Constitutional Law

Show me what a European Constitution looks like!

This is the full text of the Constitution we propose: one preamble, six articles, and roughly twelve pages in total. No more, no less. Based on the structure of the enduring US Constitution, the document incorporates institutional structures taken from the German and Austrian Constitutions, and adds specific innovative provisions designed to ensure a democratic, transparent and efficient system of government.

Click on “expand” and “collapse” to show and hide the text, and on “comments” for a detailed review of the section at hand. You can also download the PDF version. Enjoy the discovery!

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Preamble
We the People of the European Union, united in our diversity, common history and shared values, in order to form an ever-closer Union, ensure the fundamental rights of all, promote solidarity, development and the general welfare, and secure a free, peaceful and sustainable future for generations to come, establish and adopt this Constitution for the European Union.

Comments
This document aims at proposing a realistic constitution for a federal European Union. It was developed mainly based on the US Constitution which, as a document binding several separate States previously part of a confederation, is particularly relevant for the EU context, although the longer history of nation-States in Europe make their situation quite unique. The US Constitution also has major advantages, including its longevity – despite enormous changes in the country, economically, politically, military and socially –, its brevity, and its language.

A constitution is as much a political as it is a legal document. Indeed, the constitution is the supreme law of the land and will be used to define institutions, create law, and sue physical and moral persons. Its legal structure must therefore be stable and sound. However, it is also a political document, the rallying point of people and States, the presentation of a country’s principles and raison d’être. As such, it must be readable by all, understandable by all, and speak to all. It must be clear and concise. This is one of the reasons the European Union’s previous attempt at a constitution failed: the overly long and technocratic document was not only so detailed as to include grounds for everyone to oppose it, but it also prevented anyone – in particular the non-well-versed in legal lingo – to grasp its meaning. Compare the US Constitution’s seven articles to the Treaty on an EU Constitution’s four parts, forty-four titles and sections, and four hundred and forty-eight articles. The table of content alone spans four pages. While not everything is bad in that document, it embodies the reason most Europeans do not feel close to the European Union: it is unreadable.

As a result, this attempt at a constitution does not claim to answer all questions and to define all parts of federal or State life. A constitution is supplemented over time by federal law, State law, and judicial precedent. From there will come its ability to ensure flexibility and adapt. As such, its incompleteness is as much as result of its length as it is a feature to guarantee its future. In the institutional and political house we build for ourselves and future generations, the constitution is the foundations, roof and walls: it ensures stability and permanence, yet does not preclude further extensions nor sets the exact design of the whole.

This document was drafted in the following manner. Firstly, all mentions of slavery and related racial issues were expunged from the text. Secondly, all relevant amendments were integrated into the main body of the text. Thirdly, articles on Congress and the Judiciary were rewritten to fit the envisaged European institutions, still heavily based on their US counterpart. Fourthly, the article on the Executive was mostly replaced to provide for a Parliamentary system, based on the German Basic Law. An essential article on fundamental rights and responsibilities was added. Finally, the whole of the document was reviewed, amended to adapt the vocabulary where relevant, and modified to ensure the presence of specific provisions, especially in final articles.

The vocabulary was simplified in many occasions. However, it was decided to keep a sometimes “antique” feeling to the text. This was made by design, as it sometimes is clearer and more specific than a more modern phrasing, and also because it seemed to fit the character of the document without making it obscure or unreadable. This is eminently debatable and some might wish to replace “No person shall be a Member of Parliament who shall not have turned twenty-five” with “Members of Parliament shall/must be at least twenty-five”. We can argue over the merits of both; for the time being, we vouch for the former.

This document, as other constitutions, contains political orientations built in; these can be discussed and amended but no provisions were left included without a specific reason. Overall, this proposed European Constitution aims at providing not a ready-made text, nor a simple intellectual exercise, but a workable legal and political document that could form the basis of sound, stable and fair set of institutions.

Article I presents the fundamental right and responsibilities associated with this Constitution.
Article II details the institutions and functioning of the legislative branch, composed of a Parliament and Senate.
Article III details the institutions and functioning of the executive branch, led by a President and run by a federal cabinet of ministers.
Article IV details the institutions and functioning of the judicial branch, headed by a Supreme and lower court, as necessary.
Article V contains general provisions concerning citizens, public officials and States.
Article VI contains provisions for the Constitution itself, including amendments, supremacy and entry into force.

Article I – Fundamental rights and responsibilities
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Section 1 – Fundamental rights
Inviolable and inalienable human rights form the basis of every community; respecting, protecting, ensuring, and actively promoting them shall be the duty of all federal authorities. Every individual shall have the freedom to exercise his rights, provided he does not violate the rights of others or upset the constitutional order.

The European Union recognises the following rights to all, citizens or not: the right to life and physical integrity; equality for all before the law; equality of opportunity; freedom of conscience, opinion and belief; freedom of expression; freedom of peaceful assembly; freedom of association and to form political parties and unions; right to privacy of all means of communication, and personal data and information; freedom of movement; freedom of occupation; right to education; right to private property and protection of said property against unreasonable searches and seizures; right of asylum; right to petition federal authorities and expect a response, as prescribed by law. Citizens are also recognised the right to political representation, the right to an adequate standard of living, and the full enjoyment of public goods.

These rights shall be enjoyed by all with the clear absence of discrimination on any account, including, but not limited to, disability, employment, nationality, race or ethnicity, political and religious beliefs or lack thereof, gender, and sexual orientation.

The European Union also recognises human rights as defined in international instruments including, but not limited to, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the enumeration of the above rights shall not be construed to deny other rights retained by the people.

Accordingly, no right shall be interfered with unless pursuant to a law aimed at upholding the public safety and rights of the community, with fair consideration given to the necessity of security and the imperative of liberty. Any law interfering with a fundamental right shall apply generally and specify said affected right; in no case may the essence of a fundamental right be affected.

All citizens shall have the right to resist any person seeking to abolish this constitutional order, if no other remedy is available.

Individuals affected in their rights shall have access to redress through the courts, with fair, efficient and timely access to justice.

Comments

After a quick preamble on the goals of this Constitution, Article 1 starts with the most important element: the rights and responsibilities of the citizens of the Union (with some rights also recognised for non-EU citizens). Section 1 focuses on the rights.


Paragraph 1 explains that it is the federal institutions’ supreme responsibility, through all its actions, to not only respect and protect, but also ensure and actively promote fundamental rights. Of course, rights are not absolute and a citizen’s rights stop where that of another begin. This includes respect for this constitutional order (as it itself acts to guarantee rights for all) and rights of the community, including public safety.


Paragraph 2 details a non-exhaustive list of rights that are recognised. Among them: right to life and physical integrity (this covers habeas corpus, as one cannot be deprived of his physical integrity unless with due process of law), equality before the law (therefore absence of discrimination), fundamental freedoms of conscience, expression, peaceful assembly, association (explicitly made to include unions and political parties), right to privacy (made to forbid mass surveillance of means of communications of law enforcement agencies and entrench data protection), right to private property (encompassing a protection against unreasonable searches and seizures), right to petition federal institutions (Congress is here implicitly expected to indicate the modalities of the response, including the number of signatories required). 


Paragraph 3 underlines that there shall be no discrimination in the enjoyment of these rights. 


Paragraph 4 makes a provision with international law, citing relevant documents. 
Paragraph 5 indicates that the only way to temper with rights is through the law and provided this law aims at protecting the rights of the community, with specific details, and not violating the essence of the right itself. It insists on the need to balance security and liberty, with more emphasis on the latter.


Paragraph 6 makes a provision for the right to resist. Resistance isn’t construed as the right to simply oppose federal authorities but only, when no other way is available, to oppose someone trying to upset the constitutional order.

Section 2 – Responsibilities
The enjoyment of the above rights incurs responsibilities for citizens towards the community.
All individuals shall respect the rights of others and the constitutional order. Abuse of these rights, as defined by law and judicial decisions, shall lead to the temporary withholdings of some or all of the abuser’s rights.

Education is a pillar of an informed citizenry. It shall therefore be compulsory and made affordable to all based on their resources.

Voting is a right and a duty for all citizens of legal voting age. Congress shall endeavour to make voting free, fair, transparent, and easy and accessible to all; voting in federal elections shall also be compulsory for all eligible citizens, under penalty of a fair fine to be ascertained by law.

Taxes are essential to the good functioning of public institutions, development, and the general welfare. Citizens and relevant moral persons have a duty to acquit themselves of their taxes, at all levels, in good faith.

Solidary and mutual support are cardinal values of community life. To foster these across the Union, Congress may decide on a compulsory community service. This service to the community shall be made flexible and compatible with educational requirements, and include financial compensation.

Mindful of their responsibility toward future generations, citizens and public institutions shall protect the environment, at home and abroad, including natural ecosystems and animals, by legislation. They shall act in a sustainable manner, in accordance with norms and standards set by law and judicial decisions, which are to be periodically reviewed and improved as necessary.

For the benefit of civic education and behaviour, all citizens shall get acquainted with their institutions, rights and responsibilities.

Comments

Section 2 presents responsibilities that befall citizens. This is somewhat of a new notion to include in a constitution but with great power comes great responsibility. It is known. As such, these responsibilities are not necessarily in and of themselves but are here codified for greater clarity.

