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Single European Act

The European Constitution
in Perspective

ISBN    0 9520366 7 3

Published 7 December 2004

The European Constitution in Perspective

Analysis and review of

' The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe '

including the complete text of the Treaty with all Protocols and Declarations as signed in Rome on 29 October 2004

384 pages

Clear and Understandable

Price £27.50

Contact us for details of how to purchase the book

This is the fifth book we have produced on the Treaties which form the primary law of the European Union and it follows the general format of our previous books.

This publication of 384 pages on A4 paper contains the complete text of the Treaty, which consists of the Preamble, the four parts of the main Treaty, the Final Act and the Protocols and Declarations, as signed on 29 October 2004 in Rome.

There are extensive analyses, including the key issues and the changes to the voting arrangements in the Council for each area, a fourteen-page detailed index and pertinent additional papers, including the Laeken Declaration.

Unlike the Treaties of Maastricht, Amsterdam and Nice, which amended the existing treaties, the Constitutional Treaty is entirely new and replaces these treaties. A detailed and extensive analysis is particularly important to understand the Treaty and to how it has evolved.

With this in mind, we have annotated each article in the new treaty with a reference to show either its link with the earlier Treaty [either the Treaty on European Union - TEU - or the Treaty establishing the European Community - TEC ] and article numbers or whether it is a new article. In addition, we have prepared detailed summaries of the key issues and the changes from unanimity to qualified majority voting in the Council.

The publication includes:

  • The full text of the Treaty, including the new Protocols and Declarations, with the articles numbered using the revised numbering system;

  • All articles in the main Treaty have been annotated by the BMDF to indicate their links to previous treaties or whether they are 'new';

  • Treaty text reformatted from 844 pages of the IGC documents to 270 pages to make the text easier to read;

  • A synopsis of pertinent Articles;

  • A review and summary of the Principal Issues and Key Points

  • A table of business concerns;

  • A list of proposed changes from ‘Unanimity’ to ‘Qualified Majority Voting’;

  • Two Tables of Equivalences, prepared by the BMDF. The first table traces the Articles from previous treaties to the final text. The second table traces the original numbering of the Draft Treaty to the revised numbering of the final text (important because the final text of the Treaty has fundamentally changed the numbering of the articles);

  • Additional relevant papers including two speeches given at the signing of the Treaty, the Alternative Report on the Convention and the Laeken Declaration;

  • A detailed fourteen-page index, covering the four Parts of the Constitution (giving references to the Part/Article number and page number), and the Protocols and Declarations attached to the Treaty.


Reviews and comments on 'The European Constitution in Perspective' will be shown on the attached page covering Reviews


To order copies and for information on prices and how to contact us, please see Contact Information

Examples of pages from

'The European Constitution in Perspective'

We have taken a few pages from 'The European Constitution in Perspective' to show the layout and the range of subjects covered in the BMDF book.

Foreword Extracts from the foreword to the BMDF book on the Constitution.

Contents List The contents list of the BMDF book on the Constitution.

Key Issues Extracts from the BMDF analysis of the principal issues and key points of the Constitution.

Text of the Treaty Extracts from Parts I and III of the Constitution, following the BMDF reformatting of the text and showing references to previous Treaties.

Notes on the Constitution

A Constitution could be defined as:

'A written Constitution is a legal document defining the framework of how a State is organised and how the divisions of sovereign powers are regulated. Hence, it is the body of fundamental principles and rules of a state from which stem the duties and powers of the government and the duties and rights of the people.'

BMDF Definition

In the UK, the constitution is based on statute, common law and convention and, as there is no formal draft, it is considered to be unwritten; as a result, it may be modified from time to time by act of Parliament.

In the United States, the constitution cannot ordinarily be modified, except through such processes described in the constitution itself .

The Constitution of the European Union can be modified by amendments to the Treaty by the processes laid down in the Treaty [Article IV-443].

Background to the Constitution

The existing European treaties, taken together, form the primary legislation and are in effect the "constitution" of the Community; they provide the legal basis for all secondary legislation - regulations, directives and decisions - made by the institutions of the Community. Essentially, the Treaties produce obligations for the Member States and rights for individuals. This relationship has developed to encompass the concept of the European Union as being an area of security for individuals and legal persons.

