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ok i'm going to talk about our referendum on the EU's constitution, so approximately 88 percent of you guys are going to skip this entry. yes i like to think i know my audience pretty well.. :p

i'm going to vote no. there, i said it.

first let me make a few things clear:
i don't have major concerns about the possible future membership of turkey in the union. (that's the reason why right extremists are against)
i have nothing against my fellow europeans.
and no i'm not afraid of new things.

the politicians in favour of this constitution sat on their butt for too long before starting their campaign, thinking it would all work out fine. and when they finally started handing out their leaflets and delivering their speeches, well then the real fun began:
they warned and threatened us not to vote no. according to one politician all the lights would go out in our country (metaphorically speaking, i assume)
another one predicted war.
we were also advised to stay at home if we were going to vote no for all the wrong reasons.

only in the last few days have there been some real debates, with arguments you could take seriously. but it's all a bit too little too late. besides, this constitution isn't a real constitution. and too many things are too vague and meaningless, leaving too much room for interpretation and compromise.

i'm not going to discuss every aspect of this constitution here. that would take too much space and time.
don't think i'm voting no out of dissatisfaction with our current government. i'll deal with that lot in the next general elections. for now, i just want to send them back to the drawing board..

Comments

( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
labrax
Jun. 1st, 2005 08:58 am (UTC)
Like you i will vote no, too, however i do believe that EU wiil have to shift to a federal union of states, we can use the US example and perfection it, and in order to do so a constitution will have to exist.

Turkey, i'd say yes, too, but in the long term, that is 30-40 years.
tamar
Jun. 3rd, 2005 07:22 am (UTC)
i don't like the idea of europe as one big country: the united states of europe..
we're told it won't come to that. that the EU has been and always will be an association of cooperating countries. nothing more, nothing less. i'm not sure if this is true. there will always be some countries who want more integration and those who want to stay more independant and keep more of their national rights.
more joint action will be taken according to this constitution. it all depends in how many areas a country can still go their own way.
(no subject) - levas - Jun. 3rd, 2005 06:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tamar - Jun. 8th, 2005 05:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - levas - Jun. 9th, 2005 09:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
arctos
Jun. 1st, 2005 09:12 am (UTC)
I'm sadly ignorant concerning the EU.

My main concern would be the loss of cultural diversity and political sovereignty. While not a cultural relativist, I do believe that political/social/biological innovation (ie, evolution) comes best where diversity is strongest. It is a shame to me that, here, in the United States, diversity on many levels has been plowed under by the "pundits of progress."

In an interesting observation, it seems to me that the EU has been ratified in countries where policy makers make such decisions. However, in France and the Netherlands, where people vote in order to ratify - the EU has been rejected.

Is this observation correct? Do the people fear a consolidation of capital(the rich get richer)? What other issues are there? I'm intrigued and would appreciate your insight.

tamar
Jun. 3rd, 2005 07:25 am (UTC)
somewhere in this constitution it is said that cultural traditions are to be respected (or something like that). this is a good thing of course, but it also means for example that spain can continue with their bullfights.

i believe there have been three referenda so far. france and the netherlands rejected this constitution, but people in spain said yes. i don't know what information they have had, but the voter turnout wasn't much more than 40%. and yes, in too many other countries the constitution only needed parliamentary approval.