Paragraph 2 holds that, despite our rights, we must still care for other people’s rights. Nor can we abuse our rights without consequences. Abuses will be made clear with judicial precedents but, in the case of freedom of speech, for instance, incitation to racial hatred is a clear form of abuse.

Paragraph 3 emphasises on the need for an informed citizenry. As often, Congress will be called upon to legislate and make the matter more enforceable. The principle is that of compulsory education, in one form or another, the cost of which being tailored to the citizen’s (or his guardians’) ability to pay. As such, in order to ensure education for all, the financial capacity to pay for one’s studies shall not stand in the way of someone to realise his potential. Finally, in order to ensure communication between the citizens of the Union, bilingual education in the national language and English is strongly encouraged from primary school; this recommendation is essential for the cohesion of the Union but going beyond the remit of the Constitution.

Paragraph 4 outlines voting as more than a right: voting is also a civic responsibility. As such, citizens are required to participate in political life at the very least through periodic voting. This Constitution makes a conscious effort to streamline elections, ensure their periodicity and synchronicity in order to facilitate voting; the flip side is that, when elections do take place, citizens must partake, under penalty of a fair fine. Congress is also called upon, later in this document, to make voting as easy as possible.

Paragraph 5 presents the imperative need of taxation in order to make institutions work. Since institutions do not work for profit, they need funding through taxes and it is a civic duty of citizens to pay the share assigned to them, at all levels of the administration. This is written to willingly oppose the description of taxes as theft and to counter blatant efforts to avoid taxes, either through illegal ways or through overly convoluted ways that leave no doubt as to their real intention.

Paragraph 6 sets up the possibility for Congress to create a mandatory civil service. In an age of professional militaries, it feels superfluous to ask for an EU-wide military service. However, a civil service – make flexible so as not to disrupt studies, and with fair compensation – is an important tool to create bonds beyond one’s group of origin and to mix with people of other generations, other walks of life, and other States.

Paragraph 7 outlines a broader responsibility towards the environment and future generations. We have a duty to do our utmost to leave the planet in a better state than we have found it. Environmental standards and norms must be periodically re-assessed to ensure stricter constraints. Protecting the environment can easily go hand-in-hand with economic growth, but when the two conflict the former must have the upper hand.

Paragraph 8 insists on civic education and behaviour and encourages citizens to get familiar with this Constitution, in order to better understand the functioning of federal institutions, the rights they are entitled to and the responsibilities that befall them. This document was designed to be short and clear; all of it is an invitation for the citizen to get acquainted with it.

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Article II – The legislative branch
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Section 1 – Establishment of a bicameral Congress
All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the European Union, which shall consist of two Houses: a Parliament and a Senate.

Comments
Article II describes the institutions and functioning of the legislative branch.

Section 1 establishes the federal legislature as a bicameral Congress, composed of a parliament (as lower house) and a Senate (as upper house). Bicameralism in federal systems is an important device to insure the representation of States: even though Senators are elected by the people, they are elected by all citizens of a given State and not only by the members of one of the State’s districts. And, unlike in Parliament, all States have the same voting power, regardless of their size, population or economy.

Section 2 – Establishment of the Parliament
The Parliament shall be composed of Members chosen every three years by the People of the member States. Members of Parliament are elected directly; one for each federal constituency, by majority judgment, and an additional number to account for Union-wide party proportionality. Congress shall detail the modalities of the election in a dedicated federal law. Each Member of Parliament shall have one vote in Parliament.

No person shall be a Member of Parliament who shall not turn twenty-five in the year of the election and been five years a citizen of the European Union, and who shall not, when elected, be a resident of that district in which he shall be elected. Members of Parliament shall not serve more than four terms or a combined ten years across more than four terms, including when filling a vacancy.

Parliament shall apportion Members of Parliament and direct taxes among the member States, according to their respective population. A census shall be completed within one year of the entry into force of this Constitution in all States where one has not been carried out in the preceding three years and approved by European Union institutions. A Union-wide census shall henceforth be completed one year before every other Congressional election and apportionment changed accordingly. For its first election, Congress may retain the current composition of the EU Parliament. Each State shall have at least one Member of Parliament.

Parliament shall divide States that are entitled to more than one Member of Parliament into single-member districts of roughly equal populations; this drawing of districts shall be done in a fair manner, not for clear political gain, based whenever possible on existing State and local districts, and the redrawing of a district shall be done concurrently by both Houses of Congress and approved by the Supreme Court.

When vacancies happen in the representation from any State, the Lower House thereof shall elect temporary Members of Parliament from its ranks and from the districts in question to fill such vacancies until the following Parliamentary election.

Parliament shall have the sole power of impeachment.

Parliament shall choose, by majority judgment, its President and other officers, including a President pro tempore, in the absence of the President or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the European Union. The President of the Parliament shall serve as Acting President of the European Union when neither the President or President of the Senate are able to serve.

Comments

Section 2 establishes Parliament as the lower house.

Paragraph 1 details basic principles about members of Parliament. Although we favour longer terms than three years for elected officials, the number was chosen for its ability to make Parliamentary, Senatorial and Presidential coincide. Here, the importance of spacing out elections and making them coincide felt more important than the actual duration. This Constitution does not provide for the dissolution of either Parliament or the Senate, nor does it include popular special elections in cases of vacancies. This is made to streamline electoral life and avoid constant elections (with over 700 Parliamentarians and over 50 Senators, special elections could happen often) disturbing regular political life. According to this system, federal elections simply take place on one single day every three years. On year X, all Parliamentarians, one half of the Senators and the President are elected; on year X+3, all of the Parliamentarians and the other half of the Senators are elected. This could be changed to four years but would make for long senatorial and presidential terms; three felt like a good compromise. Further simplification is provided by the fact that all popular federal elections use similar voting mechanisms, all based on majority judgment.

An important innovation is the way to elect federal officials. As indicated in later sections, senators and the president are elected using “majority judgment”, which has strong advantages in identifying the best suited candidate from the voters’ wishes. Since voters can express their opinion on all candidates, they are also incited to get acquainted with all of them and therefore broaden their political horizon. The election of Members of Parliament builds on this system, adding a requirement to ensure Union-wide party proportionality. As such, it combines two imperatives: having locally-elected officials for all federal constituency – in order for citizens to have their own elected official – and ensuring that the electorate’s party representation is found in Parliament. The preferred method is based on the Bundestag election, where the voting card groups two votes: one for the locally-elected official, and the other for a party. Here, we replace the first-by-the-post system with majority judgment. Further details are to be found in the electoral law but we propose a mechanism in our description of federal institutions.

Paragraph 2 sets criteria for eligibility: minimum age of 25 reached in the year of the election, five years a citizen, and resident of his district. A term limit of four terms (12 years) or a combined ten years over more terms is set. The precision “in the year of the election” is to allow all candidates born in the same year and, therefore, not have them affected by the precise date of the election. “Resident” replaces “inhabitant” in the original document as it felt easier to define.

Paragraph 3 details the number of Parliamentarian per State: representation shall be proportional, with all States having at least one representative. When States have more than one representative, the territory will be divided and people of one district will vote for one representative, instead of having all representatives selected by the entire nation (this will be the case for Senators). The method of apportionment needs not be specified in the Constitution but the Saint-Laguë method is strongly preferred. Districts will be determined on local criteria but need to be of roughly the same population. Periodic censuses will assess changes in the population and this will be reflected in the number of Parliamentarian in the following election. EU-wide censuses will be completed one year before every other round of federal elections in order to have time to amend the distribution of seats. Since elections alternate between “Parliament + half Senate” and “Parliament + half Senate + President”, it seems logical that the census be completed before the greater election. A census can be carried out by a federal agency or a State agency but must then be approved by a federal agency. Where a census hasn’t been carried out in the past three years, one needs to be carried out within a year of the entry into force of the Constitution. The drawing and re-drawing of district is commanded to be done in a fair manner, in order to avoid gerrymandering. The Supreme Court will validate the fairness of these drawings.

Paragraph 4 discusses what happens in case of permanent or long-term vacancy in the house (death, impeachment, inability to serve, etc.). Instead of holding special elections, which greatly multiplies the number of elections and upsets regular political life, it is proposed that the lower house of the State in question will carry out an election and send one of their own to fill the vacancy. This is an important element, as the overly frequent and uncoordinated occurrence of elections is detrimental to a sound democratic life and put undue pressure on some issues. Someone elected to fill a vacancy will see that time counted and affect his eligibility.

Finally, Paragraph 6 posits that Parliament will choose a President and President pro-tempore from its ranks. The President is third in line to hold the Presidency. The President pro-tempore serves when the President cannot.

Section 3 – Establishment of the Senate
The Senate of the European Union shall be composed of two Senators from each member State, elected every six years by the People of the member States. Senators are elected by majority judgment. Each Senator shall have one vote.

No person shall be a Senator who shall not turn thirty in the year of the election and been seven years a citizen of the European Union, and who shall not, when elected, be a resident of the State in which he shall be elected. Senators shall not serve more than three full terms or a combined fifteen years across more than three terms, including when filling a vacancy.

