What are we about to face? Will we remain a sovereign state? Why the hurry to ratify the EU constitutional treaty? Is this desire for urgent ratification a repeat of what had happened with regard to the purchase of Dar Malta in Brussels when the Nationalist government made its footprint in Archimedes Street after issuing a cheque for Lm9 million in order to please those accommodated in the vicinity of the King's Garden in the Belgian capital?

Maybe it is some sort of a golden handshake. This constitution will mean assurances for them, their families and their friends.

I'd prefer calling this European Constitution the European Barons & Monarchy Association Statute rather than the birth certificate of the United States of Europe as it was dubbed by Hans Martin Bury!

Mr Bury, the German Minister for Europe, said during a debate: "This Constitution is, in spite of all justified calls for further regulations, a milestone. Yes, it is more than that. The EU Constitution is the birth certificate of the United States of Europe".

Throughout the same debate, the same German minister contradicted claims by Jack Straw that the Constitution would "draw a line" for EU integration. He said: "The Constitution is not the end point of integration but the framework for - as it says in the preamble - an ever closer union".

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos was interviewed by the EU-funded think-tank "café babel" and was asked: "Does accepting the European Constitution mean a surrender of member states' sovereignty?" His reply was: "Absolutely.

The member states have already relinquished control of certain economic and social competences.

Now the difficult part is approaching: the giving up of sovereignty in the dual arenas of foreign affairs and defence". He argued that "The post of European Minister for Foreign Affairs is revolutionary".

The social competences mentioned by Mr Moratinos does include justice, liberty and security. In the interview, Mr Moratinos also said: "The concept of traditional citizenship has been bypassed in the 21st century. We are witnessing the last remnants of national politics".

A local non-political radio station has given publicity to thoughts expressed by the Spanish bishops' conference on the matter. Well, Mr Moratinos seems to be out of touch with the views of his country's Episcopal conference because the bishops did not agree with certain terms found in the EU Constitution, with the possibility of accepting euthanasia and abortion - which Christian Europe rejects - and with the omission of any reference to God.

Well, Mr Moratinos and Mr Bury do agree at all costs that Europe should be a one-man show, a one-man dynasty. Perhaps Mr Bury's "United States of Europe" will have Jacques Chirac as President of Europe counter-balancing George W. Bush and the governors can act as canvassers on D-Day elections.

Given the values embraced by Malta's Prime Minister, I wonder what sort of Catholic action will be taken in order to counter the "terms and conditions" contained in the EU Constitution. Or will the EU barons housed within the glass building in Brussels impose their will on our Prime Minister? But, then, it is possible the EU Constitution is ratified with urgency in order to secure the above-mentioned golden handshake.

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi ought to realise we are not dealing with lampuki. Our country and our sovereignty are at stake and we definitely would not like to give up our rights to any European Barons and Monarchy Association!

I will fight it as a true Maltese and as a genuine Labourite all the way, come what may.

Dr Farrugia is a Labour member of Parliament.

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