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Future of Europe: European Parliament voted for the proposals for amending the EU Treaties

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The European Parliament last week voted on the report on radical new proposals to amend the EU treaties a with 305 votes in favour, 276 against, and 29 abstentions. The proposals were drafted by the Liberal Renew Group, led by Belgian MEP and fervent Eurofederalist Guy Verhofstadt, and had been adopted last month by the Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee.

The amendments aim to give citizens a greater say in the process and to make the European Union work more effectively, with EU legislation keeping pace with changing times. The proposal just voted on also includes a call for the European Council to convene a Convention in December to review the Treaties.

The need to amend the EU Treaties is a result of the challenges the EU is facing and the series of crises it is experiencing. The European Parliament wants the reforms to increase the EU’s capacity to act and to give more weight to the voice of EU citizens. MEPs’ main proposals include:

  • a more bicameral system and fewer deadlocks in the Council, through more decisions by qualified majority voting and the ordinary legislative procedure;
  • a fully-fledged right of legislative initiative, and a co-legislator role for Parliament for the long-term budget;
  • an overhaul of the rules for the Commission’s composition (rebranded as the “European Executive”), including the election of its President (with the nomination to be done by Parliament and the approval by the European Council – a reversal of the current process), limiting the number of Commissioners to 15 (rotating between the member states), enabling the Commission President to choose their College based on political preferences with geographic and demographic balance in mind, and a mechanism to censure individual Commissioners;
  • significantly greater transparency in the Council by publishing EU member state positions on legislative issues; and
  • more say for citizens through an obligation for the EU to create appropriate participatory mechanisms and by giving European political parties a stronger role.

In any case, these changes would go hand in hand with an increase in the Union’s powers, i.e. more sovereignty would be taken away from the Member States.

MEPs propose that the EU should have more powers on environmental issues. Other areas currently dealt with exclusively at national level, such as public health, civil protection, industrial policy and education, should also be brought under EU competence. It is also proposed to extend the already shared EU competences in the areas of energy, foreign affairs, external security and defence, EU external border policy and cross-border infrastructure.

MEPs called on the European Council to « submit the proposals to the European Council without delay and without debate ». It is now up to EU heads of state and government to call a European Convention by a simple majority. The Spanish EU Presidency is expected to present the proposal to the European Council in December.

EU Briefs publie des articles provenant de diverses sources extérieures qui expriment un large éventail de points de vue. Les positions prises dans ces articles ne sont pas nécessairement celles d'EU Briefs.

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