At the first ever session of the Senate, Senators shall be randomly divided into two groups, with the two Senators of each State in opposite groups. The seats of the Senators of the first group shall be vacated at the expiration of the third year, and those of the second group at the expiration of the sixth year, so that half may be elected every third year.

When vacancies happen in the representation of any States, the Upper House thereof shall elect temporary Senators from its ranks to fill such vacancies until the following election of the vacant seat. In cases where the member State has no Upper House, the one legislative house shall proceed with the election to fill the vacancies.

The Senate shall choose, by majority judgment, its President and other officers, including a President pro tempore, in the absence of the President, or when he shall exercise the Office of President of the European Union, but no person constitutionally ineligible to the Office of President shall be eligible to that of President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall serve as Acting President of the European Union when the President is unable to serve. In case of vacancy of the Office of President of the Senate, the Senate shall speedily elect a new President. The President of the Senate shall have one vote, unless the Senate be equally divided, in which case he shall have two votes.

The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When the President or Prime Minister of the European Union is tried, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall preside. A conviction shall require a two-thirds majority of the Members present.

Judgement in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than the removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office under the European Union, at all levels. The person convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgement and punishment, according to law.

Comments

Section 3 establishes the Senate as the upper house.

Paragraph 1 details basic principles about members of the Senate. Senators are elected for six years, concurrently with members of Parliament. All States have the same number of Senators and Senators are elected by the entirety of a State’s population. Senators are also elected by majority judgment. The reasoning is that, in federal systems, the upper house represents the people, not as citizens of the Union (through election in a small district), but as citizens of a State (through election across the entire State). Both members of Parliament and Senators are elected by popular vote but the member of Parliament represents local constituents, while Senators represent State constituents. The idea is to balance the interests of the citizens with the specificities of the States. This is essential for the sound democratic expression of all States’ interest and to make sure smaller States will not fear their inclusion into a greater ensemble. In the German upper house, the Bundesrat, seat representatives of the regional governments; this system was not retained to avoid the endless combinations of coalitions which is likely to confuse political life when taken at the EU level. Furthermore, the Senate is envisaged as a true legislature, not as a representation of local executives.

Paragraph 2 sets conditions for eligibility close to that of members of Parliament, but with more experience, which is in line with the mandate being longer. The term limit is set at 3 (eighteen years), or 15 years combined.

In order to allow for more periodic rotation, and renew the Senate more often than every six years, Paragraph 3 explains half of the Senate will be voted in every three years. When the Senate first gathers, Senators will be placed in two groups, with one senator of each State in each group. The decision of which senator ends up in which group should be made randomly, through a coin toss or any other system. The first group’s mandate will be of three years only and a new election will then fill their seats. The second group will remain for six years.

In Paragraph 4, vacancies are dealt with in a similar fashion as they are for Parliament: when a vacancy appears, the members of the Upper House of the concern State elect one of their own. There may be a risk that an elected Senator will willingly vacate his seat to make room for a person sure to be elected by the upper house. While this risk does exist, this would put the leaving senator at odds with his own oath and could be investigated by the House or, if need be, by the Supreme Court. It would also most likely have an effect on voters who would see themselves as robbed of their choice.

Paragraph 5 presents rules of replacement. The President of the Senate is next in line if the President is unable to serve. When the President of the Senate is unable to serve, the President pro-tempore replaces him. Since the President of the Union has stricter criteria to be eligible, the same criteria apply to the President of the Senate. In case of a tie (since the number of Senator is always even, with two senators per State), the President of the Senate has a tie-breaking vote. He may choose to use both votes differently, if he so chooses.

Paragraph 6 give the Senate the power to try impeachment that have been decided by Parliament.

Section 4 – Elections of members of Congress and recess
Elections of members of Congress occurring in the same year shall be held concurrently at a date chosen by Parliament. Elections shall therefore take place on the same day throughout the Union.

The places and manner of holding elections for all members of Congress shall be prescribed in each State by the legislature thereof. However, Congress may at any time, by law, make or alter such regulations.

Congress shall sit continuously, except for such periods in which it shall be in recess, as is necessary to consult with electors.

Comments

Section 4 provides details for elections. As such, and in a continued will to simplify and synchronise elections, all members of Congress to be voted on in the same year shall be so at the same date. That date shall, consequently, be the same all across the Union. Therefore, every three years, on one single day all members of Parliament, and half of the Senator will be voted on.

Modalities for the elections shall be decided by the State legislatures but Congress retains the right to change these regulations. This is made to ensure that elections are harmonised and that no discrimination is taking place in one or more States.

Section 5 – Internal rules for both Houses of Congress
Each House shall be the judge of the elections, results, behaviour and qualifications of its own Members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum for votes. A smaller number shall be authorised to compel the attendance of absent Members, in such manner and under such penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly behaviour, and, with a two-thirds majority and upon substantiated grounds, expel a Member. No Member shall be expelled based on his political opinion alone.

Members of Congress have the duty to vote. Each House may determine necessary penalties to enforce this provision.

Each House shall set up the necessary committees for the proper and efficient discharge of its responsibilities and the protection and upholding of fundamental rights.

Each House shall keep a public journal of its proceedings at all times, including the recordings of the votes of all Members. The journals shall be made easily accessible to the public at large in a timely fashion.

Both Houses will seat in a single location. The choice of this location shall be made by Congress with a view to facilitate its work.

Neither House shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three working days, nor relocate to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

Comments

Section 5 provides details on internal rules for Congress.

Paragraphs 1 and 2 give extensive leeway to both Houses for their elections and proceedings. Importantly, a small number of members of a House can compel others to attendance, in order to ensure that the system does not get blocked by the absence of some members.

Paragraph 3 imposes a duty to vote for members of Congress, under relevant penalties to be decided by their respective House.

Paragraph 4 gives houses the ability to create committees as required for its work, with the goal of ensuring the efficiency of legislative work.

Paragraph 5 requires both Houses to keep track of their work, including of their voting records by name. The journals must be made easily available to the general public without delay.

Paragraph 6 requires both Houses to seat at the same location. The choice of this location is made by Congress and must be made for reasons of ease and efficiency, and not political calculations.

Section 6 – Legal procedure for the adoption of laws
All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the Parliament, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments as on other bills.

Every bill which shall have passed both the Parliament and the Senate, meaning with a simple majority in each House, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the European Union. If he approves, he shall sign it; if not, he shall return it, with his objections to that House in which it originated. Said House shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider the bill. If, after such reconsideration, three-fifths of that House agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered. If approved by three fifths of that House, it shall become a law.

If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten working days after it shall have been officially sent to him, the same shall be a law, in like manner as if he had signed it.

In all cases, the votes of both Houses shall be carried out so that, upon voting, no Member of Congress is aware of other Members’ vote. Following the vote, the results and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the public record, for each House respectively. Abstentions shall be recorded.

Every order, resolution, or any other document to which the concurrence of the Senate and Parliament may be necessary shall be presented to the President of the European Union. Before it shall take effect, it shall be approved by him or, being disapproved by him, shall be repassed by three-fifths of the Senate and Parliament, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.

No vote on a bill, order, resolution or any other document shall be voted on less than seventy-two hours after its full and final text shall have been officially made available to the House in which the vote shall take place and to the general public, whichever takes place last.

Comments

Section 6 details the legislative procedure.

In order to become law, bills must first pass both houses, with a simple majority per house. When a single bill has passed both houses, it needs to be signed by the President to become law. If the President refuses to sign it, he can send it back with objections for the Houses to reconsider. Congress can choose to integrate all or some of these objections and, should the President not sign it, Congress can overrule the President’s decision with a three-fifth majority. The qualified majority was slightly lowered from the original two-thirds which seemed like too high a threshold. The President has ten working days to sign; should he neither sign nor send back the bill within these ten days, the bills becomes law. This is to avoid the President from stalling legislation forever. The pocket veto is removed. In order to avoid an endless back-and-forth between both houses, Parliament and the Senate can create a joint commission aimed at harmonising their diverging texts; important as this mechanism can be, however, its choice and format should remain congressional prerogatives and it is therefore wilfully not included in this Constitution.

Paragraphs 1-3 do not indicate a particular right to legislative initiative. However, Section 5 indicates that each House decides on its own proceedings and therefore on the modalities to put a bill to a vote (with the exception of the requirement made in Paragraph 6 of this Section). Anyone is therefore free to draft up legal proposals but the federal legislature retains the right to consider them at their discretion.

Paragraph 4 provides that the votes of members of Congress, while registered and later published with the names of the voters, shall remain confidential during the entirety of the vote. As such, voting is done secretly and there is no roll call. This is done so that a member of Congress’ vote does not influence that of another.

Paragraph 5 provides that other documents (order, resolutions, etc.) that need to go through Congress will follow the same itinerary as a bill.

Finally, Paragraph 6 imposes a latency period between the finalisation of a bill and the vote. This is to prevent backroom deals and rewrites at the last minute, far from the public eye or even that of other members of Congress. The 72-hour period shall count after the final document has been officially presented to the House and to the general public, whichever should take place last. With modern means of communication, officially uploading the final document on the House’s website counts as presenting to the general public. This is a very important condition for transparency and democracy.

