36. In this report we use the phrase "the draft
Treaty" to refer to the proposed draft constitutional Treaty
for the European Union prepared by the Convention and submitted
to the Heads of State and Government at the Thessaloniki European
Council, along with the subsequent amendments. The draft Treaty
refers to itself as "the Constitution" and some of our
witnesses who we quote talk of the "draft constitutional
Treaty". The Government's White Paper refers both to a "draft
constitutional Treaty" and "the draft Treaty".
37. The Laeken Declaration made clear that the Convention
was to examine whether the EU needs a constitution: one of the
headings of the Declaration was "Towards a Constitution for
European citizens". The document the Convention produced
is entitled "draft Treaty establishing a constitution for
Europe" although the White Paper in which the Government
presented this document to Parliament was itself entitled "The
Draft Constitutional Treaty for the European Union".
38. We note that the Foreign Secretary has said:
"The constitution is no more than a treaty
labelled "constitution". It is a treaty that we shall
ratify in the same way as any other treaty".
39. We leave it to others to consider whether this
document is a constitution and if so what the practical significance
of that is. The House's own Constitution Committee has been considering
We examine in paragraphs 127-130 below the significance of the
terminology for future revisions of the draft Treaty.
40. We note, however, that, since the founding Treaties
of Paris and Rome (which themselves were constitutions of some
kind), there has been a continuous evolution in the Treaties agreed
by the Member States which form what is now the European Union.
In public discussion, some clearly think that agreeing now a document
containing the word "constitution" in its title is in
itself a significant step. Will it bring to pass their worst fears
of the creation of a European state? Others however have argued
that there is no issue here - even a golf club has a constitution!
Using the terms "constitution" and "constitutional"
to describe the Convention's output has clearly provoked debate
and, while they can be thought to have simplified the language
used, it is an open question whether such terms have added any
41. We hope that debate will now turn away from terminology
and focus instead on whether the draft Treaty improves the efficiency
of the EU and whether it is indeed "good for Britain".
Nevertheless, in view of the serious concerns expressed we examine
in the next Chapter how far the provisions of the draft Treaty
can be thought to point towards a European state.
42. There has been little time between the agreement
of the Convention's final text in July and the start of the IGC
in October. We have accordingly not taken extensive evidence for
this inquiry, as we draw here mainly on published texts and our
earlier work. But we are very grateful to those who sent in papers
which are printed with this report. We urge readers not to overlook
the detailed comments made in evidence, and indeed the detailed
proposals for textual amendments to the draft Treaty, not all
of which are covered in the body of this report.
43. We thank the Rt. Hon. Peter Hain MP who, in one
of his last duties as the Government's representative on the Convention,
appeared before our Committee. His evidence is printed with this
report. Mr Hain was at the time newly installed as both Leader
of the House of Commons and Secretary of State for Wales so we
are particularly grateful to him for assisting us.
44. We also took this opportunity to hear from another
distinguished member of the Convention, M. Hubert Haenel, Président
de la Délégation pour l'Union Européenne
of the French Senate. A transcript of his evidence is printed
with this report. We are grateful to the senator for making himself
available to us. We hope that this will be the first in a series
of constructive bilateral exchanges with colleagues in other national
45. Our sub-Committee C also held a session with
witnesses from the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office,
which informed Chapter 6 of this report in particular. A full
transcript is printed in Appendix 5 below.