18 May, 2004
Federalists urge IGC: Don't dilute the draft constiturion as far as democracy and effectiveness are concerned
On the occasion of the resumption of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) at ministerial level early this week, the Union of European Federalists (UEF) declared that those provisions of the Convention's Draft Constitution making the EU more democratic and more efficient have to be saved under any circumstances.
"For the sake of the least common denominator the Constitution is in danger of being watered down. The outcome of the IGC has to be as close to the Convention's draft as possible. If talks of a more democratic, transparent and accountable European Union are not only catchwords, no retreat should be agreed upon especially as far as qualified majority voting and the powers of the European Parliament are concerned", said Jo LEINEN, President of UEF and Member of the European Parliament.
In this respect recent discussions about topics such as the budgetary procedure are unacceptable, since they imply even a drawback compared to the current competences of the European Parliament. "Budgetary rights are an essential right of all Parliaments, the same goes for the European Parliament", Jo LEINEN insisted.
The UEF criticizes that the rule of unanimity could continue to apply to trade policy as well as foreign direct investment. "That would mean a serious setback for the role of the European Union in international trade talks", the President of UEF warned.
Furthermore UEF called on the IGC to deal now with a solution to give in case of non-ratification by one Member state. "The EU must not be held hostage by its most reticent members. The Constitution agreed by the IGC should enter into force if approved by the European Parliament and ratified by a large majority of Member States", said Jo LEINEN.
"Only a transparent and coherent Constitution with a strong European Parliament as the institution representing the citizens of Europe will guarantee an approval of the Constitution by the European people and parliaments", concluded Jo LEINEN.

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