Section 7 – Powers of Congress
Congress shall have power:

  • To lay and collect taxes, duties, and any other relevant revenue for the European Union; this shall include the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived; all federal taxes, duties, and other relevant revenue levied shall be uniform throughout the Union;
  • To protect, ensure, and actively promote all fundamental rights recognised by this Constitution, including the full enjoyment of public goods for all and through appropriate welfare measures, and to enforce all responsibilities outlines;
  • To protect, ensure and actively promote public health and environmental protection;
  • To protect, ensure and actively promote consumer protection;
  • To provide for the common defence and public safety, including across State lines and through the necessary federal law-enforcement agencies;
  • To approve the Union’s budget;
  • To pay the debt and borrow money on the credit of the European Union;
  • To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the member States, including through uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the Union;
  • To establish a uniform rule of naturalisation and citizenship;
  • To issue money, regulate the value thereof, and adopt monetary policy, all through an independent Central Bank whose mandate shall include supporting employment, stabilising prices, and moderating long-term interest rates; the Central Bank shall endeavour to prevent, address, and mitigate the effects of financial, monetary, economic or similar crises, including by preventing private actors from presenting systemic risks;
  • To fix the standards of weights and measures according to international conventions;
  • To establish all necessary infrastructure;
  • To promote the progress of science and arts, by securing and enforcing patents to authors and inventors for limited times, as may be suited to fairly reward creativity and encourage further creation;
  • To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
  • To declare war or authorise military action, and make rules concerning enemy captures, in accordance with humanitarian principles and law; a temporary authorisation of military action may be delegated to the government with clear limits of objective, engagement and duration, which shall not go beyond thirty days; this authorisation shall only be renewed following review of the specific situation at hand;
  • To raise and support a professional military, including land army, navy, air force or other, and make rules and regulations for the government and behaviour thereof, in accordance with international treaties and humanitarian principles and law; under no circumstances, including a State of war or emergency, shall any administration of the European Union, at any level, use, hold, develop, finance, purchase, sale, or facilitate the acquisition of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons;
  • To define and punish piracy and other crimes committed in international waters, and offences against international law, in accordance with international law and humanitarian principles and law;
  • To exercise exclusive legislation, in all cases whatsoever, over all territories as may, by cession or purchase and with the consent of the legislature of the State in which the territory shall be, become federal land, including for military and other purposes as useful to the Union; and
  • To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the aforementioned powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the European Union, or in any ministry or officer thereof.

Subsidiarity shall be the cardinal value in the attribution of legislative powers between the federal, State, and local levels.

Comments

Section 7 presents the main attributions of Congress. This list is not entirely exhaustive in that Congress may extend its prerogatives provided they are in line with the mission of federal institutions, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, and not against the stated limits of congressional power. The list may seem long but only because the document only focuses on federal prerogatives; a similar list of State prerogatives would indeed be longer. However, it is true that the list of topics that concern more than one State and that could validly be discussed at the federal is wide by nature. As indicated at the end of this section, subsidiarity remains the cardinal principle for the choice at which a topic is discussed and legislated upon.

From Paragraph 1, Congress has the power to raise taxes, including on any form of income. Considering the many forms income take nowadays (from salary, to bonus, to stock options, to shares, etc.), it is important for this provision to be broad. These taxes shall be uniform throughout the Union. This is the basis of congressional power, since no action can be taken without financial backing.

From Paragraph 2, Congress has the power to enforce the respect of and promote fundamental rights and responsibilities. Among the rights are right to education and equality of opportunity. These rights, especially the latter, should be understood as providing the basis for welfare programmes that aim at ensuring opportunities for all. Since there can be no equality of opportunity for those without the necessary medical assistance, this includes universal healthcare programmes.

From Paragraph 3, Congress derives responsibilities to the community, including public health and the environment. This allows for compulsory vaccines and environmental protection norms.

From Paragraph 4, Congress has a duty to protect individuals, as consumers, from abusive business practices. This is somewhat of a new constitutional prerogative but recent practices, especially in the banking sector, justify an explicit mention of this prerogative. Unless it finds another, more suited way, Congress is therefore strongly encouraged to create a federally-mandated consumer protection bureau with the power to investigate and either punish or refer the case to the relevant courts.

From Paragraph 5, Congress has the power to enforce public safety, including across State lines. This is a provision for a Union-wide police force and other law-enforcement agencies (such as an FBI-type agency) that will work in conjunction with State law enforcement.

From Paragraphs 6 and 7, Congress is responsible for approving the budget of the Union and, if necessary, borrowing money.

From Paragraph 8, Congress derives the power to regulate foreign trade; this isn’t a new prerogative as the EU Commission already represents EU member-States at the WTO.

From Paragraph 9, Congress decides on naturalisation and citizenship rules, with the goal of making them harmonious throughout the Union and stop pitting States against one another as is currently the case. The ability of citizens to circulate freely among the EU calls for harmonised rules.

From Paragraph 10, Congress derives powers of monetary policy. Although not a Constitutional agency per se, a Central Bank is called upon to fill in this role. This means that the power of monetary policy, as a federal competency, befalls Congress but that the exercise of this power is explicitly delegated by Congress to an institution that it wills independent within its mandate. This Central Bank will have broader powers than the current mandate of the ECB, including that of supporting employment. In addition, the Central Bank has an explicit role in foreseeing, mitigating and addressing financial and other crises. This is to ensure that financial and economic crises and not simply addressed after they have unfolded. As a further measure, the Central Bank will ensure that no single entity becomes a risk to the system as a whole. This notion of “too big to fail”, whereby entities whose failure would be so damaging to the system that they cannot be allowed to fail, runs directly against the principles supporting a well-functioning market, whereby entities that do well, grow and entities that do not, fail. Citizens should not be asked to pay the bill for the excesses of private corporations.

From Paragraph 12, Congress obtains the power to carry out infrastructure development projects. This is essential, not only to contribute to economic and social development, but also to ensure a harmonious level of development that does not increase the level of inequalities.

From Paragraph 15, Congress obtains the power to declare war and to decide on enemy captures. In all cases, international humanitarian law shall be upheld. In order to allow for quick reactions in case of a divided Congress, Congress may decide to allow the Government, under the leadership of the Federal Prime Minister, to take military action of its own initiative. This authorisation shall detail the objectives that can be pursued, and indicate limits to the means available, as well as a time limit of less than 30 days after which the Government must report back to Congress to be able to pursue its engagement. At this point, a vote shall be necessary.

From Paragraph 16, Congress can raise and support a military force, including navy, air force, army and others, such as means for electronic or spatial warfare, in accordance with international treaties on international waters, the atmosphere and outer space. A clear limit is the explicit ban of any kind on nuclear weapons which are, by their indiscriminate nature, in violation of humanitarian law as an attack on civilians.

From Paragraph 17, Congress can act to prevent piracy and other similar crimes in international waters, according to international law.

From Paragraph 18, Congress has responsibility of all federal land. This land may be used for infrastructure, military installations and other purposes, as compatible with the goals of Congress.

From Paragraph 19, Congress get elastic powers, meaning the ability to legislate in all matters related to the powers hereby granted and any power given in this Constitution to the Government.

Finally, Paragraph 20 recalls the basic principle for the use of Congressional power: subsidiarity. This is added to remind Congress that its extensive powers shall be understood as within a broader framework of power-sharing between the federal and the State levels. A fair understanding of subsidiarity shall be used to assign these powers respectively.

Section 8 – Limits to the power of Congress
Fundamental rights shall not be suspended, unless in certain cases, such as a state of emergency, when the public safety duly requires it.

No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, including prohibiting the free exercise or non-exercise thereof, or abridging fundamental rights of anyone, citizen of the European Union or not, unless in cases of explicit threat to public safety or incitation to crimes against or hatred of individuals or groups of individuals. This shall not be construed as limiting in any way the criticism of ideologies.

No law shall be made to limit in any way the enjoyment of civil rights, including the right to vote, and fundamental rights on any account, including, but not limited to, disability, employment, nationality, race or ethnicity, political and religious beliefs or lack thereof, gender, and sexual orientation.

No law by the European Union or any States shall limit in any way the right to vote of citizens of the European Union who are eighteen years of age or older on account of age.

No law by the European Union or any States shall limit in any way the right to vote by levying any form tax on voting or setting any form of tax or examination as a precondition to exercise the right to vote.

No ex-post facto law shall be passed by the European Union or any State.
No tax or duty shall be imposed on goods or services exported to or imported from any State.

No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports, airports or territory of one State over those of another, nor shall any vehicle bound to, or from, one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties in another, unless in cases of risk to safety or damage to the environment, as prescribed by law.

No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, unless duly authorised by law; all uses of public money shall be recorded and made public in a timely and an easily-accessible manner.

No law varying the compensation of the President of the European Union, Members of the Government, Members of Parliament or Senators for their service shall take effect until after the following election of their respective seat or their next appointment.

No title of nobility shall be granted or recognised by the European Union, and no person holding any public Office or official position in or related to the Government shall, without the consent of Congress and full public disclosure, accept any present, emolument, Office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any foreign administration, at all levels, or any private entity.

