Greece and the Pending European Constitution

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An Analysis of the Impact of the European Constitution on the Countries of Europe in General and Greece in Particular

Europe is now presented with a historically unique opportunity...The (constitutional) contract must be such as to ensure mutual gains from trade... The only constitutional structure that is consistent with the historically constrained setting of the 1990s is that of a federal union. - Bernard Steunenberg, 2002

The epigraph above suggests that the nations of Europe are faced with some profound challenges in the years to come. Indeed, as these countries attempt to forge an increasingly close political and economic alliance that promises to represent one of the world's leading marketplaces, they have encountered a number of obstacles that many observers did not expect, while others point to the historical differences that have always existed between some of the nations of Europe and suggest that such an alliance is not necessarily in everyone's best interests. Nevertheless, the trend is clear and Europe has moved inexorably in the direction of a "United States of Europe" by virtue of adopting a common currency and eliminating trade and travel barriers between their respective countries. According to Hylarides, "For many years, a united Europe was promoted as something practical. Your passport was not inspected at the border and the introduction of the euro gave the freedom to travel without having to change currency" (p. 86). Furthermore, the various treaties, agreements and other documents executed by the European Union in recent years have made it clear that some type of umbrella constitution is needed to help complete this process, but the leadership of some countries in Europe have been reluctant to approve a European constitution for a wide range of reasons that specifically relate to their own respective interests.

Statement of the Problem

Before analyzing the European Constitution and its communications techniques, it is crucial of understanding the political situation existing today in many European countries and the historical effect that the Union had on each country. As such, the examination of the political reality will reveal on going impacts and provide helpful conclusions for its present form. Other areas that will require special attention in the future are the psychology of the masses and modern sociology which will expose deeper human behaviour. Therefore, in order to create effective public relations strategy and tactics, the whole public relations sphere in Europe must be analysed.

Purpose of Study

The main areas of concentration in the research will be why the people of two founding members of the EU, France and the Netherlands, have rejected the proposed constitution and what this rejection actually means for the other European countries. The purpose of this study, then, is to identify timely answer to the following research questions:

Are there any others to follow?

Is it an objection against the Union or the Constitution?

Which are the actual problems found behind this negative vote?

Do people know what the Constitution is all about or is it a matter of communication in politics?

How can public relations best introduce and support the European Constitution establishment to these countries?

This author's predictions about the perceived problem is that the European citizens have not been involved with the European Constitution, mainly because they feel neglected from the whole concept of the unite Europe. By rejecting the Constitution they express a feeling of doubt for an unknown institution. The fast forward play of the new enlargements, new treaties, and new policies did not give any chance for the citizens to adapt to the new Europe. The political parties played a misleading role in communicating effectively the meaning of each new policy that was made. The reality is that most of the people do not know what the Constitution is all about; people just wanted to send a message. Another question here arises; that the referendums with negative result that conducted may cause a domino effect in other key player countries like UK. It is sure that the major countries will play the influencer role in another countries and that is why the communications campaign must be targeted towards these countries.

Importance of Study

In his essay, "The Draft European Constitution," Kallmer (2003) reports that the importance of the European Union and its implications for the rest of the world are profound. "The European Union (EU)," he advises, "has been one of the most successful creations in the history of political institutions. For the past half-century, harmonization of the policies of many European countries has helped make war in Western Europe unthinkable, enhanced the living standards of millions of people, and enshrined into law a vast array of important social, political, and human rights. Integration has fundamentally altered the way Europeans think about their relationships to one another, to their governments, and to the outside world" (p. 2). According to Dale (2003), relations between the United States and the nations of Europe have experienced some rocky times in the recent past, particularly following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, due in large part to the ongoing power struggles within Europe as the European Union enlarged itself from 15 to 25 members and attempts to craft itself a first-ever European constitution. "These epoch-making events are unsettling traditional power relationships inside Europe and leading to new alignments and alliances of European states," Dale emphasizes (p. 39). Despite the turbulent times and the current controversies between the United States and some of the countries of Europe, the fact remains that these countries share much in common and it is reasonable to expect that these are transient issues that will be amicably resolved. Nevertheless, today, the increasingly dominant German and French axis is confronting its most serious challenge yet as the European Union expands for the first time across the former Iron Curtain (Dale, 2003). Not only are there some fundamental differences in how these processes are viewed by observers in the U.S. And elsewhere, there are clear differences emerging between the countries of Europe themselves. In fact, some nations of Europe, though, particularly those with historically close ties to the United States, are caught up in this political maelstrom because these countries continue to want close relations with the United States more than some other existing EU members (Dale, 2003). In this regard, Dale reports that, "At their deepest level, the clashes reflect inevitable tensions between a United States that feels its sole-superpower status gives it a broad entitlement to get its way in world affairs and a uniting Europe that is struggling to become a more influential political and economic actor on the global scene" (2003, p. 39). Therefore, an effective and sophisticated public relations campaign will bring people closer to the European Union as there is much room for advancement.

Scope of Study

This study will extend to include implications of the European Constitution for the nations of Europe in general and to Greece in particular.

Overview of Study

This study uses a five-chapter format to answer the above-stated research questions. The first chapter introduces the topic under consideration, the scope of the paper, the problem to be addressed and its importance. The second chapter consists of a critical review of the relevant peer-reviewed and scholarly literature, and chapter three describes the mixed methodology used to accomplish the goals of the study. Chapter four provides an analysis of the qualitative and quantitative data identified, and chapter five presents a summary of the research, salient conclusions and recommendations for policymakers and areas of future research.

Chapter 2: Review of Related Literature

History of the European Constitution.

According to Steunenberg (2002), "The European Union has evolved during the last fifty years through the conclusion of several treaties among the governments of European countries. Its evolution resembles that which one would expect for a confederation of autonomous states, and it seems most accurate to characterise the European Union as a confederation rather than as a federation. The locus of political power in the European Union has been the Council of Ministers located in Brussels. Each member country is represented on the Council, with some collective decisions being made using the unanimity rule, and some made using a qualified majority rule, with larger countries receiving more votes than smaller ones" (p. 48). The European Community was established by the Treaty of Rome in 1958; the mandate of the new union, as stated in article 2, was to forge a common market in order to promote "a harmonious development of economic activities"; the Treaty of Rome also established a broad range of institutions, including a Council, a Commission, a Parliament, and a Court of Justice, thereby providing the basis as well as the requisite impetus, for the development of a genuinely supranational legal and political community (Ward, 2003). According to this author, "Famously, the real drive came from the Commission and the Court of Justice, with the former zealously pursuing the stated aspirations of the Treaty, and the latter…