Recommendations for a Constitution Of Europe

which safeguards social aims and promotes peace

Due to the rejection of the Treaty for a European Constitution by the French and  Netherlands people, additional time and options have been gained to amend some of the most severe faults of the Treaty. The Signatory States are responsible for an immediate redraft of the Constitution in order to replace the Treaty of Nice, which is still in force and which contains even worse aspects.

ELDH demands that, in particular, the following points in the Treaty for a European Constitution have to be changed.

Reduction in length so as to contain only the necessary content of a constitution

The text of the constitution has to be comprehensive and precise and free from internal contradictions. The fundamental political priorities have to be self-evident. The Constitution should concentrate on the important elements of a constitution and has to be free of other elements, which belong in the other treaties between the member states of the European Union. Necessary elements of the Constitution are, in particular: fundamental aims, fundamental rights, the balance of power between Parliament, Executive and Jurisdiction, and basics of the procedure for the election of the European Parliament.

Strengthening of the Parliament

The Constitution must to grant the Parliament the necessary authentic rights. This includes the Parliament’s rights to initiate laws. In case of divergence between the Council of Ministers and the Parliament, the latter’s vote must have priority.

Priority of social aims

In relationship to the “fundamental liberties of the European Union” the Constitution has to give priority to the solution of social problems such as unemployment and poverty within the European Union. The constitution must make clear that the solution of these problems cannot be achieved by a neo-liberal economic order. It must make clear that the solution of such problems may have to be guaranteed, even against the interests of companies and speculators.

This also means also that the safeguarding or the creation of a strong public sector have to be supported in the EU member states, in order to offer the citizens a wide variety of public services as a basis for social cohesion and solidarity as well as for economic development.

In the spirit of the before-mentioned priorities the tasks of the European Central Bank  must also be defined.

Democratisation of the economy

The Constitution must contain a clear obligation for  democratisation of the economy. This includes, in particular, a list of irrevocable rights of co-determination for European Works councils and the compulsory participation of workers in the supervisory boards of companies and company groups from a certain number of employees upwards .

European collective bargaining

The Constitution must guarantee for Trades Unions  the right to collective bargaining on a European level. In this context the right to take strike action  Europe-wide must be acknowledged. It must be granted to all employees in the private sector as well as in the public sector. In order to prevent a de facto restriction of the right to take strike action a general ban on lockouts has to be declared.

Fundamental Rights

The catalogue of fundamental rights in the Constitution must not only bind the bodies of the European Union but also be applicable directly on the Member States and for their citizens, as well as in the private sector. The citizens must have the right to enforce their fundamental rights if necessary ultimately before the European Court of Justice in Luxemburg. The Human Rights and the fundamental liberties of the European Convention have also to be integrated as a basic right also in the Constitution. The European Union must ratify the European Convention on Human Rights, and the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights should be recognised as binding on the European Union as well as States Parties.

The right to live free of physical and of psychological harm must have highest priority. Torture and the death penalty must be forbidden even in the state of emergency. as in Arts 2, 3 and 15 of the ECHR.

Child labour as well as compulsory labour must also be forbidden.


The Constitution has to make clear that the European Union will forbid any kind of anti-semitism, sexism and fascism.


The Constitution has to give unambiguous priority to the peaceful settlement of conflicts instead of the use of armed force. Military intervention must only be allowed for self defence in case of a imminent military attack, as is already enshrined in international law. Any reference to NATO has to be avoided in the Constitution. Any military intervention by the European Union must require  the consent of the European Parliament. Every possibility of disarmament has to be used in the framework of a long term programme. Instead of an agency of defence, an agency of peaceful settlement of conflicts has to be created.

The fundamental right to refuse war service has to be added to the Constitution. All soldiers must have this right without limitations even in times of crisis and war.

World wide development – Asylum

The Constitution has to stress the responsibility of the European Union for  social development in other countries. It has to acknowledge escape and migration as a necessary recourse of people, in particular, under the threat of war and poverty. The right to asylum has to be granted also in cases of non-state persecution and in the case of persecution due to the sex of the victim or due to sexual orientation. The expulsion has to be excluded in any case where the person is under the threat of persecution in the cases defined by the right to asylum. This must also apply to cases in which the expulsion might provoke severe psychological disorders.

Right to vote for every person

The Constitution has to guarantee the right to vote for the European Parliament to all residents inside a member state of the European Union with a legal status of at least 5 years, under the same conditions as to any EU citizen.

Direct democracy

For the citizens of the European Union the possibility has to be given to take decisions by referendum which are also binding for the European legislative bodies.

Openness for the future

The constitution must enable the European Parliament to change the Constitution by a qualified majority, excepting certain irreversible rights and rules.

Adoption of the Constitution

The Constitution has to be adopted in all Member States of the European Union by a common referendum in order to guarantee its utmost legitimacy and acceptance.

Berlin, October 2005