Comments

Section 8 presents limits to the power of Congress. Some limits are implicit in the imperative of subsidiarity but other are important to mention explicitly.

Paragraph 1 forbids Congress to suspend fundamental right and freedom, unless in certain specific and emergency cases where the public safety may duly require it. This understanding of “certain cases” will be assessed by Congress but must be considered in a narrow sense.

Paragraph 2 applies fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of conscience, opinion and belief, to Congress’ powers. As such, Congress shall not make laws regarding religions. This applies to potential tax exemptions for religions. Religions and their practices are allowed provided they are compatible with the fundamental rights under this Constitution. Criticism of ideology, including religious ideology, is expressly authorised; however, calling to hatred or violence against individuals or communities is forbidden.

Paragraph 3 forbids discrimination on any account.

Paragraph 4 enshrines the voting age of 18 across the Union for all elections. This is an important point of fairness since States legislatures may, in cases of vacancies, send officials to serve in Congress.

Paragraph 5 forbids any practical limitation for the right to vote, including any form of taxation or the use of tests as preconditions for voting.

Paragraph 6 forbids ex-post facto laws across the Union.

Paragraph 7 forbids tariffs between States.

Paragraph 8 forbids the Union to choose ports, airports or places of trade over others by forcing vehicles to enter, clear or pay duties there. This rule can be circumvented in cases of public or environmental safety.

Paragraph 9 forbids the use of public funds not mandated by law. All uses of public money shall be recorded and made public. This is an important element for transparency.

Paragraph 10 forbids Congress from passing a law that would change the financial compensation of most public officials during their tenure (this does not apply to members of the Supreme Court, who are elected for life; another provision specifically targeting them comes later).

Paragraph 11 holds that the EU will not create or recognise any title of nobility. For the interest of transparency, no person holding public Office or any related position shall receive any gift, money to title, unless with the explicit agreement of Congress and full public disclosure.

Section 9 – Limits to the power of States
No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation, issue money or bills of credit, make anything a tender in payment of debts, limit by law the fundamental rights of anyone, adopt ex-post facto law, or adopt a law impairing the obligation of contracts.

No State shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any taxes or duties on imports or exports, except as may be absolutely necessary for implementing its inspection laws; the net produce of all related taxes and duties laid by any State on imports or exports shall be transferred to the Treasury of the European Union, and all such laws shall be subject to the revision and control of Congress.

No State shall raise or support a professional military, whether land army, navy, air force or other, or militia, nor shall engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.

Comments

Section 9 presents limits to the power of States.

Paragraph 1 places limits of State power to enter into treaty or alliances with anyone, issue its own means of credit, or make ex-post facto laws

Paragraph 2 forbids States from adoption any law that would tax import or export. Exceptions are made to pay for necessary inspections. Any leftover amount shall be sent to the EU Treaty.

Finally, in Paragraph 3, States are expressly forbidden from having a military of any kind, unless in actual cases of invasion or immediate threat thereof.

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Article III – The executive branch
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Section 1 – Establishment of a President of the European Union
The executive power shall be vested in a President of the European Union, as Head of State, elected by the people of the European Union. He shall hold his office during the term of six years. The President of the European Union is elected by majority judgment. The election of the President shall be held concurrently with that of members of Congress happening in the same year.

No person shall be President who shall not turn forty in the year of the election and been nine years a citizen of the European Union. The President of the European Union shall not serve more than one term.

In case of the removal of the President from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said Office, the same shall devolve on the President of the Senate or to the President of Parliament, should he be unable to serve. Congress may by law provide for the case of removal, death, resignation or inability, of all three, declaring what officer shall then act as President, and such officer shall act accordingly, until the disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.

Comments

Article III presents the second of the three branches of government: the executive branch. Unlike the American system, we are here proposing a Parliamentary system based on the German model. In this model, the President is above party politics and does not yield the bulk of the power, which is instead vested in the Cabinet of Minister, with a Prime Minister at its head.

Section 1 establishes the Office of President of the European Union.

Paragraph 1 presents details on the President’s mandate. The President is elected by all citizens of the Union of voting age. The President is meant to be above all parties, it is therefore coherent that he wouldn’t be chosen either by the parties or as the leader of a winning party; he is chosen on his personality and character, for who he is. They elect him through majority judgment. The President’s term lasts for six years, the same as the Senators and his election takes place concurrently with that of the members of Parliament and Senators elected that year.

Paragraph 2 provides eligibility limits. The President must be at least 40, a citizen of the Union for 9 years and he cannot be re-elected; 12 years would be too long and the inability to re-elect the President makes him more likely to be independent from party politics.
Paragraph 3 provides for the President’s succession, should he be unable to serve. In order, the President of the Senate and, after him, the President of Parliament shall take the President’s place. Congress is given the prerogative to decide on further arrangements.
The President is clearly made to be above party-politics and not the real holder of power; despite being elected by popular vote (as in the Austrian system), he cannot decide or oppose the choice of the Prime Minister and he is not responsible for political life. Specifically, because he is not chosen by Parliament (or any other group of elected officials or politicians) but by the people, he answers to the people and not to a party he may belong to or to any party that would have placed him in his position. By signing the laws voted by Congress, the President has a role in making sure of their compatibility with the Constitution and the fundamental principles and values therein, to the best of his judgement.

Section 2 – Prerogatives of the President of the European Union
The President shall represent the European Union for the purposes of international law. He shall conclude treaties with foreign states on behalf of the Union. He shall accredit and receive ambassadors and envoys.

Treaties that regulate the political relations of the European Union or relate to subjects of federal legislation shall require the consent or participation, in the form of a federal law, of the bodies responsible in such a case for the enactment of federal law. In the case of executive agreements, the provisions concerning the federal administration shall apply mutatis mutandis.

The President shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, consuls and other diplomatic civil servants, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the European Union, except as may otherwise be provided by a law. No delay shall be admissible for the Senate to provide this advice and consent. Congress may by law vest the appointment of inferior officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Government or part thereof. The President may delegate these nomination powers to other authorities, as appropriate.

The President shall from time to time address Congress, and recommend to its consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient. He may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them.

Orders and directions of the President shall require, for their validity, the countersignature of the Prime Minister or of the competent Federal Minister. This provision shall not apply to the appointment or dismissal of the Prime Minister or to a request to continue managing current affairs.

Comments

Section 2 presents the prerogatives of the President.

Paragraph 1 sets the President as the Head of State: he shall represent the EU to the outside world and, for this effect, sign treaties, accredit representatives of the EU abroad and receive representatives of foreign countries at home.

Paragraph 2 underlines that treaties that concern political relations or federal shall be approved by the relevant bodies in charge of said federal law.

Paragraph 3 gives the President the power to nominate EU representatives abroad as well as judges of the Supreme Court. The Senate is to advise and give consent. It is indicated that no delay shall be admissible for hearings from the Senate; this is to avoid cases such as the recent filling of a Supreme Court position where the Senate, of a different party from the President, waited over a year, until after the election of a new president, to hold the hearing, in order to approve someone in agreement with their views. This clear abuse of procedure should not be permitted. Congress may give the President full autonomy in nominating certain lower officials, as could be relevant to speed up the process and the President may, in turn, do the same to other authorities.

Paragraph 4 gives the President the authority to speak to Congress. This is not envisaged as a periodic “State of the Union”, which would be delivered instead by the Prime Minister, but for any other purpose that the President may have to address the legislature.
Paragraph 5 gives the President the right to sign orders and other documents, though these need the counter-signature of the Prime Minister or, where relevant, a Federal Minister. Of course, this does not apply to the appointment or dismissal of the Prime Minister, which said Prime Minister cannot veto.

Section 3 – Establishment of the Prime Minister and Government
The Government shall consist of the Prime Minister, as Head of Government, and of the Federal Ministers.

The Prime Minister shall be elected by majority judgment by Parliament from its ranks. The person elected shall be appointed by the President.

Federal Ministers shall be appointed and dismissed by the President upon the proposal of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister shall appoint one of the Federal Minister as his deputy. The choice of Federal Ministers shall not be made along State lines, nor shall the Government be composed of one Federal Minister per State, with or without the Prime Minister and President.

No person shall be Prime Minister or Federal Minister who shall not turn twenty-five in the year of his appointment and been five years a citizen of the European Union. The Prime Minister shall not serve more than a combined twelve years.

Comments

Section 3 establishes the Government, headed by the Prime Minister.

Paragraph 1 sets up a Government, headed by a Prime Minister and manned by Federal Ministers.

Paragraph 2 details the election of the Prime Minister by Parliament. He shall be elected by majority judgment from the ranks of Parliament. In all likelihood, the winner shall the leader of the main party or coalition. However, this also allows for other candidates to emerge. By design of majority judgment, the presence on the ballot of “small” candidates (whether by the candidacy or because they were simply voted for anyway) has no bearing on the electability of party leaders. The winner shall be nominated by the President, who cannot veto the choice of Parliament.

