The EP is currently preparing its position on the way forward with the Constitution/IGC. After a lot of good ideas and proposals endorsed in the Duff-Voggenhuber report in January 2006, hardly anything has happened – neither on the report front, nor in concrete action. Maybe it is just too bad that the AFCO key players are close to the two parties of the German government?
Two current issues stroke me as not particularly ambitious:
1. MEPs Carnero and Geremek have proposed to launch an own initiative report on the feasibility of a European-referendum-style citizens consultation to request answers on certain variables to the way ahead with the Constitution. You can find their proposal here. The seemingly less ambitious AFCO coordinators have not agreed (yet?) on allowing for such an initiative report. Politically I translate this into a lack of will to organise such a referendum or even to have a general report on ideas of organising such a consultative referendum. Only a written declaration by other MEPs on the wider idea tries to gather support at present.
2. AFCO MEPs Baron Crespo and Brok have just presented their report on the roadmap for the Union’s Constitutional Process. Again there is a lot of the usual talk but less further reaching ambition – in particular with regards to the European referendum. How can you seriously re-launch a process if you don’t involve the citizens directly? How come the majority of MEPs constantly give in to a false pragmatism dictated by some member states’ bureaucratic advisers? What do these MEPs have to loose by demanding only a bit more than the Council will give in the end?
You might think that the EP doesn’t really have powers in the current period. This is actually not the case because the EP has to agree to the opening of an IGC. A vote on this issue could already happen in the July session. But if you want to be involved in the upcoming IGC through the means of a Convention-style public discussion (which I see necessary) and if you were as honest as proposing to put the future Treaty/Constitution directly to the citizens, then you should attach your demands to your approval of an IGC!