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Bob Crow
Bob Crow outlines what TUAEUC
wants to achieve
A number of trade unionists have come together in opposition to the proposed EU Constitution, now renamed the Reform Treaty or Lisbon Treaty.

This campaign unites all trade unionists with differing views on the EU who believe that this Renamed Constitution must be rejected. We are demanding the referendum promised by Labour MPs in the 2005 election manifesto. It is clearly the same document and we are demanding the right have our say. If it is good enough to have a referendum in Ireland on this subject it is good enough here.

Despite re-packaging, Constitution still enshrines neoliberal economic policies into law, It states that: "A European framework law shall establish the measures in order to achieve the liberalisation of a specific service," giving the EU the power to privatise where it sees fit. There is also a clause stating that the EU can impose 'broad guidelines' to tell member states how to run their economies.

It also demands that Britain joins the single currency as it clearly states "the currency of the Union shall be the euro". All EU member states would be constitutionally committed to abolishing their national currencies even though 13 of the present 25 EU members are outside the ailing eurozone.

Therefore, it is a bit rich for the rabidly pro-Constitution Europe Minister Denis MacShane to admit that he would "under no circumstances" have supported euro membership while demanding that everyone must join by ratifying the Constitution.

On EU militarisation, it is doubtful that the peace movement would welcome the concept of a single EU foreign policy and the creation of an EU army. Yet the Constitution says: "member states shall actively and unreservedly support the Union's common foreign and security policy in a spirit of loyalty". Rights campaigners might also be uneasy about the fact that the laws of this new legal entity "shall have primacy over" the law of its 25 member states.

A European police force, whose members shall be immune from prosecution, will also have, amongst other things, powers to 'limit' human rights if deemed to be in the 'general interest of the Union'. Fair trade campaigners should know that the Constitution actively encourages neoliberal policies to be imposed on countries outside the EU through trade treaties such as the General Agreement on Services (GATS) and the investment rules it concludes under the Common Commercial Policy.

On top of all this, the Constitution confirms the sole right of the European Commission to initiate new laws and removes from member states the power of veto in more than 60 new policy areas.

This catalogue of disastrous policies basically outlaws socialism in any form. Yet people have told me that we will get a raft of workers' rights if only we signed up to the rest of it. However, this is a dangerous delusion.

As John Hendy QC points out, Article 28 states that workers only have rights that are "in accordance with national laws and practices". So, while capital can run riot, trade unions will continue to be shackled by Tory anti-union laws.

Those in favour of this undemocratic privateer's charter often smear critics as xenophobic and racist. Another trick is to describe people that faithfully support Brussels are "pro-European" and those with real democratic concerns are "anti-European". These are gross distortions and an insult. We are pro-European and also take a global perspective, which means that our solidarity extends beyond this continent.

A militarised centralist Europe, run by an unaccountable corporate elite, will institutionalize unfair trade with the undeveloped world, increase the prospect of war and remove democratic control over all our futures. Ultimately, any government that hands over power to a degree envisaged in this Constitution is in effect no longer a government. Such moves would take Europe in a dangerous direction which will feed the rise of the far right and destabilise the continent.

We will be campaigning not only for a No vote but for a return to the 2001 Laeken Declaration, which launched the process of writing a constitution and talked of popular concerns about too many powers being exercised at EU rather than national level.

We need a genuine debate on the kind of Europe people really want. Almost certainly that is not a Europe which is a state or superpower in its own right, run by a bureaucratic elite. It is more likely to be a Europe of cooperating democratic states, where powers are repatriated back to member states.

This return of national democratic rights will be necessary, for instance, to re-build transport networks that have been devastated by privatisation and fragmentation. In other words, TUAEUC rejects the corporate feudalism enshrined within the Constitution in favour of peace, internationalism and democracy. If you share these aspirations, whatever your views on the EU itself, join us.