Paragraph 3 presents the Government. Federal Ministers are chosen by the Prime Minister; they do not need to stem from Parliament. They are officially appointed by the President who cannot veto them. There will be a deputy Prime Minister who will hold the Prime Minister’s position in case of power vacancy. Although hard to implement, it is requested of the Prime Minister not to choose his Ministers along State lines. Likewise, the Federal Cabinet shall not contain one Minister per State, even adding or discounting the Prime Minister and the President. While it could happen that a Prime Minister would need just as many ministers as there are States, this is an important provision in finally breaking with the habit of pleasing every EU member State with a position in the “cabinet” as was done with the EU Commission. This habit was supposed to end with the Treaty of Lisbon (cf. article 9D paragraph 5) but the provision, as was allowed in the Treaty, was immediately and unanimously cancelled by the member States in the Council. Furthermore, in this instance, a fixed number is not given, so as not to needlessly constrain the number of Federal Ministers. This choice shall be made on the grounds of policy-making and efficiency.

Finally, Paragraph 4 provides details for eligibility.

Section 4 – Prerogatives of the Prime Minister and Government
The Prime Minister shall determine and be responsible for the general guidelines of policy, with a view to safeguarding and promoting fundamental rights, promoting the public interest, and limiting inequalities. Within these limits and mindful of the exigence of transparency, each Federal Minister shall conduct the affairs of his ministry independently and on his own responsibility. The Government shall resolve differences of opinion between Federal Ministers. The Prime Minister shall conduct the proceedings of the Government in accordance with rules of procedure adopted by the Government and approved by the President.

The tenure of Office of the Prime Minister or of a Federal Minister shall end in any event when a new Parliament convenes; the tenure of office of a Federal Minister shall also end on any other occasion on which the Prime Minister ceases to hold Office.

At the request of the President, the Prime Minister – or, at the request of the Prime Minister or of the President, a Federal Minister – shall be obliged to continue to manage the current affairs of his Office until a successor is appointed.
The Prime Minister shall be the Commander in Chief of the Federal Military Forces.
The Prime Minister shall, from time to time and no less than once a year, give Congress information on the State of the Union and present the main points of his general policy.

Comments

Section 4 details the prerogatives of the Government.

Paragraph 1 sets the Prime Minister as responsible for the policy of the Government. Within the Government, each Federal Minister is responsible for his area of expertise. The importance of transparency is added to ensure that Federal Ministers, sworn to protect and defend this Constitution, are directly mindful of their need to run their affairs in all transparency, as is compatible with their work. The Government will resolve differences of opinion internally and take the measures necessary to present a united front to the citizens for the coherence of its actions.

Paragraph 2 explains that a new Government (along with its Prime Minister) will be formed with each new Parliament, meaning every three years. In all cases, all Federal Ministers will end their tenure when the Prime Minister does.

Paragraph 3 indicates that, whenever necessary, the President can constrain the Prime Minister to continue administering current affairs, for instance, after a motion of no confidence. Likewise, the President or Prime Minister can constrain a Federal Minister.

Paragraph 4 designates the Prime Minister as the Commander in Chief.

Finally, Paragraph 5 gives the Prime Minister the power to address the legislature and at the same time imposes on him the duty to do so at least once a year to present the State of the Union.

Section 5 – Votes of confidence and no confidence
Parliament may express its lack of confidence in the Prime Minister only by electing a successor by the vote of a majority of its Members and requesting the President to dismiss the Prime Minister. No election of a successor shall take place less than forty-eight hours following the filing of the motion of no confidence. The President must comply with the request and appoint the person elected.

If a motion of the Prime Minister for a vote of confidence is not supported by the majority of the Members of Parliament, the President may dissolve Government within seven working days. No vote shall take place less than forty-eight hours following the filing of the motion of confidence. The right of dissolution shall lapse as soon as Parliament elects another Prime Minister by the vote of a majority of its Members.

Comments

Section 5 details votes of confidence and no confidence.

Paragraph 1 gives Parliament the power to express its lack of confidence to the Prime Minister; however, for the benefit of stability, it cannot do so without electing a successor. A majority of Parliament shall partake in the vote. The President has no veto in this procedure. There shall be a delay of 48 hours between the motion of no confidence and the vote on a new Prime Minister; this aims at stabilising the system and avoid last-minute votes.

Paragraph 2 gives the Prime Minister the power to present to Parliament a vote of confidence. If the motion fails, the President has seven days to dissolve the Government. This right expires when a new Prime Minister is elected.

To note: the executive does not have the right to dissolve the legislature. The terms of the legislature as short, so as to provide oft-recurring, yet orderly and programmes, elections. The executive cannot go against the choice made by the people for its representatives.

Section 6 – Impeachment, removal from Office and other limitations
The President, Prime Minister, Federal Ministers, and all other officers of the European Union, shall be removed from Office on conviction of impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, corruption, embezzlement, wilful misappropriation of public funds, or other high crimes and misdemeanours.

Whenever two thirds of Congress transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the President of Parliament their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his Office, the President of the Senate shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the Office as Acting President.

No person shall be eligible as President who has held the Office of President, or acted as President, including to fill in a vacancy, for more than three years of a term to which some other person was elected President.

The terms of the President, Members of Parliament and Senators shall end jointly, at noon on a day no later than thirty days following the proclamation of the results of the elections. The terms of their successors shall then begin.

Comments

Section 6 details cases of removal from Office.

Paragraph 1 provides that all officials from the executive may be removed from Office through impeachment, and list of impeachable offences.

According to Paragraph 2, two thirds of all of Congress can also declare the President unable to discharge the powers and duties of his offices, they notify the President pro-tempore of the Senate and the President of Parliament, and the President of the Senate becomes President of the Union.

Paragraph 3 limits eligibility to the Presidency: no one is eligible who has already served a term or acted as President for three years of someone else’s term.

Finally, Paragraph 4 indicates that the terms of President, of members of Parliament and of Senators shall all end together, while the terms of their successors begin at that moment. Since the Parliament changes, the Government is also relieved of its duty, but can be tasked with managing current affairs until a new Government is formed.

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Article IV – The judiciary
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Section 1 – Establishment of the Supreme Court
The judicial power of the European Union, shall be vested in one Supreme Court of nine judges, and in such inferior Courts as Congress may establish for the efficient and speedy application of justice. The judges, both of the Supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices in good faith and until they are eighty years of age, unless in cases of voluntary retirement or impeachment.

Comments
Article IV establishes the third branch: the judiciary.

Section 1 vests the power of the judiciary in a Supreme Court, as well as inferior courts, as may be established by Congress for efficient and speedy justice – which is part of a citizen’s fundamental rights and therefore also the responsibility of Congress. Judges hold their offices for life, unless they are impeached or decide to retire. This is to ensure their independence.

The decision to create lower courts remains in the hands of the legislature – and is its responsibility in order to ensure an efficient judicial system – but may be proposed by the Supreme Court or other lower Courts themselves.

Section 2 – Powers of the Supreme Court
The judicial power shall extend to all cases arising under this Constitution, the laws of the European Union, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under its authority; to all cases affecting ambassadors, consuls, and other diplomatic representatives; to all cases of maritime jurisdiction; to military matters, under a specific court-martial inclusive of military staff; to controversies to which the European Union shall be a party; to controversies between two or more federated States; to controversies between a State and citizens of another State, between citizens of different States, between citizens of the same State claiming lands under grants of different States, and between a State, or the citizens thereof, and foreign States, or citizens thereof.

The Supreme Court shall have the power to ascertain the compatibility of a bill or law with the Constitution; no law shall be in effect which has been deemed contrary to the Constitution.

In all cases affecting ambassadors, consuls, and other diplomatic representatives, and in cases in which a State shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases mentioned above, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions, and under such regulations as Congress shall make.

The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the State where the said crimes shall have been committed; when not committed within any State, the trial shall be at such place or places as Congress may by law have directed.

Comments

Section 2 details the powers of the Supreme Court.

Paragraph 1 lists the areas where the Supreme Court shall act. These range from constitutional issues, treaties, diplomatic staff, maritime issues, military affairs (in a specific court-martial with mixed civil-military staff), to most issues that are not purely internal to a single State.

Paragraph 2 adds that the Supreme Court has the power to assess the constitutional validity of a bill or law. A law that is considered contrary to the Constitution shall not be in force.

Section 3 – Definition of impeachable offences
The Supreme Court shall, at the earliest possibility, prepare for discussion and adoption by Congress specific definitions of the crimes of treason, corruption, embezzlement, wilful misappropriation of public funds, or other high crimes and misdemeanours, that may lead to impeachment of public officials.

Comments
Section 4 calls on the Supreme Court to define impeachable offences. These definitions shall be passed on to Congress for debate and vote into law.

Section 4 – Limitations to proceedings
No person shall be deprived of his civil rights and fundamental rights without due process of law; nor be trialled twice for the same offence; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself; nor shall private property be taken for public use without fair compensation.

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial and, in accordance with the law of the State and location wherein the crime shall have been committed, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favour, and to have the assistance of legal counsel for his defence, provided for him if he be unable to afford it.

In common law cases, no fact tried by a jury shall be otherwise re-examined in any court of the European Union, unless in accordance to the rules of the common law.

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel punishments inflicted. In accordance with fundamental rights, torture is explicitly prohibited. Capital punishment under any form, including through life imprisonment, is explicitly prohibited; prisons shall aim at the reinsertion of inmates into society.

The above provisions shall apply in all judicial proceedings and in the entirety of the European Union or in any territory where the Union exercises de facto jurisdiction or authority.

Comments

Section 4 details limitations to judicial proceedings.

Paragraph 1 sets various limitations, including the imperative of due process.

Paragraph 2 emphasises the right to a fair and speedy trial, the right to confront witnessed against you, the right to present witnesses, and the right to legal counsel.

Paragraph 3 deals with the re-examination of cases under common law.

Paragraph 4 lists additional provisions, including that of imposing a fair and affordable bail. It also explicitly forbids any form of torture. Capital punishment is expressly forbidden, as it limitless incarceration, which amounts to a slow death penalty.

Finally, Paragraph 5 adds that all previous provisions – including due process and the prohibition of torture and capital punishment – are applicable in all cases, whether in the territory of the EU or in any territory under the de jure or de facto jurisdiction or authority of the EU. This is added to prevent the use of secret prisons or legal loopholes allowing situations such as Guantanamo.

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Article V – General provisions for citizens, officials, and States
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Section 1 – Provisions for all federal public officials and elections
No individual shall be eligible to run for, or be appointed to, any federal Office who has been duly convicted of corruption, embezzlement, wilful misappropriation of public funds, or crimes to that effect, and the penalty for these crimes shall include removal from Office.

No individual shall be eligible to run for, or be appointed to, any federal Office who has already turned seventy-five the year before the election. No discrimination of any kind shall limit access to any Office of the European Union.

Every official candidate for federal elections shall be entitled to the leave necessary for his election campaign. No one may be prevented from accepting or exercising federal Office. No one may be given notice of dismissal or discharged from employment on this ground.

Campaigns shall not last longer than sixty days and shall end twenty-four hours before the beginning of the vote. Congress shall place strict and clear limits on all campaign contributions that can be given and received, from physical and moral persons, both domestic and foreign; this should cover candidates, their surrogates, and groups supporting them, and include explicit provisions for transparency. These limits to financial contributions shall not be construed as limits to any fundamental right, including freedom of expression, but as means to ensure the fair participation of all in the democratic process.

Any election where all candidates are rejected by a majority of the population shall be considered null and carried out anew with different candidates.

Following the entry into force of this Constitution, the first Presidential and Congressional elections shall take place concurrently. With a view to limiting the number of elections, which alter regular political life, States are strongly encouraged to amend their legal frameworks and align their elections with federal ones.

Before they enter on the execution of their Office, the President of the European Union, Members of the Government, Members of Parliament and Senators, and judges of the Supreme Court shall publicly take the following oath: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the duties of my Office, and will to the best of my ability, protect and defend the people and the Constitution of the European Union.” All other federal officials shall similarly be bound to support this Constitution.

All public officials shall receive a fair financial compensation for their services, to be clearly laid out by law, and paid out of the Treasury of the European Union. This compensation shall not be diminished during their term of Office. No public official shall, during his term of Office, receive any other emolument from any public entities, at all levels, domestic or foreign, nor shall he receive any income or goods from private sources in any way related to his attributions. All public officials shall declare any form of income or interest, past, present or promised, and make this declaration public; their compatibility with their Office shall be assessed an Ethics court of the judiciary, which may require that he severs any incompatible ties.

No public official shall, over the duration of his mandate, exercise any other public Office under the authority of the European Union or that of any other public administration. Nor shall they hold decision-making roles or seat on the board of any private entity. Each branch of the administration shall ensure the full disclosure of all professional and volunteer activities, interest and sources of revenue of its Members, as well their criminal record when applicable. Their compatibility with the Office in question shall be assessed an Ethics court of the judiciary, which may require that the official severs any incompatible ties. Pbotroven failure to provide such disclosure shall lead to prohibitive punishment and, when relevant, removal from Office.

The President of the European Union, Members of the Government, Members of Parliament and Senators shall, in all cases except criminal matters, be immune from arrest over the duration of their mandate, unless apprehended while committing the offence. Both Houses of Congress may choose to revoke this immunity for their respective Members. Mindful of the public trust, each House shall delineate the manner in which immunity is removed and grounds for such removal.

Comments

Article V lists further provisions that either did not fit in previous articles or that applied to several of them, for instance for the elections of officials when they span the legislature and executive.

Section 1 covers provisions for public officials.

Paragraph 1 bars from federal office individuals convicted of certain crimes: individuals cannot run for Office and individuals in Office shall be removed from their position. While an individual remains presumed innocent until proven guilty, individuals convicted of these crimes taint the Office they work or run for and contribute to permanently damaging the public trust. This is an important provision for transparency and accountability. Owing to the presumption of innocence, individuals under investigation but not found guilty are eligible for Office. However, in order to avoid temptation for individuals under investigation to run for Office with the goal of avoiding indictment, a paragraph is added at the end of this section to allow – and, indeed recommend – both Houses to lift the immunity of their Members, in particular with due regards for the public trust.

Paragraph 2 limits running to federal Office for individuals of less than seventy-five; this is to promote the essential renewal of generations and contribute to limiting entrenched interests. However, no discrimination shall limit access to public federal Office.

Paragraph 3 provides that anyone may run for federal Office and that leave should be granted to allow campaigning; no one should lose their job, or receive threats to that effect, for the simple fact of running for Office.

Paragraph 4 limits campaigns to sixty days and provides for a minimum 24-hour break between the end of the campaign and the vote. This is an additional measure to avoid a constant state of election or campaign, which is highly detrimental to democratic life and skews the public debate. Therefore, campaign cannot be allowed to span one, two or three years so that officials run from one campaign to the next. Likewise, financial contributions given by physical and moral persons, and those received by candidates or their surrogates must be limited and tightly controlled. Financial contributions do not equate freedom of speech or expression and limiting them is therefore not a limit on these freedoms. Vast disparities in financial wealth between individuals should not be allowed to so drastically impact individuals’ involvement and contribution to political life so as to distort their political clout.

Paragraph 5 specifies that elections where all candidates are rejected by a majority of voters (as allowed by Majority Judgment) will be cancelled; a new election will be carried out instead, with none of the candidates of the cancelled election.

Paragraph 6 provides for the first Presidential and Congressional elections to take place concurrently. This is to ensure that no delay will take place and that elections are all synchronised, every three years. As we have seen, the overall system is designed to concentrate elections on a single day every three years, with no special elections either to fill vacancies or upon the decision of the executive; this is made to limit the number of elections which, while necessary, do alter regular political life. In order to limit these disturbances and the party politics that come with them, States are strongly encouraged to align their own legal frameworks on the federal electoral calendar. This is, of course, a difficult endeavour – owing to the widely different political systems in place – but is one that must be mentioned by the Constitution and addressed by State authorities with greater concern for the coherence of the electoral system than for the mere preservation of their existing electoral habits.

Paragraph 7 provides that all senior federal officials will swear an oath to protection and defend the Constitution. The mention of “preserve” is removed since the mere preservation of the Constitution, in and of itself, shouldn’t be a goal. Social contract, such as a Constitution, should be periodically amended.

Paragraph 8 and 9 deal with financial matters and conflict of interest. Federal officials shall receive a fair compensation which cannot diminish during their term; however, they shall not exercise any other Office or receive income from any other public administration. This is to avoid conflicts of interest and avoid dual mandates, as being a federal Official is already clearly a full-time position. However, the use of “exercise” is to indicate that a previously-held position can be temporarily vacated by the official and, depending on the duration of his new Office, he may return to his former position after his new position terminates, should it still be available. Furthermore, they shall not receive hold decision-making positions in for-profit entities or income of any form from private sources related to his attributions. For instance, a member of Parliament shall not seat on a board of a company; he shall not have a financial interest in company affected by his work. Overall, all public officials shall declare all their income and interest and this information shall be public. A court of ethics shall assess the compatibility of the official’s income and interest with his position and may require that he renounces a position, give up an income, or in any other way sever an interest he may have.

Paragraph 10 provides immunity for public officials, unless caught red-handed. Criminal matters shall not be covered by this immunity and, in the case of members of Congress, this immunity may be revoked by the relevant House. Both Houses shall describe the reasons and modalities for the removal of this immunity and shall do so with a view to safeguarding the public trust, mindful of its speedy erosion that a few cases are sufficient to cause.

Section 2 – Acceptance of public documents from one State in another
Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other State. And Congress may by law prescribe the manner in which such acts, records and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.

Comments
Section 2 focuses on the recognition of all public documents from one State to another. This is important in moving beyond administrative boundaries. This is likely to trigger the adoption of baseline criteria and norms for a host of documents and therefore contribute to harmonisation and integration.

Section 3 – Rights of citizens in other States and deportation of those fleeing justice
The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all rights, privileges and immunities of citizens of all other member States.

A person charged in any State with any crime, who shall flee from justice and be found in another State, shall, on demand of the executive or judicial authorities of the State from which he fled, be immediately arrested and delivered to the relevant authorities of the State from which he fled, unless where there are substantiated reasons to believe that due process will not be guaranteed.

Comments

Section 3 deals with the rights of citizens in another State.