it's not so much about the rich getting richer. the general public will always assume that and many times they are right. what
people feared most (right wing voters mainly): an immigration increase, cheap labour from eastern europe and (though this wasn't what this referendum was about) turkey wanting to join the european union.
(no subject) - levas - Jun. 3rd, 2005 06:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
caitif
Jun. 1st, 2005 09:51 am (UTC)
if you have more time please do explain more. i don't know much about it (not living in europe and being a little study obsessed at the moment) but i would be interested to know what you think.
tamar
Jun. 3rd, 2005 07:27 am (UTC)
i will try to answer all the questions asked in these comments. i have less time for it than i expected, so this might take a few days. if you want to know anything specific that isn't mentioned here, please do ask.
greystroke
Jun. 1st, 2005 12:16 pm (UTC)
any document of 500 pages created by bureaucrats trying to incorporate all the various existing treaties would be a nightmare for translators and voters ...
tamar
Jun. 3rd, 2005 07:40 am (UTC)
well if there's one thing there are plenty of in brussels and strasbourg, it's translators! :p
but seriously, they should have consulted the public much sooner, let them participate in the whole process. now that would have been democratic. not saying "this is it, now sign it!"
(no subject) - levas - Jun. 3rd, 2005 06:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
garaynbow
Jun. 1st, 2005 12:27 pm (UTC)
I'm just wondering how long they've given voters to mull this over. It just seems like something that is such a heavy decision should be completely understood by the voters. It seems like it is almost a way to "slip something by". For that reason alone, I would vote "no". However, I am pretty typically American and ignorant of a lot of the issues ratification would cause.
tamar
Jun. 6th, 2005 08:08 am (UTC)
well not even people interested in politics (like me) were ever going to read the actual constitution. almost 500 pages of dry legal text, about 60,000 words, i believe. (to compare: the united states constitution has
4,600 words)
so they gave us leaflets and an internet vote test, both very biased.
with the date of the referendum approaching, more and more politicians appeared on television. most of them were simply telling us to vote for the constitution, but some even tried to warn us, using arguments like 'a no vote might lead to a second holocaust'. in the end you might say their own 'yes' campaign hasn't done them much good.
i like to see what happens next. have they learned their lesson? do they know they need to get the public involved next time? at least more people are talking about europe now than ever, which is a good thing..
bobajob
Jun. 1st, 2005 12:38 pm (UTC)
I completely agree with you - a sad lack of credible information from any European government has led me to consider that the NO vote is the only option
tamar
Jun. 7th, 2005 01:03 am (UTC)
you're from the UK right? i believe the referendum in your country is going to be postponed? i guess it's all academic anyway, after the results in france and the netherlands..
(no subject) - bobajob - Jun. 7th, 2005 01:39 am (UTC) - Expand
jimmycheese
Jun. 1st, 2005 03:39 pm (UTC)
Being from the US, I live in a little bubble. I can tell you many things about our country, but very little about others. I was hoping (like others have said here) to read more about it and to hear others view points.
tamar
Jun. 7th, 2005 01:22 am (UTC)
i know a lot of the american media is almost entirely focused on the U.S. maybe that's obvious, maybe not.
where do you get your information on the rest of the world? CNN? the internet?

please do ask if you have any specific questions about this constitution or europe in general. i'm not saying i'm an expert on this, but i could at least try to answer them.. :p
cumboy
Jun. 1st, 2005 04:14 pm (UTC)
i was listening to the radio and they were talking about the eu constitution.

it seems there may be some problems with freedoms of speech or criticizing the government. here in the usa you are allowed to say or publish just about anything. from what i heard you could be arrested for saying things if the new eu constitution is approved. that's not so good.
tamar
Jun. 7th, 2005 01:50 am (UTC)
well we don't have our own patriot act just yet. freedom of speech is still more or less the same. however there are plans in the making in the EU to make it easier for police and secret services to monitor our every move on the internet. eventually they want to record every phone call, email, every site you visit and archive that information for years. even if you got nothing to hide, it's a scary idea..
gerbie
Jun. 1st, 2005 04:17 pm (UTC)
wrote about my dilemma:

http://www.livejournal.com/users/gerbie/392693.html

In the end I decided not to go today:

http://www.livejournal.com/users/gerbie/395065.html

Imho my objections against a referendum are much stronger than my arguments for the constitution.
tamar
Jun. 7th, 2005 02:25 am (UTC)
i don't know. the only kind of referendum we have here is the non-binding one. the results of which our government can choose to ignore if not enough people show up to vote.
i think the referendum we just had was a good one, for the right reasons and with a good result. and it got lots of people thinking about europe (maybe for the first time) which is a good thing. but i do hope that the opposition parties aren't going to want a referendum each time they disagree with the government and want to leave it up to the public to decide. people will become tired of it pretty soon.
(no subject) - gerbie - Jun. 7th, 2005 06:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
1punky4u
Jun. 1st, 2005 07:12 pm (UTC)
sounds like (and i have always thought this way of you) that you ar eappraoching with consideration and intelligent thinking. and new political adjustment the are debated too little too late are in my opnion not worthy of support. Discussion, consultation, deliberation and attention to the finer points..

