Democrat September 2007 (Number 104)
What they say about
the EU Constitution
"The Constitutional Treaty has been abandoned."
David Miliband Foreign Secretary - Often Repeated
"The substance of the constitution is preserved. That is a fact."
Angela Merkel, German Chancellor - European Parliament, 27 June 2007
"We have had a belly full of broken promises and what we have here is another broken promise. Promises should not be made in the heat of an election, they should be kept and they should be brave enough to go to the people of this country and ask them... if they say 'no', that should be the answer."
Colin Moses Prison Officers Association - TUC Congress 12 September 2007
"If it is good enough for the Irish to have a vote in a referendum, then it should be good enough for British workers. We should have the arguments and a full debate. People should be able to decide their own destiny."
Bob Crow General Secretary, Rail Maritime and Transport Workers - TUC Congress 12 September 2007
"They decided that the document should be unreadable. If it is unreadable, it is not constitutional, that was the sort of perception. Where they got this perception from is a mystery to me. In order to make our citizens happy, to produce a document that they will never understand! But, there is some truth [in it]. Because if this is the kind of document that the IGC will produce, any Prime Minister - imagine the UK Prime Minister - can go to the Commons and say 'Look, you see, it's absolutely unreadable, it's the typical Brussels treaty, nothing new, no need for a referendum.' Should you succeed in understanding it at first sight there might be some reason for a referendum, because it would mean that there is something new."
Giuliano Amato, Former Italian Prime Minister and Vice-Chairman of the Convention which drew up the EU Constitution over two years ago - recorded by Open Europe, The Centre for European Reform, London, 12 July 2007
"Public opinion will be led to adopt, without knowing it, the proposals that we dare not present to them directly" ... "All the earlier proposals will be in the new text, but will be hidden and disguised in some way."
V.Giscard D'Estaing Chairman of the Convention which drew up the EU Constitution - Le Monde, 14 June 2007, and Sunday Telegraph, 1 July 2007
"The most striking change (between the EU Constitution in its older and newer version ) is perhaps that in order to enable some governments to reassure their electorates that the changes will have no constitutional implications, the idea of a new and simpler treaty containing all the provisions governing the Union has now been dropped in favour of a huge series of individual amendments to two existing treaties. Virtual incomprehensibility has thus replaced simplicity as the key approach to EU reform. As for the changes now proposed to be made to the constitutional treaty, most are presentational changes that have no practical effect. They have simply been designed to enable certain heads of government to sell to their people the idea of ratification by parliamentary action rather than by referendum."
Dr Garret FitzGerald Former Irish Prime Minister(Taoiseach), - Irish Times, 30 June 2007
"The good thing is...that all the symbolic elements are gone, and that which really matters - the core - is left."
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Danish Prime Minister - Jyllands-Posten, 25 June 2007
"The substance of what was agreed in 2004 has been retained. What is gone is the term 'constitution'."
Dermot Ahern Irish Foreign Minister - Daily Mail Ireland, 25 June 2007
"90 per cent of it is still there...These changes haven't made any dramatic change to the substance of what was agreed back in 2004."
Bertie Ahern Irish Prime Minister(Taoiseach) - Irish Independent, 24 June 2007
"The aim of the Constitutional Treaty was to be more readable; the aim of this treaty is to be unreadable... The Constitution aimed to be clear, whereas this treaty had to be unclear. It is a success."
Karel de Gucht Belgian Foreign Minister - Flandreinfo, 23 June 2007
"What was [already] difficult to understand will become utterly incomprehensible, but the substance has been retained... Why not have a single text? The only reason is that this would look too much like the constitutional treaty. Making cosmetic changes would make the text more easy to swallow."
Giscard d'Estaing Chairman of Convention which wrote EU Constitution - Daily Mail, Sun, Telegraph and EUobserver, 17 July 2007
"It is psychological terrorism to suggest the spectre of a European superstate."
Giorgio Napolitano, President of Italy - Sunday Express, London, 17 June 2007
"Referendums make the process of approval of European treaties much more complicated and less predictable ... I was in favour of a referendum as a prime minister, but it does make our lives with 27 member states in the EU much more difficult. If a referendum had to be held on the creation of the European Community or the introduction of the euro, do you think these would have passed? ... If you have signed a treaty, you should also ratify it. And if you can't, you should at least contribute to a solution."
Jose M. Barroso European Commission President - Irish Times, 8 Feb.2007; quoting remarks in Het Financieele Dag and De Volkskrant, Holland; also quoted in EUobserver, 6 February 2007
"The good thing about not calling it a Constitution is that no one can ask for a referendum on it."
Giuliano Amato - speech at London School of Economics, 21 February 2007
"Britain is different. Of course there will be transfers of sovereignty. But would I be intelligent to draw the attention of public opinion to this fact?"
Jean Claude Juncker - Prime Minister of Luxembourg