Category Archives: EU Constitution

Swedish Greens move positive on EU

Maria Wetterstrand GröntSwedish Greens’ (Miljöpartiet de Gröna) spokeswoman Maria Wetterstrand has provoced a u-turn of her party’s position on the EU. In a leader in the latest members magazine Grönt, Maria argues that the values for Swedish EU membership are stronger than its criticism. According to an interview she gave to Dagens Nyheter she can no longer defend a policy of her party that she does not support. In another DN article, also co-spokesman Peter Eriksson gives full backing to Maria’s position. – Interestingly enough Carl Schlyter, the party’s only MEP, does not seem to share the stand and prefers to campaign against the new Lisbon Treaty instead.
The issue will now be discussed at the party congress in May.
Other commentators suggest that the new positioning was long overdue and a tactical move. If the Greens want to join government with the Social Democrats at the next election (due latest in autumn 2010), they need a pro-EU position. In previous Social Democrats governments the Greens (and the Left Party) were not full government members – including ministers – because they were regarded us “unreliable” on the EU issue. That flank will hopefully be closed by the two successful party leaders now. Let us hope that their members will follow because Maria is right: Only with a constructive engagement of the Greens in a Swedish government, Sweden – and Greens – can really make a change in Europe. But if the majority of party members start to share this belief I am even more confident about Green cooperation on EU level (see also Helena’s article about this).

The EU president should be the Commission president

Lately the talks and speculations about the first “EU president” (i.e. president of the European Council) intensify in particular with the campaign pro and contra Tony Blair. The good thing about these talks is that they raise the profile of the post and people learn that something will change in the EU’s institutional setting. In practice, however, the crucial question remains unanswered: How will the competences between the EU president, the Commission president and the High Representative be belanced out?

My answer to this is very simple: The president of the European Council should be the Commission president. This so-called “double-hat” solution had been intensively discussed during the constitutional convention but member states were too afraid at the time to make this bold step at once. Instead they opted for a typical compromise through the introduction of the new additional post (EU president) while keeping the crucial role of the Commission president. At the time of the “compromise” there was talk that the current solution leaves doors open for the double-hat version at a later stage without any major constitutional reform. After a look at the Lisbon Treaty I would say that the idea needs to remain on the table. At least constitutionally I do not see any explicit ruling out of any incompatibility of the posts united in one person.

Now let us see if our EU leaders are potentially willing to engage in such a simple but so much more effective solution instead of buying out politicians or countries through a post that no one really needs in the end. Continue reading

Consolidated version of Lisbon Treaty (Reform Treaty)

Lisbon Treaty logo CouncilEventually some people made the effort to work on the proposed changes as adopted at the October summit and prepare the complete Treaties. The new Lisbon Treaty is now available in a consolidated version. – Even on the websits of the French parliament. At the same time, the Council still only provides for lengthy documents spelling out the changes. Let us see if they think that they can keep it like that until the British parliament takes a decision.

Now, you can find an English version on the website of the Irish Institute of European Affairs.
A French version is provided for by the Assamblee Nationale’s website.
A German version is so far only available as book. Continue reading

Timeline ratification Reform / Lisbon Treaty in Germany

Here comes the current timeline for the ratification procedure of the Reform/Lisbon Treaty in Germany. – Hier kommt der derzeitige Ratifizierungszeitplan für den Reform/Lissabon Vertrag in Deutschland:

13.12.2007 Voraussichtliche Vertragsunterzeichnung in Lissabon (signing in Lisbon)
19.12.2007 or 09.01.20008 Beschlussfassung im Kabinett über Entwurf des Ratifikationsgesetzes (cabinet passes ratification law)

11.01.2008 Zuleitung an Bundesrat (forwarding to Bundesrat)
14.03.2008 Bundesraat 1. Durchgang und Abgabe einer Stellungnahme (first reading in Bundesrat)

19.03.2008 or 26.03.2008 or 02.04.2008 Beschlussfassung im Kabinett über Gegenäußerung der Bundesregierung und Übermittlung an den Bundestag (decision in cabinet and forwarding to Bundestag)

10./11.04.2008 1. Beratung Plenum Bundestag (first consultation in Bundestag plenary)

late April and May 2008 Beratungen in den Ausschüssen (consultations in committees)
24./25.04.2008 or 8./9.05.2008 or 5./6.06.2008 2. Beratung und Schlussabstimmung im Plenum (second reading final vote in Bundestag)

23.05.2008 or 13.06.2008 or 04.07.2008 2. Durchgang Bundesrat (second reading Bundesrat)

JEF PR: European Political Foundations paving the way for a true European dialogue

JEF welcomes the Commission’s endorsement of the revision of the financing statute for political parties and the introduction of European political foundations. After the introduction of the financing of European political parties, the introduction of European political foundations remained to be done as the next logical step. JEF calls on the Council and European Parliament to give swift support to the proposed amendments to have them finalised by the end of the year.