tamar
Jun. 7th, 2005 08:22 am (UTC)
well if they don't supply enough information or it is too biased, you have to look for it elsewhere. think what it's really about, look at it from different sides. so yeah, basically what you just said.. :p
blakeseventy3
Jun. 2nd, 2005 02:03 am (UTC)
That sounds VERY similar to the Australian Republic referendum back in 2001. It was all hot air until the last couple of months, and the republican option they put forward wasn't a very good or well thought-out one, and the government (who are pro-monarchy) said after the no vote that it was proof that we wanted a monarchy. Um.. not at all. We just want a system that works.. .the monarchy doesn't.. but what's the point replacing one stupid system with another one that probably won't work?
tamar
Jun. 7th, 2005 08:43 am (UTC)
i'm not that familiar with australian politics. is that howard guy still prime minister? i've seen it mentioned here on livejournal that some people really hate his guts. don't quite remember why though.. :p

the thing with referendums is that it's quite important what words they use. i'm sure they can manipulate the outcome by leaving something vital out or drawing attention to something else..
(no subject) - blakeseventy3 - Jun. 7th, 2005 11:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
justkj
Jun. 2nd, 2005 02:47 am (UTC)
Like others who have posted, I live in the US and, ashamedly, in a bubble. I have read and listened to some of the information on the EU and think overall it is a good idea. I think the greatest problem faced is the individuality of member nations and their willingness to become a part of a larger union. They would have to give up a certain amount of sovernty (sp?) to gain the economic clout and benefits of the union.

In a way I think it was easier for the 13 colonies that formed the United states to do that as it was a simpler time and scale of the independent colonies was much smaller (population, governments, economies) that it was easier to join together than it will be for the existing nations of Europe.

I too would like to hear more about what you and other Europeans think about the EU's present and future.
tamar
Jun. 8th, 2005 05:43 am (UTC)
yes in theory it's a great idea. working together more closely, more prosperity, the same rights for everyone.. i'm all for a united, democratic and social europe. what does concern me however, is that too much power will be taken away from our national parliament. i also think a bunch of civil servants in brussels shouldn't interfere with things like our national health and welfare system.

i think we need a more flexible EU, less centralized and bureaucratic. but yeah, that's my personal opinion..
rkledgerwood
Jun. 2nd, 2005 04:33 am (UTC)
Of course, you are free to vote your will.

I tend to view the whole of the EU from the point of view of the accession countries like Slovakia & the Czech Republic. And I don't think going back to drawing board to rethink this document will harm the new accession countries in the long run. It certainly won't harm the original EEC countries (like yours), either . . . .

The point of view from this USA lawyer is to prefer a much simpler Constitution, which would state universal principles and provide for the European Parliament to make detailed statutes and for the ECJ to interpret them. But this model would much more closely resemble the US Constitution. Of course, I don't think that would be a bad thing, but the EU countries won't let me vote. ;-) It could allow for greater retention of national sovereignty and self-governance.
tamar
Jun. 8th, 2005 05:47 am (UTC)
someone pointed out to me this week that the united states constitution uses about 4.600 words. the european constitution has over 60.000! i know you can't compare the two, but shouldn't a constitution be more like a guideline than such a detailed script that tries to cover everything?

i like the fact that quite a few ordinary people seem a bit more interested in europe now and which direction it should or shouldn't be going. let's hope it stays that way for a while.
(no subject) - rkledgerwood - Jun. 12th, 2005 08:18 am (UTC) - Expand
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )