16 June, 2004
It's high time for a European Constitution! Europe cannot afford another failure, European federalists warn
The Union of European Federalists (UEF) urge the next European Summit starting on Thursday to adopt a European Constitution without any further due.
"There is one lesson to be learnt from last week's European elections: The citizens want a European Union that is democratic, transparent and accountable to them. We've heard enough lip services, now it's time to act. Europe cannot afford another failure", said Jo Leinen, President of UEF and Member of the outgoing and the newly elected European Parliament.
UEF warns against watering down the draft text for the sake of the least common denominator. "The Constitution has to be as close to the Convention's draft as possible", insisted Mr. Leinen. It is absolutely necessary that the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights be incorporated in the Constitution, thus making it legally binding as an important step towards a Union of Citizens. Furthermore, no retreat should be agreed as far as qualified majority voting and the powers of the European Parliament in both legislative and budgetary procedures are concerned.
Don't dilute the draft Constitution
However, UEF regrets that several items which are of vital importance for an efficient functioning of the European Union seem not be resolved at this IGC: The Commission will not be transformed into a true European Government and despite the creation of the post of a European Minister for Foreign Affairs Foreign, Security and Defence Policy will largely remain in the hands of the Council voting by unanimity. Besides, Economic governance of the Economic and Monetary Union will not improve significantly.
Another Convention no later than 2008
"These failings need to be corrected if the European Union is to have a long-term future in securing peace, justice, democracy and economic and social stability", Mr. Leinen underlines. "This is why the Danish Prime Minister is wrong, when he demands no more EU treaties for many years." Instead, the European Federalists ask the heads of state and government to commit to convening another Convention no later than 2008 to revise the Constitution and rectify its failings.
Furthermore, UEF calls on the IGC to deal now with the answer to give in case of non-ratification by one or more Member states. Jo Leinen: "The EU must not be held hostage by its most reticent members. The Constitution should enter into force if approved by the European Parliament and ratified by a large majority of Member States."
Nominate a "strong" Commission President
Another crucial item of this week's European Summit is the nomination of the next President of the European Commission. The European Federalists appeal to the heads of states and governments to appoint a "strong" candidate with a clear vision of the united Europe, who has the backing of the majority of the European Parliament".
"Only a transparent Constitution with a strong Parliament representing the European citizens and a Commission acting like a European government will ensure an approval of the Constitution by the peoples and the parliaments", the President of UEF concludes.
Contact :  Bruno Boissière, +32.495.44 14 13

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