were to read this document, it would have a difficult time passing. But Spain certainly showed that there was an easy acceptance among the few who did bother to vote on accepting this document, so it appears that no such difficulty exists.

9 posted on 02/27/2005 3:55:06 PM PST by snowsislander
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.


10 posted on 02/27/2005 3:57:38 PM PST by Grzegorz 246
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To: MadIvan

MadIvan, Britain Must stop the E.U. constitution.
What the tory position?


11 posted on 02/27/2005 3:57:44 PM PST by sanchez810
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To: McGavin999

One thing that was alarming from the Spanish vote on this subject was how few people had read it. They signed their country up for it without knowing its content or its true implications.

Regards, Ivan


12 posted on 02/27/2005 3:58:12 PM PST by MadIvan (One blog to bring them all...and in the Darkness bind them: http://www.theringwraith.com/)
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To: sanchez810

The Tories are opposed to the EU Constitution - if they win the election in May (unlikely, but still), then it would be a Tory Government campaigning for a "No" vote.

Regards, Ivan


13 posted on 02/27/2005 3:59:09 PM PST by MadIvan (One blog to bring them all...and in the Darkness bind them: http://www.theringwraith.com/)
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To: MadIvan

The Spanish minister for Europe was heard saying that the spanish people did not need to read it to know it was good.


14 posted on 02/27/2005 4:00:00 PM PST by sanchez810
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To: MadIvan

I was very worried about the EU as a counter-weight to the USA, fiscally, economically, diplomatically etc., however, realizing that France and Germany are the "founders" of this hybrid mutt, I relaxed with a cool one.

When was the last time France and Germany shared a good idea?

See why I am not perturbed?

sp.


15 posted on 02/27/2005 4:00:17 PM PST by sodpoodle (sparrows are underrated)
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To: sanchez810

It was composed by a former President of France who left office under the shadow of a scandal in which he accepted diamonds from a megalomaniacal dictator in Africa whose hobby was eating schoolchildren. That should say, unread, that it's not worth the paper it's printed on.

Regards, Ivan


16 posted on 02/27/2005 4:02:40 PM PST by MadIvan (One blog to bring them all...and in the Darkness bind them: http://www.theringwraith.com/)
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To: MadIvan

Yeah, Mr. D'estang


17 posted on 02/27/2005 4:03:44 PM PST by sanchez810
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To: sodpoodle

Well you should be worried just for this reason - America needs to export its goods to someone. The French and Germans having their heads up their rectal cavities means much of Europe is too bloody broke to buy American goods.

Regards, Ivan


18 posted on 02/27/2005 4:03:55 PM PST by MadIvan (One blog to bring them all...and in the Darkness bind them: http://www.theringwraith.com/)
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To: MadIvan

Inside the Beltway, NRO,The Weekly Standard, The Heritage Foundaiton and AEI are squarely against the E.U. consitution and have been activily lobbying the Bush administration. Eurosceptics should reach out across the Atlantic as well.


19 posted on 02/27/2005 4:06:22 PM PST by sanchez810
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To: sanchez810

I don't think President Bush is in much of a position to assist - if he tries to sabotage the EU Constitution, the French and Germans will accuse him of meddling. He knows full well it will collapse anyway.

Regards, Ivan


20 posted on 02/27/2005 4:10:02 PM PST by MadIvan (One blog to bring them all...and in the Darkness bind them: http://www.theringwraith.com/)
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To: MadIvan
That's true but you cant prevent him from voicing support for it. Plus, the euro skeptics could get financial support from Conservative institutions and intellectual firepower as well.
21 posted on 02/27/2005 4:12:22 PM PST by sanchez810
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To: sanchez810

Well we've already got some of that - Dick Morris is helping the UK Independence Party here. I am sure we will not be without friends come campaign time. Remember, if one country says "No", the entire house of cards comes crashing down.

Regards, Ivan


22 posted on 02/27/2005 4:13:38 PM PST by MadIvan (One blog to bring them all...and in the Darkness bind them: http://www.theringwraith.com/)
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To: MadIvan

“What is the problem for which the European Union is the solution?”

France and Germany trying to resuscitate the USSR? Short term indigestion - long term disintigration.

And then I read your Post #20 - "destined to collapse"

So what is your point?
sp


23 posted on 02/27/2005 4:16:08 PM PST by sodpoodle (sparrows are underrated)
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To: MadIvan

“The Union shall work for sustainable development of Europe based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, and with a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment. It shall promote scientific and technological advance.”

This is a marketing ploy, not a constitution.

When will the Eur-inals realize that the bureaucracy of the EU is building the new U.S.S.R.?

