HERITAGE IN EUROPEAN CONSTITUTION 2003
A network of more than 600 NGOs working to combat racism in all the EU member states, the European Network against Racism (ENAR) feels worried by the current controversy over an explicit reference to religion in the future EU constitution.
Pope John Paul II has repeatedly stated that "Europe cannot deny its Christian heritage, since a great part of its achievements in the fields of law, art, literature and philosophy have been influenced by the evangelical message (...) Europe will need to draw inspiration with creative fidelity from the Christian roots that have defined European history."
ENAR Chair Bashy Quraishy comments: "There is no denying that Christianity has made a decisive contribution to European identity, but then so has Judaism and Islam, both present for centuries on European soil. Furthermore, Europe is becoming increasingly multicultural and multireligious, something an EU constitution should reflect. We feel that a constitutional text of such importance should either find a wording which pays tribute to the existing variety of spiritual riches, or not mention spiritual values altogether."
CONSTITUTION FOR EUROPE 2004
DRAWING INSPIRATION from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, from which have developed the universal values of the inviolable and inalienable rights of the human person, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law,
BELIEVING that Europe, reunited after bitter experiences, intends to continue along the path of civilisation, progress and prosperity, for the good of all its inhabitants, including the weakest and most deprived; that it wishes to remain a continent open to culture, learning and social progress; and that it wishes to deepen the democratic and transparent nature of its public life, and to strive for peace, justice and solidarity throughout the world,
CONVINCED that, while remaining proud of their own national identities and history, the peoples of Europe are determined to transcend their former divisions and, united ever more closely, to forge a common destiny,
CONVINCED that, thus ‘United in diversity’, Europe offers them the best chance of pursuing, with due regard for the rights of each individual and in awareness of their responsibilities towards future generations and the Earth, the great venture which makes of it a special area of human hope,
DETERMINED to continue the work accomplished within the framework of the Treaties establishing the European Communities and the Treaty on European Union, by ensuring the continuity of the Community acquis,
GRATEFUL to the members of the European Convention for having prepared the draft of this Constitution on behalf of the citizens and States of Europe,
|(Before it can enter into force, the
Constitution for Europe must be
ratified by all the Member States of the European Union. However,
the two "no" votes do not mean an end to the ratification process,
which is continuing according to plan.
The present situation is as follows:
15 Member States have already ratified the Constitution for Europe: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.
The people of France and the Netherlands rejected the text of the Constitution on 29 May and 1 June respectively.
In the light of these results, the European Council, meeting on 16 and 17 June 2005, considered that “we do not feel that the date initially planned for a report on ratification of the Treaty, 1 November 2006, is still tenable, since those countries which have not yet ratified the Treaty will be unable to furnish a clear reply before mid-2007.” A period of reflection, explanation and discussion is currently under way in all countries, whether or not they have ratified the Constitution. The state of discussions on ratification of the Constitutional Treaty will be examined by the European Council under the Austrian Presidency (in the first half of 2006).
The process of ratification by the Member States has therefore not been abandoned. If necessary, the timetable will be adjusted to reflect the circumstances in the countries which have not yet ratified the Treaty. )