In the new European commission no member will be directly responsible for the further process of realising the European Constitution. This was critizised by the president of the committee on constitutional affiars, the German social democrat Jo Leinen. The Barroso commission should see itself as an engine of the constitutional idea and as a guardian of the achieved compromise. It must not step into the role of a pure bystander, said Leinen.
It was extremly useful to have two commissioners in the Prodi commission - Michel Barnier and later on Antonio Vittorino - who were responsible for the constitutional project. It would be foul play if no member of the Barroso commission was to have the task of intensively followinging the constitutional process. The most difficult etappe on the way to realising the European constitution was still ahead, said Leinen.
Although the ratification will take place in the 25 member states the European constitution is a common project of the first degree, that would call for the aktive co-operation of all European institutions. Therefore a European communication strategy is needed in order to explain to the public the essential advantages and contents of the European constitution. It is also necessary to have a common ratification strategy to prevent that the hostorical project of the European constitution will be watered down.
Some of the ideas in the constitution, such as the structural dialog with civil society or the possibility of a petition for a European referendum, could be dealt with by the commission before the entering into force of the constitution, said Leinen.
Leinen added that the commission on constitutional affairs in the European parliament awaits a competent partner in the European commission for the many constitutional questions that will come up in the legislature until 2009.