Here is a quote from an opinion piece by David Heathcoat-Amory MP, the Tory party representative on the convention, published in the Telegraph:
No one in the convention doubts the scale of the undertaking or the huge implications for the way Europe is governed – except, apparently, the British Government, which is completely isolated in maintaining that the new constitution is just a “tidying-up exercise”. In the convention, this caused bafflement and then some hilarity. Peter Hain, the government representative, belatedly declared a number of “red lines” on proposals that he wants removed, such as majority voting on foreign policy, social security harmonisation, and interference in criminal justice procedures. But if these issues are so important to the Government, how can it just be a “tidying-up exercise”?
The truth is that the European Constitution founds a new union, with a single unified structure and legal personality. The existing structure, which secures the rights of member states to make their own decisions and collective arrangements about foreign policy and criminal justice matters, will disappear. The EU will have “exclusive competence” over trade, competition rules, common commercial policy, fisheries conservation and the signing of all international agreements.
Please read the whole article, it’s terrifying in its clarity. To be honest, I don’t know which bit I find more scary. The one about the changes to the UK legal system:
The EU’s proposed criminal justice powers are particularly striking because they allow for harmonisation of national laws and procedures by majority voting. This obviously goes to the heart of domestic policy, particularly for a country such as Britain with a distinctive common law tradition, including jury trials, habeas corpus and rules of evidence that differ from those in most other EU countries.
Or the one about foreign policy:
Foreign policy, which is at present decided between national governments, will change completely. The new foreign minister will “conduct the Union’s foreign policy”. There is provision for majority voting on policies recommended by the foreign minister.
None of the above is new and has been bemoaned on Samizdata.net many times, but it gets more frightening as the process of EU imposition on the UK progresses…