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Europe

Denmark Unable to Transfer Power

Denmark is finding a number of areas in which the EU Cconstitution may be incompatible with its own national constitution.

The Danish Ministry of Justice has concluded that the new EU Constitution will curb Denmark's sovereignty in a number of areas. Among the areas singled out for transferring power are the protection of personal data, free movement and settlement, diplomatic protection, the movement of capital and the freezing of funds, as well as new competencies for the Court of Justice allowing it to rule on industrial property rights, space and health policies. The so-called flexibility clause, which allows the extension of Union powers without new ratification by national parliaments or referenda, is also seen as a transfer of power. In countries such as France and Spain it is being discussed whether the primacy of Union laws over national law -- the principle has been written for the first time into a treaty -- is compatible with national constitutions. The Danish legal experts, however, point out that the Court of Justice introduced the principle in 1964 before Denmark even joined the EU. General access for the Council to move new areas to qualified majority votes is not regarded as a loss of sovereignty by the Danish Ministry of Justice as it points out that this principle was accepted with the Nice Treaty in 2001. The Danish government has already pledged to submit the Constitution to a referendum - but no date has been set. (EUObserver.com)

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