Lisbon Treaty Democratization and State essay

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Political legitimacy derives from the peoples of the Member States and thus from the states themselves; (b) the primacy of European law: this is not 'absolute' and the Court reserves the right to block European legislation in order to protect sovereignty and 'constitutional identity', which is, moreover, enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty itself; and (c) ring-fences certain sovereign powers for the Member States: in the areas of criminal law and procedure, policing, military matters, fiscal policy (thus precluding 'economic government') and social, cultural, religious, educational and media affairs; and (5) Emphasizes that the formal creation of a European federal state and the transfer of such powers to that state would require a change in the Constitution and therefore a referendum. (Beaudouin, 2009)

Beaudouin reports that the Lisbon Treaty makes the EU "considerably more powerful by merging the three pillars, endowing the Union with legal personality, extending its competences, establishing the principle of qualified majority voting, creating the post of High Representative for the CFSP and incorporating the Charter of Fundamental Rights into the Treaty itself." (Beaudouin, 2009) Beaudouin (2009) states that the European Union "...has both federal and intergovernmental traits: 'The extent of the Union's freedom of action has steadily and considerably increased, not least with the Treaty of Lisbon, so that in some fields of policy, the European Union now has a shape that corresponds to that of a federal state, i.e. is analogous to that of a state. In contrast, the internal decision-making and appointment procedures remain predominantly committed to the pattern of an international organization, i.e. are analogous to international law; as before, the structure of the European Union essentially follows the principle of the equality of states.' (FCC press release, point 1) As Europe is not a federal state, the Council is not a second chamber, the European Parliament does not represent one people and the Commission is merely a supranational body: 'On the European level, the Council is not a second chamber as it would be in a federal state but the representative body of the masters of the Treaties; correspondingly, it is not constituted according to proportional representation but according to the image of the equality of states. As a representative body of the peoples that is directly elected by the citizens of the Union, the European Parliament is an additional independent source of democratic legitimization [...]. As a representative body of the peoples in a supranational community, which as such is characterized by a limited willingness to unite, it cannot, and need not as regards its composition, comply with the requirements that arise on the state level from the citizens' equal political right to vote. As a supranational body, the Commission need not extensively fulfill the conditions of a government that is fully accountable either to Parliament or to the majority decision of the electorate because the Commission itself is not obliged by the will of the electorate in a comparable manner.' (point 271)." (2009)

Beaudouin (2009) additionally states that even with the Lisbon Treaty "...the Union will suffer from a democratic deficit and the European Parliament will not represent one sovereign European people: 'Measured against requirements in a constitutional state, the European Union lacks, even after the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, a political decision-making body which has come into being by equal election of all citizens of the Union and which is able uniformly to represent the will of the people [...]. Even after the new formulation of Article 14.2 TEU Lisbon [...] the European Parliament is not a body of representation of a sovereign European people. This is reflected in the fact that - as the representation of the peoples in their respectively assigned national contingents of Members - it is not laid out as a body of representation of the citizens of the Union as an undistinguished unity according to the principle of electoral equality.' (2009)

Beaudouin (2009) additionally reports Points 240 and 252 and states that the Lisbon Treaty " compatible with the basic law provided that state sovereignty is not waived. This judgment includes the first official definition of an inviolable boundary around sovereign competences: Sovereignty has a boundary, within which states must retain sufficient room for maneuver and which contains the policy areas of security, defense, law and criminal procedure, budgetary revenue and expenditure, family, cultural, educational and social affairs and certain basic freedoms.

Beaudouin (2009) states that European unification on the basis of a union of sovereign states under the Treaties "may however, not be realized in such a way that the Member States do not retain sufficient space for the political formation of the economic, cultural and social circumstances of life. This applies in particular to areas which shape the citizens' circumstances of life, in particular the private space of their own responsibility and of political and social security, which is protected by the fundamental rights, and to political decisions that particularly depend on previous understanding as regards culture, history and language and which unfold in discourses in the space of a political public that is organized by party politics and Parliament. Essential areas of democratic formative action comprise, inter alia, citizenship, the civil and the military monopoly on the use of force, revenue and expenditure including external financing and all elements of encroachment that are decisive for the realization of fundamental rights, above all as regards intensive encroachments on fundamental rights such as [...] deprivation of liberty in the administration of criminal law or placement in an institution. These important areas also include cultural issues such as the disposition of language, the shaping of circumstances concerning the family and education, the ordering of [...] freedom of opinion, of the press and of association and provision for the profession of faith or ideology." (Beaudouin, 2009)

In regards to the states and their respective constitutions "What have always been deemed especially sensitive for the ability of a constitutional state to shape itself democratically are decisions on criminal law and procedure and on the disposition of the police monopoly on the use of force within the state and the military monopoly on the use of force externally; the fundamental fiscal decisions on public revenue and public expenditure, with the latter being particularly motivated, inter alia, by social-policy considerations; decisions on the shaping of the circumstances of life in a social state; and decisions which are of particular importance culturally, for example about family law, the school and education system and dealing with religious communities." (Beaudouin, 2009)

The second point made in the Beaudouin's report is that since the states "must remain sole masters of the Treaties, the bridging clauses are unconstitutional. Specifically noted is Point 231 which states 'The empowerment to transfer sovereign powers to the European Union or other intergovernmental institution permits a shift of political rule to international organizations. The empowerment to exercise supranational competences comes, however, from the Member States of such an institution. They therefore permanently remain the masters of the Treaties. In a functional sense, the source of Community authority, and of the European constitution that constitutes it, is the peoples of Europe with their democratic constitutions in their states. The 'Constitution of Europe', the law of international agreements or primary law, remains a derived order." (Beaudouin, 2009) Beaudouin notes that the Union "may not be endowed with the power to determine its own competence." (2009)

II. Report of Ireland (European Journal, 2009)

In the September 2009 issue of the European Journal it is reported that Ireland has One-Hundred reasons to vote no to the Lisbon Treaty. Some of those reasons are stated to include the following: (1) There have already been high levels of unemployment in the European Union including countries such as Spain with unemployment rates of 18% following ratification of the Lisbon Treaty; (2) approximately 450,000 are presently unemployed due to cuts and are under the weight of mortgage payments, taxes, public bank bail-outs, etc.; (3) 3. MEPs claim up to €1,000,000 in expenses each term, while massive job losses continue on an everyday basis (4) Ireland is still a full member of the EU even without the Lisbon Treaty; (5) Should Ireland vote no then there will still be access available to the European single market while the focus of the…[continue]

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