Holtz
JeffersonRepublic.com


24 posted on 02/27/2005 4:16:32 PM PST by JeffersonRepublic.com (The 51st state is right around the corner.)
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To: MadIvan
I recall that a Eurocrat said it depended on which country it was (Watch out Britain).
25 posted on 02/27/2005 4:16:37 PM PST by sanchez810
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To: MadIvan
This has gone far, far beyond what was intended as a trade union.

IMO, they will regret this very soon.

One would hope GB sees through this French attempt at regaining the power it has longed for.

26 posted on 02/27/2005 4:22:16 PM PST by Cold Heat (FR is still a good place to get the news and slap around an idiot from time to time.)
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To: JeffersonRepublic.com

My post:
"France and Germany trying to resuscitate the USSR? Short term indigestion - long term disintigration"

Your post:
"When will the Eur-inals realize that the bureaucracy of the EU is building the new U.S.S.R.?"

posts separated by 5 seconds - were we separated at birth??? LOL


27 posted on 02/27/2005 4:26:13 PM PST by sodpoodle (sparrows are underrated)
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To: MadIvan
It creates a state. Article 11: “The constitution establishes the European Union.” Article 15a: “The constitution . . . shall have primacy over the law of the member states.”

Why do I get the feeling that America is going to be helping the UK gain Independence in ten years?
28 posted on 02/27/2005 4:27:38 PM PST by Righty_McRight ("Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter" Proverbs 24:11)
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To: sodpoodle

Great minds think alike.


29 posted on 02/27/2005 4:30:18 PM PST by JeffersonRepublic.com (The 51st state is right around the corner.)
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To: Righty_McRight

That will be about the same time that Prince Charles assumes the monarchy.

Ahhhhhh the monarchy - that which separates the UK from the EU states. There is a joker in the deck.

Long live the King.


30 posted on 02/27/2005 4:31:25 PM PST by sodpoodle (sparrows are underrated)
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To: Righty_McRight

"European Union.” Article 15a: “The constitution . . . shall have primacy over the law of the member states.”"

Goodbye Spain. I wonder if they would be allowed to rejoin the U.S. in Iraq after signing this document?

Holtz
JeffersonRepublic.com


31 posted on 02/27/2005 4:32:18 PM PST by JeffersonRepublic.com (The 51st state is right around the corner.)
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To: MadIvan
The strength of the American constitution is in its transparency and relevance.

And they manage to screw up its interpretation anyway.

Imagine what the judiciary could do with something like the European Constitution.

32 posted on 02/27/2005 4:32:44 PM PST by Restorer
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To: MadIvan

Sounds like your garden variety Dimocrat


33 posted on 02/27/2005 4:34:41 PM PST by clamper1797 (This Vietnam Vet ain't Fonda Kerry)
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To: JeffersonRepublic.com
Goodbye Spain. I wonder if they would be allowed to rejoin the U.S. in Iraq after signing this document?

If everyone passed it they wouldn't be able to unless the EU as a whole decided it. I think that's how it would work. The member states will sorta lose control of their military since you can't do anything that goes against the will of the EU as a whole. France may of finally conquered the Brits.
34 posted on 02/27/2005 4:37:48 PM PST by Righty_McRight ("Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter" Proverbs 24:11)
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To: Brad Cloven
"a highly competitive social market economy"

How about - a highly competitive super market economy?

35 posted on 02/27/2005 4:39:39 PM PST by FreedomSurge
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To: MadIvan
The British should follow the advice of Monty Python in the Holy Grail, and "Run away!, Run away!", when it comes to the European Union. It is the killer rabbit come to life, for it looks harmless enough at first glance but is really quite dangerous. The British are too intelligent to further become involved in this train wreck.
36 posted on 02/27/2005 4:44:26 PM PST by dog breath
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To: MadIvan
The Union shall work for sustainable development of Europe based on balanced economic growth and price stability, a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress, and with a high level of protection and improvement of the quality of the environment. It shall promote scientific and technological advance.”

That won't last long.

37 posted on 02/27/2005 4:44:59 PM PST by GVnana (If I had a Buckhead moment would I know it?)
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To: MadIvan

A lot of the complexity of the Constitutional Treaty is merely carried over from the two existing EU treaties.


38 posted on 02/27/2005 4:46:34 PM PST by Unam Sanctam
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To: sodpoodle
worried about the EU as a counter-weight to the USA

Try EU, China and maybe Russia in the mix. Then you really do have something to worry about. The world won't be a better place.

39 posted on 02/27/2005 4:47:13 PM PST by GVnana (If I had a Buckhead moment would I know it?)
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To: MadIvan

Good luck. I once followed a link from here (FR) that allowed the reading of the EU Constitutional draft. I forget what article is was near the end of the document, but it was essentially an 'all promises are null and void if, and when, we decide this is so' kind of clause. Not too comforting to know that whatever is said about human rights is solely conditional on the whims of the elite.


