Friday, 25 May 2007

Next EU Treaty?

It is not going to be a constitution, but neither is it going to be a mini treaty. A simplified treaty seems to be the formula for an emerging consensus for the next treaty revision.

How little or how much is the European Union going to get? How much should it get?

Institutional changes already agreed upon are widely seen as necessary to give a Union with 27 member states some coherence in the world:

Less vetoes and more qualified majority voting.

A foreign minister for the Union.

A stable presidency for the Council.

A Union with legal personality within one pillar.

The citizens of the Union should at least preserve the improvements introduced by the Constitutional Treaty, including scrutiny by the European Parliament.

Even if it may be tempting to strive for a slimmer version than the Constitutional Treaty, the world has moved on since the revision process started in Nice in 2001. Should the Union be given the tools to tackle increasingly serious cross-border problems?

How about the environment and climate change, energy, immigration and terrorism?

Should countries willing and able to move ahead give themselves the means to advance, and let the recalcitrant few opt in at a later stage if they begin to see the advantages of more effective common action?

Ralf Grahn