BACKGROUND TO THE TREATY
In 2005 the people of the Netherlands and France rejected the EU Constitution. EU leaders were sent back to the drawing board and in December, following a 'period of reflection' they signed off on the Lisbon Treaty. However there is no substantial difference between the Constitution and the Lisbon Treaty. EU leaders have jettisoned the term Constitution, there will be no mention of an EU flag or anthem, the EU Foreign Affairs Minister will now be called the "High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy" and they have replaced the term laws with the term directives. They have brought back the EU Constitution in all but name but this time the only state to have a referendum is this one.
Angela Merkel German Chancellor and primary mover and shaker in breathing life back into the new Treaty during her EU Presidency stated "The substance of the constitution is preserved. That is a fact." It is an open secret that the cosmetic changes made to the constitution were motivated by a desire to avoid referendums in member states. Giuliano Amato, former Italian Prime Minister and Vice-Chair of the Convention which drew up the EU Constitution observed that "The good thing about not calling it a Constitution is that no one can ask for a referendum on it."
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