Jan Seifert, President of JEF-Europe commented:
“The great innovation of today’s proposals is the introduction of European Political Foundations. These foundations can play an important role in further fostering the debate about Europe within and outside the networks of the European Political Parties. Developing further the European political space is a central task for the European political parties. We call on the parties to make use of the new opportunities the foundations offer to them also to increase their outreach to European NGOs Continue reading

IGC road map

Next steps:

EP votes its opinion on the opening of the IGC in July (10-12)
Commission presents its opinion probably 10 July
Formal opening of negotiations around 23 July
Finalising debate with European Summit 18/19 October 2007

Ratification until summer 2008 (Ireland already indicate that it would hold its referendum in spring 2008)

I hope that at least ratification will be synchronised within early 2008, so that there is some momentum of a European debate in particular in view of the referendums which will take place anyways.

JEF PR: EU summit – Proclaimed success is democratic failure

European Council picturesAfter months of secret Sherpa negotiations outside of parliamentary control, European leaders came together to this weekend’s EU summit to fix the institutional impasse for the better – or worse. The further weakening of the frail Constitutional Treaty is the ultimate evidence of the Union’s biggest structural problem: The right of every random government to stop Europe from moving forward and tackling the challenges of our future.

The Young European Federalists (JEF Europe) are deeply concerned about the outcome of last night’s EU summit. Jan Seifert, President of JEF Europe, described the so-called Reform Treaty as “a sad end to the least democratic Treaty reform process in EU’s history“. He further commented: “The worst of nationalist-bureaucratic Europe has struck back. As a consequence of the Sherpa negotiations between unelected bureaucrats national parliaments, civil society and citizens have been completely side-lined.” Continue reading

EU-Gipfel: Merkel spielt Bundestag und Europäisches Parlament mit Chuzpe aus

Barroso Merkel SteinmeierChapeau, Frau Merkel. Sie haben es geschafft, sowohl den Bundestag als auch das Europäische Parlament politisch komplett kalt zu stellen und ihnen trotzdem noch das Gefühl gegeben, Ihre volle Aufmerkamkeit zu genießen.

Ja, Sie wissen schon. Ich meine Ihre Strategie für die Erarbeitung des “Reform Treaty” (ehemals EU Verfassungsvertrag). Über Monate haben Sie in Ihren offiziellen Reden (s.u.) verkündet, dass es lediglich um einen “Fahrplan” geht. Im Mai erwähnen Sie daneben, dass auch das Reiseziel bestimmt werden müsse. So lässt sich natürlich einfach rechtfertigen, dass Ihre Ministerialmitarbeiter mit dem netten, exotischen Namen “Sherpa” die Verhandlungen mit anderen Sherpas führen und die technischen Fragen des Fahrplans erörtern. Ach ja, nebenbei haben die Sherpas natürlich auch die “Berliner Erklärung” zum 50. Geburtstag der EU im März vorbereitet. Und irgendwie hieß es dann kurz danach, dass man sich auch ruhig auch an die Substanz der Verfassungsfrage wagen könnte. Weil man ja schon dabei ist.

Um den 20. April haben Ihre Sherpas die Diskussion mit ihren 12 Fragen mit konkreten Fragen zur Vorbereitung der Vertragsreform strukturiert. Vorgestern nun wurde auf der letzten Sherpa-Sitzung in etwas umständlicher Form der Vorschlag für einen “Reform Treaty” von Ihren Beamten vorgelegt. Damit geht die Sherpa-Präsidentschaft jetzt ihrem Ende zu.
In einer Demokratie könnte man denken, dass die Parlamente an so recht grundlegenden Fragen wie der Reform der EU beteiligt werden (wenn schon nicht das Volk direkt). Bundestag und Europäisches Parlament Continue reading

Wallström answers to JEF open letter – Germans don’t

Just a few hours ahead of the start of the European Summit I am receiving Margot Wallström’s answer to JEF’s Open Letter to the heads of government, Commission and European Parliament. The open letter was published on this blog right after sending it out on 13 June. This is what I call good communication policy! Given the Commission’s lack of ambition right after the no votes in France and Netherlands, it also does not go unnoticed that Barroso and Wallström have been surprisingly outspoken in favour of a serious Treaty reform and in opposition to Merkel’s Sherpa secrecy.
I wonder if Chancellor Merkel ever bothers to answer to our letter… would not surprise me if the German government did not care.

JEF’s Open Letter on EU reform

Margot Wallström’s answer

German EU Presidency proposal for IGC leaked

It took almost a day until it was leaked, but here we go. This document spells out what the Sherpas discussed yesterday evening. EUobserver writes more about those discussions.

All this behind-the-doors wrangling has been the most efficient attempt in sidelining parliamentary democracy.

More comments will follow with the summit opening or indeed with hopefully some results coming out of the show.

IGC mandate

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