26 March, 2003
The Convention's Draft: a blueprint for a citizens' Europe?
300 people attended the public debate organised by the UEF in cooperation with its local sections of UEF Belgium and UEF Groupe Europe. Due to strict security rules in the European Parliament during the Irak war, the UEF had to refuse the last inscriptions.

The following members of the European Convention participated in the panel discussion chaired by the UEF President Jo LEINEN: Mr Klaus HÄNSCH, Member of the European Parliament and Member of the Praesidium of the Convention; Mr Alojz PETERLE, Representative of the Slovene Parliament and guest representing the candidate countries in the Praesidium; Mrs Claude DU GRANRUT, Member of the EU Committee of the Regions and Observer at the European Convention. Mr Michel BARNIER, Member of the European Commission and Member of the Praesidium was at the last minute represented by his Head of Cabinet, Mrs. Christine ROGER.

The answers to the question "The Convention'Draft :  A Blueprint for a Citizens'Europe ?"  were rather optimistic.

Introducing the topic, Jo LEINEN outlined the progress of the Campaign for a European Constitution which federalists launched 6 years ago and expressed the hope that the Convention would propose strong institutions to transform the EU into a democratic, efficient and transparent entity that will bring the Union closer to its citizens.

Claude DU GRANRUT pointed out that the problems of the institutions and of the security and defence policy were not yet solved. She feared that the national parliaments would pretend to represent the voice of the citizens at European level. Furthermore, she was worried that the IGC would reverse the improvements made by the Convention towards a citizens' Europe.

Klaus HÄNSCH underlined that time must be given to the citizens to feel "at home" in a united Europe and to share their common destiny with other Europeans. He was in favour of majority voting in the Council, including on military matters, and hoped that the Convention would not be divided, but propose solutions for the whole of Europe.

Alojz PETERLE was convinced that if the peoples' will were respected, the EU would speak with one voice.

Christine ROGER welcomed the incorporation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights as a way to enrich EU citizenship. She stressed that beyond the constitutional text a qualitative democracy should be effectively put into practice.


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