The structure and the provisions of the combined treaties has become increasingly complex, with Nice being the seventh European treaty since 1951. As each treaty became law, it was incorporated into the existing treaties, which together form the consolidated Treaty on European Union.

The intention of the Constitution is to replace this complexity with one Treaty drafted as a whole. Hence in future, the law of the European Union will be based on this single text, rather than the large number of different treaties which have been consolidated. In this sense, the Union is effectively starting a new stage in its existence.

Enlargement of the European Union

The driving force behind the Constitution has been the proposed enlargement of the European Union to include ten new Member States in Eastern Europe. Under the current Treaties, the organisation of the European Union institutions are not in an appropriate state to be able to accommodate this expansion. In the discussions during the negotiations leading up to the Treaty of Nice, it was agreed that the arrangements proposed in that Treaty were not suitable and a new treaty would have to be drafted.

It was also agreed that there should be a meeting of the European Council in Laeken to consider further this whole area. The Laeken Declaration, which arose from this meeting, set up the Convention on the Future of Europe, which in turn has produced the draft Constitution.

Ratification of the Constitution

The Draft Constitution was presented to the European Council in Rome on 18 July 2003 by Valery Giscard d'Estaing, the President of the Convention. It was hoped that the Treaty would have been signed on 9 May 2004, as this is 'Europe Day'. In the event, through the break down in the discussions in the IGC in December 2003, the signing took place on 29 October 2004.

After this, all the Member States are required to ratify the Treaty by their respective legislative procedures for it to become law. At the moment, there are at least ten countries which have stated that they will hold a referendum on the Constitution, including the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Ireland, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.

*  *  *

Notes on the Text

The Convention had been given eighteen months to complete its tasks. It spent fifteen months discussing the text of the Constitution in Part I and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, leaving only three months to discuss Part III and Part IV.

Owing to this lack of time, there are a number of anomalies in the text of Part III, including obsolete articles such as Articles III-166(2) and III-243, on German reunification, and Article III-215 on “paid holiday schemes”.

Part II of the Treaty contains the text of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the Union which was introduced as a non-binding declaration in the Treaty of Nice. There have not been any major changes to the text from Nice to the version in the Constitutional Treaty, except in incorporating the legally binding nature of the Charter, so that it comes under the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice. This is defined in Article II-112. In addition, the Praesidium has prepared updated explanations for the interpretation of the Charter, and these have been included as a Declaration attached to the Treaty.

BMDF Annotations in the text

In Parts I, III and IV, the articles in the official text do not have any references to the old article numbers from the current Treaties. Where appropriate, the BMDF has included references to these old articles to show the origin of the articles in Parts I, III and IV. New articles introduced by the Constitutional Treaty are indicated as such.

The references are shown after the article number i.e. Article III-121 (new); Article III-122 (ex Article 16 TEC). In particular cases, such as Article I-14(2), ex-article numbers are shown against individual provisions i.e. - Energy (new); - Environment (ex Article 174 TEC).

The ex-article numbers refer to the article numbers in the Treaty on European Union (TEU) and the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC), as renumbered by the Treaty of Amsterdam and included in the Treaty of Nice.

The Constitutional Treaty extensively rewrites and reorders the articles from the earlier Treaties, and so in some cases the references to the old article numbers can only give an indication of their origin. This particularly applies to Part I of the Treaty and to the areas in Part III concerning ‘Freedom, Security and Justice’ (starting at Article III-257) and ‘The Union’s External Action’ (starting at Article III-292).

In Economic and Monetary Policy, Article III-197(2) defines the provisions which do not apply to the United Kingdom, owing to the opt-out from the Euro. The articles that do not apply to the UK have been indicated by a BMDF note at the end of each individual article or provision.

An Analysis of
the Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution
for Europe

ISBN    0 9520366 6 5

Published October 2003

This book is now out of print and the analyses have been incorprated into our book on the final text of the Constitution, 'The European Constitution in Perspective'.

Reviews and comments on 'An Analysis of the Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe' are shown on the attached page covering Reviews

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