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Are they listening to themselves? – Part VII

Posted by Helen Tuesday, August 17, 2004

In Germany the debate on whether to have a plebiscite on the EU Constitution continues, with a number of people pointing out that no, as a matter of fact, a referendum is not an impossibility in Germany, though there are all sorts of difficulties in the way.

The political elite continues to assert that the vote in the Bundestag and the Bundesrat will be sufficient to impose the Constitution on the German people. The argument is one we have heard before and has to do with representative democracy and power having to be exercised by the people through their elected representatives. And, as usual, it does raise the question of limitation on those elected representatives' action.

Various political theoreticians have weighed in as well. Andreas Mauer of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs explained solemnly that the Constitution should not be put to the vote because...

it is too long and will relatively quickly represent itself as being in accordance with international law. But it's also a treaty that can be changed at any time. It's not a document that the European Union or its citizens can really call a constitution - at least not one that would be comparable to the Basic Law.
Well, now, that is an interesting thought. Has Herr Mauer read this document that is undoubtedly too long? Because if he has he would have realized that it may be a treaty that is being signed but what that treaty is bringing into effect is a Constitution. And once that Constitution is in place, it will not simply be comparable to the Basic Law. It will be superior to it.