Frequently Asked Questions about the European Federalist Papers

5. About the federal Constitution (Papers no. 21-24)

Why do you choose an American Constitution for Europe?

We do not choose an American Constitution for Europe. It is a European Constitution, based on the constitutional wisdom of European philosophers and political theorists. It is the merit of the Americans at the end of the 18th century that they recognized the values of the writings of European philosophers and that they were the first in the history of mankind to transform these wisdoms into a practical Constitution. We Europeans were blind to this, all that time. And that is why we have paid such a high price in terms of a never-ending array of wars in Europe.

What does your Constitution have which makes it a strong and applicable foundation for a European Federation?

Our Constitution contains only universal principles of democracy and federalism. In only ten articles. Its compactness makes it suitable for any assembly of countries wishing to cooperate federally without losing their sovereignty and to all improve from it. Just as ‘1 + 1 = 2’ is a formula that can be applied in any country of the world, whatever the language or culture. Everybody understands such a compact, clear and general formulated text. This Constitution is in any case the opposite of the Treaty of Lisbon with its very many appendixes and amendments, which no one can understand and which is even not workable for the technocrats themselves.

What are these universal principles in your federal Constitution?

These are: a) a vertical division of powers (Kompetenz Katalog), b) a horizontal division of powers (trias politica), c) checks and balances (equilibrium between the branches when they need each other), d) dualism (parliament and president have their own democratic mandate), e) bill of rights, f) the federation is of the citizens), g) mutual rights and duties between the states and between the federal body, states and citizens. That is all there is. This has proven to be sufficient to unite 50 states in America. Who dares to say that this would not be applicable to Europe is talking nonsense. The United States of America and other large Federations have proven the contrary, for many decades.

How did you arrive at a Constitution of only ten articles?

The 1787 U.S. Constitution boasts only seven articles; 27 amendments were added to that Constitution. We have incorporated some of these amendments into our Constitution. Furthermore, we have improved the structure of the seven U.S. articles by dividing articles so that they can be better understood. We have also incorporated elements of the Swiss Constitution. That is why our Constitution contains ten articles.

How on earth can ten articles cover the variety of European societies?

Well, they can. Due to the fact that in the Constitution we have confined ourselves to only laying down universal principles, that no country in the world can oppose to. Exactly because of its compactness of only ten articles (the Germans say: “In der Beschränkung zeigt sich erst der Meister” – Goethe) it covers all we care for. The Treaty of Lisbon, on the contrary, with over 400 articles, automatically provokes the need of member states to incorporate a great variety of national-driven details and exceptions. That is why it is an extremely bad legal document that destroys the interests of the European Citizens. A law-student who would write such a document would be expelled from the faculty.

How does your Constitution safeguard democracy?

Through a system of two Chambers: the House of the Citizens and the House of the Senate. The first House will be elected directly by the federal Citizens, qualified to vote, whereby the Federation is one constituency. Thus a German can vote for a Spaniard and the other way around. The Senate is appointed out of and by the Parliaments of the member states of the Federation. The President is also elected by the people. Both Parliament and President have a democratic mandate. That is real dualism, which is not possible within a parliamentary democracy, where the legislative power formally possesses the ultimate power, but in the actual practice of all European countries, walks on the leash of the executive power. See Papers no. 17 and 22.

Why would a German vote for a Spaniard? How does he know that this would be a good choice?

He does not need to know that. Elections have to take place through transnational or trans-European political parties. Voters cast a vote on the candidate of their favorite political party. Thus, it is a list-system. It is the responsibility of the political parties to include federation-wide adequate candidates in the list. By offering voters the best options to choose the right candidate. For instance by also listing the candidates in a woman-man-woman-man ratio. Thus 50-50% gender equality. See Paper no. 22.

Notwithstanding their federal Constitution, the Americans are stuck with the fiscal cliff?

Yes, they are, but in our Constitution this cannot happen. We have improved upon the American version, among others by giving the President the power to organize a binding referendum to solve an impasse when politicians abuse the system of checks and balances by practicing non-decision-making.

Thus, you establish a direct democracy?

Yes. Mid-19th century the Swiss designed their own federal Constitution, based on the American Constitution. In that document they incorporated elements of a direct democracy. We have added the best aspects of these to our Constitution. See Papers no. 23 and 24.

What do member states of a Federation have to adjust in their own country?

Nothing. They remain how they are and they keep what they have: their own parliament, government, judicial system etc. The only thing they do is transfer some well-defined matters that they can no longer efficiently take care of themselves – due to globalization – to another body, so that they do not have to concern themselves with these matters anymore.