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SUPERSTATE OR SENSIBLE?

THE Convention on the Future of Europe is essentially a big committee set up to draw up a new constitution for the European Union.

With a further 10 countries joining the EU, the current way of making decisions whereby a consensus among member states is arrived at rather than put to a vote is seen as unfeasible.

The convention is discussing in what areas majority voting should apply. It is also seeking to make the EU less bureaucratic and to resolve issues about its organisation that cause tension among members.

Essentially, the convention is divided between those who want the EU to be run as a federal superstate with a president at the helm and those who want to retain more power for individual states.

Tony Blair's government backs calls for a powerful EU president to replace the current system of a rotating presidency and for more majority voting. But it demands Britain retains a veto over tax and foreign policy.

Peter Hain insists much of the discussions are merely about tidying up the EU's structures and no more important than other treaties approved by Parliament.

But for the Conservatives -and other critics such as Mr Field - the proposed powers are creating a superstate, usurping power from British voters.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 20, 2003
Words:209
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