Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Any European constitution must - at a bare minimum - answer the following questions:

  • How does this text ensure that small countries are not bullied unduly?

  • How does this text ensure that small countries will not end up with a clout that is completely out of proportion to their size, once the political integration is completed and we have one pan-European state?

  • How will this text prevent Europe from engaging in imperialist wars?

  • How will this text ensure that checks and balances are enforced upon all four branches of government?

  • How will this text handle secession?

  • How will this text permit the Union to continue to absorb countries with a democratic, peaceful and uncorrupt political culture who wish to join?

  • How will this text ensure that policy matters are handled at the most appropriate level (e.g. inter-state railroads at the federal level, intercity railroads at the state level, city planning at the regional level, street names at the local level)?

  • How will this text ensure that each de jure independent institution at each level (local, regional, state, (bloc?), federal) is, in also de facto independent?

  • How will an EU governed by this text handle an administrative unit (at whichever level) that behaves unconstitutionally?

  • How will this text provide for enforcement of human rights and civil liberties within the EU?

Answering those questions would be a good start. It's necessary to do so, whatever the impact of whatever cultural differences might (or might not) exist. And honestly, I think that by the time we're done providing satisfactory answers to those questions, we'll find that a European body politic already exists and is reasonably unified.

If it's not - if culture and language remains an obstruction after all - then we'll have to work from there. My own solution would be to adopt a couple of the biggest languages as official languages (e.g. English, German, French and Russian - cue cries of nationalist outrage from Scandinavia and Poland in 3... 2... 1...) and then permit subunits to add their own preferred language(s) to the list. That way, you'd always be able to use one of the Four Big for official communication if you didn't know the local language, but local languages could still be incorporated in the local administration as need arose.

As for "culture," I wouldn't know how to tackle that issue before someone presents a more or less coherent description of what "culture" is. Right now, it seems to be used as a shorthand for "all the things that supposedly prevent political integration," which is rather on the useless side as definitions go.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jul 16th, 2008 at 01:42:14 PM EST

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