Published in The Tablet, 1 May 2004
You rightly describe accepting the EU constitutionbas not meaning “accepting all the wilder dreams of the superstate federalists”. Most federalists are in favour of a bottom up democratic system with a minimal list of EU functions subject to democratic control through the European Parliament, rather than the present indirect line from voter toMPs to ministers attending EU Council meetings.
The new constitution is a step in the right direction. It gives new rights to European citizens including those from the new member states we welcome on 1 May. Decision making is made more accountable through more council meetings legislating in public and better scrutiny by national parliaments.
In the same edition Professor Louis Dupré calls for an acknowledgement of the “unity of spirit in a variety of expressions”; the preamble to the constitution speaks of “drawing inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe”. Any narrower definition of Europe’s inheritance would exclude many Europeans.