C.I.A. Confidential

The E.U. Charter of Fundamental Rights: A New Totalitarianism

The E.U. Charter of Fundamental Rights, approved in Nice on December 8, 2000, sets forth the principles upon which the future European constitution should be based. Drafted by a commission of experts from various countries, the document consists of a preamble and 54 articles. It was presented to the E.U. Council as "unamendable": The charter must be accepted or rejected as a whole.

When the Maastricht Treaty was adopted ten years ago, its objective was said to be of a merely economic nature: First, a single European market would be constituted through the free circulation of goods, services, and capital; the abolition of exchanges and the introduction of a single European currency would follow. Today, the declared objective is political unification. The Charter of Fundamental Rights is a major step in this process, though the immediate attempt to turn it into an E.U. constitutional charter has failed. As a matter of fact, the charter (as Italy's minister of foreign affairs, Lamberto Dini, claims) marks a crucial contribution to the constitutionalization process of the European Union, for it "provides a network of rights around which a European constitutional patriotism can be gradually built up."

"Constitutional patriotism" is typical of the language employed by such leftist European intellectuals as Jürgen Habermas. Habermas opposes Verfassungspatriotismus, the constitutional...

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