The document, drawn up by a 105-member committee led by former French President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, calls for the European Union's six-month rotating presidency to be replaced by an EU president, elected from the current batch of heads of state for two and a half years. He also favors creating the post of EU foreign minister to represent the bloc on the world stage.
Perhaps as important, at least to the British, was that the document does not use the term "federal" and the European Union will not be renamed "United Europe" of the "United States of Europe."
Europe will remain a union of sovereign nation states with governments in charge.
The proposed constitution calls for the EU's 6-month rotating presidency to be replaced by an EU president, elected from the current batch of heads of state for a 2-1/2-year term. It also favors creating the post of EU foreign minister to represent the bloc on the world stage.
Giscard d'Estaing's power-sharing proposals have gone down well with larger member states, such as Britain, France, Italy and Spain, but are fiercely opposed by smaller states, the European Commission and the European Parliament.
More popular among delegates to the Brussels-based body, which has been compared to the Constitutional Convention, which gave birth to the United States, are proposals aimed at boosting the bloc's foreign policy powers.
In a nod to the recent splits over Iraq, the draft text unveiled Monday calls on members to "actively and unreservedly support the Union's common foreign and security policy in a spirit of loyalty and mutual solidarity."
It also commits the 15 members to come to each other's defense in the event of terrorist attack.
Governance What is governance?
The term "governance" is a very versatile one. It is used in connection with several contemporary social sciences, especially economics and political science.
It originates from the need of economics (as regards corporate governance) and political science (as regards State governance) for an all-embracing concept capable of conveying diverse meanings not covered by the traditional term "government".
Referring to the exercise of power overall, the term "governance", in both corporate and State contexts, embraces action by executive bodies, assemblies (e.g. national parliaments) and judicial bodies (e.g. national courts and tribunals).
The term "governance" corresponds to the so-called post-modern form of economic and political organisations.
According to the political scientist Roderick Rhodes, the concept of governance is currently used in contemporary social sciences with at least six different meanings: the minimal State, corporate governance, new public management, good governance, social-cybernetic systems and self-organised networks 1.
Click here for a basic bibliography covering the meanings given by the various social sciences to the term "governance".
The European Commission established its own concept of governance in the White Paper on European Governance, in which the term "European governance" refers to the rules, processes and behaviour that affect the way in which powers are exercised at European level, particularly as regards openness, participation, accountability, effectiveness and coherence. These five "principles of good governance" reinforce those of subsidiarity and proportionality.
The White Paper is about the way in which the Union uses the powers given to it by its citizens.
Useful information on the meaning of the term "governance" and its different aspects in conjunction with different EU policies can be found under the heading "Governance" in the Scadplus glossary on the European Union portal site.