GÃƒÂ©rard Onesta, Vice President of the European Parliament from the French Greens, has released his ideas about how to restart the ratification process of the European Constitution. His ‘Plan A+‘ suggests leaving the text of the Constitution intact, but dividing up the text for the sake of ratification – making the first 100 articles or so the essential constitution and putting those to a Europe-wide referendum that would need half of member states representing half of the bloc’s population to be approved. The remaining (treaty) part with all the policies in it would need a traditional Parliamentary ratification in each of the 27 Member States, with an additional revision clause that 80 percent of governments and 80 percent of national parliaments would be needed to agree to amendments to this part.
While I am no fan of a Europe-wide referendum (in fact I hate referendums full stop), Onesta’s plan does have some validity. It keeps the essence of the Consitution intact, it reassures citizens that the main policy areas are not cast in stone, and it would not need new ratifications in those countries that have already approved the Constitution.
On the other hand, I just cannot see how this plan might work. There’s little hope that the UK population would approve even a small 100 articles of text that most likely contains little of concern to the British and – knowing this – I cannot possibly see why or how Gordon Brown would approve of such a plan. With David Miliband, Peter Mandelson and others speaking of how Europe needs to win citizens’ support through positive policy decisions as opposed to constitutional grandstanding, and Brown himself not being a keen European, I’m sure the British would stand in the way of Onesta’s approach.