Doubts About the Constitution Debate

Interview With Official of Convention of Christians for Europe

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BRUSSELS, Belgium, MARCH 28, 2004 ( European Union leaders hope to make a final decision on the future Constitutional Treaty by mid-June.

At their two-summit, which ended Friday, the leaders committed themselves to a June 17 deadline for a possible decision, said Bertie Ahern, the current EU president.

To understand better what is at stake for the Old World, ZENIT interviewed Giorgio Salina, vice president of the Convention of Christians for Europe.

Q: Why is there talk of lack of participation in the process of writing the European Constitution?

Salina: Because now almost no one is talking about the European Constitution and its contents, perhaps as a consequence of the bilateral negotiations, held behind closed doors, by the Irish presidency. Thus the moral tension is weakened that had accompanied the preceding stages.

This method might prove to be effective, but it certainly poses a democratic deficiency. Anyway, I think citizens must have the last decisive word on such an important document for the Union.

Q: There are not only negative things, but also possibilities. What are the great potentialities Europe now has?

Salina: I believe there are at least three: enlargement, solidarity and a strong Europe dedicated to the development of poor countries.

The imminent enlargement, which we like to call “reunification,” rekindles hope in a Europe stretching from the Atlantic to the Urals, a hope that has often flowered in history and that today is possible!

It means finally overcoming the legacy of the Iron Curtain which has bloodied our “common European home.”

Moreover, we are convinced that there is no peace without justice; no justice without forgiveness. Solidarity and peace among the diverse states is possible today not only for Europe but for the world.

The world needs a Europe which, thanks to greater international equity, can embrace the multitudes of the Third World.

Q: You were very critical in the debates on the draft of the European Constitution.

Salina: If a state or an international organization wishes to be secular, that is, if it wishes to be at the service of all — it must encourage debate and the contribution of all the views of man and of society, that is, of all the cultures, also and above all the Christian.

We expect the mention of values that are not only those of the Enlightenment or Marxist culture. In sum, we advocate a Europe, but a Europe for one and all. Otherwise, there is the risk that it will have a limited horizon, so limited that it will mean nothing in history.

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