Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Save the Charter, says EP

The Constitutional Affairs Committee of the European Parliament wants an Intergovernmental Conference to convene soon to reach a settlement on institutional reforms for the European Union.

According to a press release from the EP, the committee said that it would reject any outcome which, if compared to the Constitutional Treaty, would lead to a diminution of the protection of the rights of citizens or to less democracy, transparency and efficiency in the functioning of the Union.

The committee called for the preservation of the basic principles of Part I of the Constitutional Treaty in the future agreement on the institutional reforms.

The Charter of Fundamental Rights, whose inclusion in the new treaty is still being debated by governments, is one of the reforms the committee deems indispensable.

In addition, the report lists the recognition of the Union’s values, the clarification of respective competencies at national and EU level, the respect of subsidiarity and an increased involvement of citizens in the EU’s political life among the crucial achievements of the draft Constitution to be upheld.

The plenary is going to debate and vote on the report on 5 and 6 June 2007.

The citizens of the Union have at least some friends in high places, namely in the European Parliament, but it is hard to know how much of a consolation that is going to be, when the governments of the member states start wrangling in earnest behind closed doors, each according to its perceived national interest.

Ralf Grahn