40 posted on 02/27/2005 4:49:23 PM PST by WorkingClassFilth (Equally offending all people equally - pursuant to the directives of the CRA of 1964)
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To: McGavin999
I can not believe that so few people have even bothered to read something that is so important to their futures.

There is a method to the madness of the EU constitution "framers."

By making the document 511 pages of bureaucratic gobbledygook, they have guaranteed that the voters will not read it and therefore will not be in a position to argue against it.

41 posted on 02/27/2005 4:53:40 PM PST by Maceman (Too nuanced for a bumper sticker)
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To: Brad Cloven

I am reminded of the differences between the American and
French Revolutions.

American: Life, Liberty, Property (changed to
Pursuit of Happiness (by Hollywood or DisneyWorld?)

French: Liberty, Fraternity, Equality.

Life is an inalienable right, but what the hell is Fraternity? (Multiculturalism, sensitivity training, PC,
anti-nationalism)

Liberty is what you as an individual make of it.

Property: We in the US know exactly what that is...
All of eastern Europe knows what equality means...
Socialism!

I suspect the European Union will be established along the French lines.


42 posted on 02/27/2005 4:55:11 PM PST by limitedgov
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To: JeffersonRepublic.com
This is a marketing ploy, not a constitution.

Very true...

After a long marketing study and research... They find that is the product they can sell in Europe for the Europeans.

The era of nation-states are over. Small or medium size countries can not dream "independece" and "soverginity"... Together they can have more power than the sum of their weight separatley.

They building it for over 50 years slowly and steadily. The new members always queing and so far all of them happy with Ukraine and Turkey in the line too... (Ok... Britain trying to sit on two horses with one arse and always complaining...)

I am sure that if it were not the Iraq war disagreement, there woud not be so much EU bashing from the western side of the Atlantic....

I know the steam need to be let out...

But be honest... A collapsed EU would make a great dent on the US economy. Can you afford the loss of a market of almost half a milliard people with their high tech demands ?

43 posted on 02/27/2005 5:05:01 PM PST by bozot
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To: MadIvan
Ivan, to hope is noble, but if you want something done, or in this case not done, you have to get out and fight for it. Inform the European bloggers about what this constitution really means , or doesn't mean, and let them inform the masses.
44 posted on 02/27/2005 5:06:31 PM PST by chainsaw (Hillary Clinton-June 2004 - "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good.")
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To: MadIvan

Their constitution is something like 511 pages. Clearly the product of a committee. It might keep them out of trouble, though, since they'll be busy litigating its meaning until the universe implodes.


45 posted on 02/27/2005 5:13:53 PM PST by John Jorsett (email: mistersandiego yahoo.com (put the at sign in between those two))
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To: GVgirl

I realized that already - posted my concerns several months ago.

Clinton was asleep at the wheel - he should have made persuasive overtures to Blair on the realignment of Nato, the Eastern bloc, Middle East, India, Pakistan and Russia/China - but he had other more important things to do.

He obviously was no student of history ala Newt.
sp


46 posted on 02/27/2005 5:14:43 PM PST by sodpoodle (sparrows are underrated)
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To: MadIvan
I have not read this document in its entirety but it sure seems a bit ambiguous, which is not good for something that is suppose to, well at least should define laws and principles in some concrete terms. It seems to me that it simply allows for interpretations and changes that can sway with whims and passions of the moment, again not a good thing. However given the history of Communism/socialism/progressivism from Marx to the Frankfurt school to what is going on today in Europe, Canada and the American Left it is really not that surprising. The major trouble as I see it is that it appears most people in Europe actually do want this ultimate central authority telling them what is the appropriate behavior. I am hopeful that I am wrong and this will not pass.
47 posted on 02/27/2005 5:31:09 PM PST by Archon of the East (The Constitution is a terrible thing to waste)
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To: MadIvan

>>>>>>Article 15a: “The constitution . . . shall have primacy over the law of the member states.” <<<<<<<<

I cant imagine any country giving up all their laws and sovereignty to any Union such as this.

It took a Civil war in America to steal States Rights.


48 posted on 02/27/2005 5:31:20 PM PST by sgtbono2002
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To: MadIvan
“What is the problem for which the European Union is the solution?”

A good question.

49 posted on 02/27/2005 5:34:13 PM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (No one knows the shape of the future or where it will take us. We know only the way is paved in pain)
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To: limitedgov
American: Life, Liberty, Property (changed to Pursuit of Happiness (by Hollywood or DisneyWorld?)

By Jefferson.

50 posted on 02/27/2005 5:37:48 PM PST by Harmless Teddy Bear (No one knows the shape of the future or where it will take us. We know only the way is paved in pain)
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