Paragraph 1 provides that, as can be expected in a federation, the rights of the citizens of a State in that State are naturally extended to citizens of all other States. There can be no discrimination between citizens of different States, and Statehood shall not be confused with residency.

Paragraph 2 underlines that anyone fleeing from justice into another State shall fund no refuge there. Upon demand from authorities which he fled, the individual must be arrested and delivered to the relevant authorities to face justice. An exemption is added in case it is reasonably believed he shall meet no justice.

Section 4 – Accession and secession
New States fully adhering to the values and principles of the European Union may be admitted with equal rights by Congress into the European Union with a two-thirds majority.

New territories may be formed by secession from a State or by the junction of two or more States, or parts of States, subject to the consent of the population of the territories concerned by a free and fair popular referendum with a three-fifths majority. The modalities of secession shall be decided, in a timely fashion and without unnecessary impediments, by agreement between the legislatures of the territory and of the State or States concerned, its fairness approved by Congress, and enforced before secession enters into force. Should one side prevent to timely and peaceful accomplishment of this process, Congress reserves itself the right to facilitate the procedure to the benefit of the other party.

Territories formed by secession or junction may be admitted by Congress into the European Union with a three-fifth majority. In cases where Congress refuses such admission and secession is decided, the modalities of secession from the European Union shall be decided by agreement between the legislatures of the territory and Congress and enforced before secession enters into force.

States or territories may secede from the European Union, subject to the consent of their population by free and fair popular referendum with a two-thirds majority. The modalities of secession shall be decided by Congress and enforced before secession enters into force.

States shall speedily make the necessary arrangements to include all the above rules in their legal frameworks.

Congress shall have power to dispose of and make all necessary rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property belonging to the European Union, providing these respect the fundamental rights of those living in these territories. Nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed as to prejudice any claims of the European Union, or of any particular State.

Comments

Section 4 details with accession and secession to the Union and other forms of State modifications. The right to secession is a very important element to include in this Constitution. Recent events – from the referendum in Scotland, to Brexit, to the illegal attempt at secession in Spain – have underlined how much the issue of secession can become a contentious point, even when population initially did not support leaving the larger ensemble. As such, it feels much more important and mature to clearly address the issue instead of throwing it under the rug, regardless of how nicely it ties the room together. Examples such as Scotland or Québec show that organised and legal referenda provide for more peaceful procedures and do not lead to an unravelling of the whole or blackmail from potentially secessionist territories. As indicated in this section, secession is not made easy; and it’s not made easy because it is not wished for. However, the principle remains and the right of the people to self-determination should be recognised. These paragraphs constitute an attempt at reconciling the need to recognise this right, with the need for stability. As such, a State leaving the Union must first finalise the modalities of secession with Congress before that secession is effective, and a territory leaving a State has no guarantee to be accepted into the Union and it therefore does so at its own peril; in this case as well, the territory must first finalise the modalities of secession before secession takes effect.

Paragraph 1 provides that new States fully adhering to the values and principles of the Union – including the fully respect of fundamental right and responsibilities, as well as the willingness to build an ever-closer union – may be admitted by Congress with a qualified majority of two thirds. This is placing the bar high in terms of qualified majority in order to ensure that, should a State enter, he be welcome by most.

Unlike in the original, Paragraph 2 provides that part of a State can secede from its State or that two or more States, or parts thereof, can come together to form a new State. This must be decided by popular referendum with a qualified majority of three fifths. The bar is slightly lower than before but it remains a qualified majority. The referendum must be free and fair. However, it need only consult the people of the territories concerned. This is in line with the principle of self-determination which argues that people must be free to decide of the social and political bonds they form, and must likewise be free to leave such bonds behind if they so choose. The modalities for this secession must be decided upon in a timely fashion, without any side blocking the process. Once an agreement has been reached, it must be reviewed by Congress to ensure its fairness, and then enter into force. Once it does, secession or junction may be acted. Should one side unduly block the process, Congress may decide to facilitate the process for the other party – for instance, if a State unduly blocks the settlement of an agreement with a seceding region.

Paragraph 3 deals with the relationship between the EU and the new territory formed by secession or junction. Said territory may be admitted into the EU by Congress and it is hope that it does; it will, for this, need a three-fifths majority. However, Congress may decide to refuse such admission; if it does, the modalities of secession from the Union will be decided jointly between the legislature of the territory in question and Congress. Only after these modalities have been agreed upon will secession be acted.

In Paragraph 4, States themselves may secede from the EU, using the same reasoning as before. This shall require a popular referendum and a two-thirds majority. Secession is openly allowed, yet not made easy and it needs to overcome the constitutional principle of ever-closer union that had previously been agreed upon.

Paragraph 5 calls upon States to speedily include all these provisions in their national legislation.

Finally, Paragraph 6 makes provisions for non-State territories under the authority or control of the Union. In particular, fundamental rights shall be respected as they would be in States.

Section 5 – Federal guarantees
The European Union shall guarantee to every State within it and to their citizens a democratic form of Government. It shall protect each of them against invasion and other forms of attack, and, upon request from the legislature, or from the executive, when the legislature cannot be convened at all or in a timely fashion, protect them against domestic violence.

Comments
Section 5 provides a guarantee of protection from the federal government to the people of the States. The original was change from a “republican” form of government to a “democratic” one. This is for two reasons: one, because the “republican” aspect was never defined and because many States in Europe are still monarchies and there is no reason to force a change in this regard; two, because, while the envisaged federation is a republic, democracy is the principle that matters most – so that the people’s voice be heard. And this is really the meaning that this article originally held, as the republic was seen as the way for the people to heard, instead of giving way only to the king’s voice.

The federal government shall protect States against invasion and other forms of attack (which is added to include, for instance, cyberwarfare), and, upon request from the legislature, intervene to ensure domestic peace. If the legislature cannot convene – whether at all or in a timely fashion –, the executive can likewise request an intervention to ensure peace.


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Article VI – Final provision for the Constitution
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Section 1 – Amendments to the Constitution
Congress may consider amendments to this Constitution, but not before thirty-six months following its entry into force.

Congress shall adopt amendments to this Constitutions following their approval by a two-thirds majority in both Houses.

Amendments to this Constitution shall be valid and enforceable when ratified by the legislatures of two thirds of the member States.

No amendment shall in any manner deprive citizens of their fundamental rights or deprive a State of its equality in relation to other States.

Whenever necessary, Congress shall have the power to enforce these amendments by appropriate legislation.

Comments

Article VI deals with final provision concerning the Constitution itself.

Section 1 discusses amendments to the Constitution. A legal and political document must be concise enough to give it flexibility. Yet, it must be allowed to change as well.

Paragraph 1 states that amendments of this Constitution are possible. However, it prevents them for the first 36 months following the Constitution’s entry into force. This is not made to discourage amendments but to allow the Constitution and the institutional system to take shape and pick up steam before they are modified. This is to prevent any rash change made simply because institutional capacities, for instance, have not developed enough.

Paragraph 2 provides for a majority of two-thirds of both Houses to pass amendments.

Paragraph 3 adds that amendments will enter into force whence they have been ratified by two thirds of the member States.

Paragraph 4 prevents amendments to deprive citizens of their fundamental rights or to deprive a State of its equality. The amendment does not say, for instance, that Article I cannot be amended but set a goal: that fundamental right be not tempered with. Article I, for instance, could be detailed, expanded, some justified limitations could be inserted – provided the right itself, its spirit, is left untouched.

Finally, Paragraph 5 provides that Congress shall automatically have the necessary power required to enforce said amendments – provided their enforcement, of course, unduly limits fundamental rights.

Section 2 – Continuity and supremacy of this Constitution
All debts contracted and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the European Union under this Constitution, as under the previous Union.

This Constitution, and the laws of the European Union which shall be made in pursuance thereof, all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the European Union, as well as all relevant norms, standards, regulations, and orders, unless otherwise states, shall be the supreme law of the land, superseding State and local law. Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, regardless of any indication to the contrary in the Constitution, laws or regulations of any State.

Comments

Section 2 deals with continuity with the previous institutional set-up and the supremacy of federal law.

Paragraph 1 sets that all debts and engagements taken by the EU under its confederation system will remain valid under its federal system. This is an important provision to ensure stability on the global scale. Changes will have to be made but promises will not be broken and engagements will be kept. This change is made for the EU and shall not bring damage to our allies abroad.

Paragraph 2 sets that all federal law – this Constitution, subsequently-adopted federal law, treaties, norms, regulations, etc. – shall supersede local and State law. This is the pendant of the principles of subsidiarity: each level has its level of competence but, ultimately, the highest level has the final say.

Section 3 – Entry into force
The ratification by the legislatures of three fifths of the States of the European Union shall be sufficient for the establishment and entry into force of this Constitution between the ratifying States.

Comments
Section 3 details the entry into force of this Constitution. This Constitution needs only be ratified by three fifths of member States to enter into force for the ratifying States. This is to avoid unnecessary delays linked to few States, or even a single State, abstaining. Of course, this does not force States that have not ratified into a system they have not accepted but allows others to move forward. Indeed, the transition period will be delicate, with the subsistence of old institutions and the emergence of new ones but such are times of institutional change and the temporary disagreement is more than compensated by the improvements provided by the new, leaner and more democratic structure.

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