Did the Constitutional Treaty Answer the Laeken Questions

The main matters dealt with during the Laeken Council held in Belgium included new measures in the area of Justice and Home Affairs which emphasized on the European Arrest Warrant, a common definition of terrorism, and the European Justice the seats of 10 new EU agencies. As a guide for the citizen’s expectations raised in the summit, poll evidence in other countries suggest that the citizens want a more effective EU in terms of foreign and security policy, environment and a more clear fight against organized crime. September 11th has stretched the pace of integration of external and internal security. The treaty’s provisions in the internal security policies is the "affirmation on the respect for human dignity, freedom, equality, the rule and respect for human rights including minorities, non-discrimination and equality between men and women"3. Common policies on border checks. asylum and immigration are provided under the treaty where cooperation is expected on judicial matters and police implementation scheme. Under this power, the Commission will have the power to take the member states to court for "failure to implement legislation on most justice matters like infringement procedures"4. The treaty is aiming to facilitate recognition of judgments and judicial decisions in criminal matter having a cross-border dimension. Such rules may cover mutual recognition and admissibility of evidence between member states in their criminal procedures. The Council acting by an unanimous vote with its members intends to specifically address crimes like terrorism, trafficking of humans and sexual exploitation, drug trade and arms, money laundering, corruption, counterfeit, computer and organised crime. The concerns specifically expressed regarding security measures were catered for in the treaty. The Constitutional Treaty has addressed the several questions raised during the Laeken council but the new solidarity clause specifies that any member state which becomes a victim to a terrorist attack or other disaster will receive assistance from other member states.
The question on the clear distinction on the exclusive competence of the Union and the member states and the particular the powers assigned by the treaties to the union was raised. The European convention in answer has submitted a proposal that underlines "a catalog of competences is not the aim of the exercise and that the five countries prefer a flexible approach to the issue of competences, but explicitly stating that the Union has no competences other than those conferred on it by the Member States through the treaties"5. More precisely, the powers of the EU may be widespread but is also narrow where exclusive competence is nowhere defined. There is no rigid demarcation line between the EU and its member states. Where EU and its member states have a more forceful power in trade and monetary policies- in other aspects it is playing second fiddle to the member states. Where EU enjoys no general competence and nobody is arguing that it requires one, "the five member states propose the creation of a new political body, consisting of national parliamentarians mandated by the council, to ensure scrutiny of proposals by EU institutions"6. For the most part, as a proposing body a

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