Tomorrow the Dutch will have to cast their votes in an importantreferendum about acceptance of a European constitution.
I will vote “Yes”; in favor of the new constitution. But I ham nothappy about it. Most of the discussion and propaganda has not been tothe point and has not been based on a lot of emotion instead ofarguments.
Some thoughts on the whole issue.
Consolidation of the existing treaties, a huge amount of text, is mostprobably a good thing. From what I am led to believe the Euro citizensget more influence through the Euro Parliament and have theopportunity to set agenda items (I have one, see below). Besidesindividual nations loose their possibility to “veto”. The current”Nice” treaty was established in the times Europe was small, it wasnot designed to work with a number of nations more than 3 times biggerthan then. Unfortunately we are still talking about a legal text thatnon of the ‘demos’ will have read before casting their votes. Theproblem is that this constitution is just not a constitution. Its nota statement of simple principles, it is a complex multi-nation treaty. Only “part II” is what I as a constitution.
I believe in democracy. The representive is the particular flavor ofdemocracy is the one that I think works best. I trust a number of mypeers to have a particular critical quality and spend time to makeinformed decisions. That in practice this does not always work welland our representatives are a bunch of nitwits is besides the point.I have the possibility to become a representing nitwit myself and Ican choose others when I think that is needed.
I do not believe in referenda. An issue like this treaty has beenprepared for years, the yes/no choice is often influenced by the”hype-of-the-day” which has nothing to do with the issue itself.
One of the more important influences on the “Non” result in the Frenchelections has been the “Bolkestein Directive”. Although this directiveis an important European result and may touch many of the Frenchworkers directly in their wallets, the directive is just not relatedto the treaty. Besides many of the French just casted a “Non” vote asa sign they are not happy with their current French government.
Many proponents argue that the political elite is trying to force thethis treaty down our troats. That that political elite has beenelected by us seems to be beside the point. On the other hand I thinkthat in a representative democracy important decisions, such as thechange of the (or in this case “a”) constitution should be left to ourchosen representatives. If the issue is important enough newelections should be organized, so that the people have a change toinfluence the decision by choosing new representatives. I am realistic enough to know that our representatives are to much of a polical elite that reelections are never going to work.
I am pretty convinced that the new treaty will cause us, the Dutch, tolose prosperity. Europe is getting bigger and the prosperity will needto be shared among all of us. Actually (although it scares me) theprosperity will need to be shared on a global scale.
Finally a stable Europe with a colon economy is a safeguardagainst new wars. I have eared stories about the horrors of war fromfirst-hand account — Both my parents are from 1932 and grew up inArnhem, they know.
The first agenda item that the citizens of Europe should push forwardis “One office for the parlaiment”. Strazbourg and Brussels is just awaste of resources.
(This has the possibility to turn into an Essay, but I just do nothave the time to precisely phrase all my thoughts and arguments onthis issue.)