The EU draft constitution threatens the neutrality and professionalism of humanitarian aid, according to medical relief NGO Merlin.
The charity is concerned that the constitution does not mention neutrality as a fundamental principle of aid agencies' operation. "Should humanitarian aid become integrated with EU foreign policy - or indeed even unintentionally become associated with diplomatic and military processes - this aid would no longer be able to reach beneficiaries during times of conflict," Merlin's response to the proposed constitution states.
Merlin also opposes the establishment of a volunteer-based European Humanitarian Aid Corps, as proposed in the draft treaty.
Chief executive Geoff Prescott said: "Humanitarian aid is meant to save lives and alleviate suffering, not be an expensive white-elephant foreign policy tool. It is imperative that for victims of war, aid should not become enmeshed in politics and undermined by well-meaning but inexperienced volunteers and partisan Eurocrats."
The responses to the draft will be considered by EU member governments at a conference this month. The treaty will come into force after May 2004.