Procedure : 2019/2990(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B9-0038/2020

Texts tabled :

B9-0038/2020

Debates :

PV 15/01/2020 - 6
CRE 15/01/2020 - 6

Votes :

PV 15/01/2020 - 10.10
CRE 15/01/2020 - 10.10
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


<Date>{09/01/2020}9.1.2020</Date>
<NoDocSe>B9‑0038/2020</NoDocSe>
PDF 161kWORD 47k

<TitreType>MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION</TitreType>

<TitreSuite>to wind up the debate on the statements by the Council and the Commission</TitreSuite>

<TitreRecueil>pursuant to Rule 132(2) of the Rules of Procedure</TitreRecueil>


<Titre>on the Conference on the Future of Europe</Titre>

<DocRef>(2019/2990(RSP))</DocRef>


<RepeatBlock-By><Depute>Zdzisław Krasnodębski</Depute>

<Commission>{ECR}on behalf of the ECR Group</Commission>

</RepeatBlock-By>


B9‑0038/2020

European Parliament resolution on the Conference on the Future of Europe

(2019/2990(RSP))

The European Parliament,

 having regard to the proposal made by the President of the Commission in the political guidelines for the new Commission to hold a Conference on the Future of Europe,

 having regard to Article 48(4) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

 having regard to Rule 132(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas there is a need for the institutions of the European Union to reconnect with the citizens of the Member States and to address their concerns about the EU’s direction and activities;

B. whereas there is an urgent need for a profound reassessment of the operations of the EU and significant reform to make it better able to help:

  safeguard citizens and borders;

  respect the rights and sovereignty of its Member States, and particularly their right to protect their national traditions, culture and common Christian heritage;

  create jobs and prosperity;

  develop a realistic sustainable economy;

  improve its efficiency and effectiveness;

  cooperate with global partners;

1. Believes that a genuinely open conference process might have value in facilitating a debate about the future of Europe, as the EU has clearly become very remote from the citizens of its Member States; emphasises, however, that the conference initiative will only fulfil these hopes if certain conditions are met and key principles firmly established to govern its operation;

2. Emphasises that the Conference, which should be called the ‘Conference on the Future of the European Union’, must avoid an approach which presumes that its purpose is simply to discuss different options for further European integration while taking the current acquis communautaire for granted;

3. Calls for an independent review of the acquis communautaire to be carried out ahead of the Conference, including thorough scrutiny of the EEAS and a cost-benefit analysis of EU programmes and agencies;

4. Is deeply concerned that members of a federalist faction, well represented in Brussels and the institutions of the EU, will seek to dominate the Conference by seizing control of its agenda and operations in order to manipulate the Conference into supporting their objectives;

5. Insists that the conference process must therefore be founded on three key principles in order to be successful:

  pluralism and diversity;

  recognition of the democratic legitimacy of national institutions;

  respect for constitutional democracy;

Pluralism and diversity

6. Emphasises that, as part of its commitment to pluralism, the Conference must not just be used to promote the EU integrationist orthodoxy but should be an opportunity for different, dissenting proposals to be discussed equally;

7. Notes that there are other equally valid alternatives to the traditional federalist orthodoxy, such as proposals to return the Union to a European community of sovereign nations based on the eurorealist concept of a confederal Europe that respects the rights and democratic legitimacy of the Member States; calls for these and many other options to be discussed equally and fairly at the Conference and its related public meetings;

8. Insists, therefore, that participants in the Conference and its related meetings must be given a fair opportunity to discuss issues such as:

  whether European integration has gone too far, and in which areas;

  whether some competences should be returned to the Member States;

  whether majority voting should cease to be the standard procedure in some areas;

  whether existing national veto rights could be expanded by formalising the Luxembourg Compromise so that national vetoes could again be invoked to defend ‘very important national interests’;

  whether the voting method in the Council should be revised (particularly following Brexit);

  whether national parliaments should be able to invoke the principle of subsidiarity to block specific legislative proposals by means of an effective red card procedure;

  whether the primacy of EU law over national constitutional law should be reconsidered;

  whether the right of legislative initiative should be extended to national parliaments;

  whether the respective roles and responsibilities of the co-legislators need clarification;

Democratic legitimacy of national institutions

9. Recalls that the institutions with the greatest democratic legitimacy in the EU are those of the Member States; emphasises that Parliament does not have any kind of unique or special legitimacy on European issues that would justify its taking control of the Conference and that at all times it should be recalled that a European election is an aggregate of separate national elections, largely about national issues, and not a single election on the future of Europe; further insists that the Conference should avoid a corporatist approach and should ensure that the democratically elected institutions of the Member States are central to the process;

10. Reiterates that European Union powers are not inherent, as are those of a state, but that they must be conferred by the treaties; stresses that the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality govern the exercise of the EU’s competences to ensure that powers are exercised as close to the citizens as possible, in accordance with the proximity principle referred to in Article 10(3) of the TEU; believes that the Union needs to focus on addressing important challenges where it can add value; stresses that resources are limited and that there is a clear need to reflect on how to prioritise activities and use available resources more efficiently;

Constitutional democracy

11. Insists that it must be acknowledged, from the outset and by all concerned, that such public consultation exercises as this conference initiative, no matter how well structured and organised, are no substitute for – and therefore cannot challenge – the democratic legitimacy of constitutionally established parliamentary institutions; emphasises, therefore, that there cannot be any democratic argument in favour of automatic implementation of any of the conclusions of the Conference; proposes instead that its conclusions be formally submitted to the European Council, the European Parliament and the Commission to allow each to prepare a formal response and follow-up action as they consider appropriate, in order to advance the debate;

12. Stresses that the only conference formally able to propose amendments to the treaties is a ‘conference of representatives of the governments of the Member States’, as provided for in Article 48(4) of the TEU, and that in accordance with this Article such amendments may only enter force ‘after being ratified by all the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements’;

Organisational matters

13. Proposes that the Conference plenary should consist of approximately 200 full members holding a democratic mandate as follows:

  one representative of each Member State;

  120 parliamentarians nominated by the Member States (with national delegations of between two and 15 members);

  60 members of the European Parliament;

and 50 observers with full speaking rights but without voting rights:

  27 members of the European Commission;

  the President of the European Council;

  11 nominees from the Committee of the Regions;

  11 nominees from the European Economic and Social Committee;

14. Proposes that others may be invited to participate in specific plenary sessions as expert witnesses, as required, without being members or observers of the Conference;

15. Recommends that in preparation for the Conference, an early meeting of the speakers of national parliaments might be a useful occasion for an exchange of views about how the fullest involvement of national parliamentarians can be achieved; stresses, in this regard, that it is up to the Member States to decide, in accordance with their constitutional law, who will represent their national parliaments; notes, in particular, that, as enshrined in Declaration 51 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), parliamentary assemblies of communities and regions may act as components of the national parliamentary system or chambers of the national parliament; suggests that members of the Conference of Parliamentary Committees for Union Affairs of Parliaments of the European Union (COSAC) should also be fully involved in the preparation of the Conference;

16. Proposes that there should be a single body to run the conference process, established in advance but drawn from among its full and observer members, to be called the ‘Steering Committee’; insists that this Steering Committee must be pluralist in its composition and include parliamentarians from the institutions of the Member States as well as the EU institutions; recommends that this steering committee consist of approximately 40 members, including:

  three members of the Council to represent the trio;

  three Commissioners;

  fourteen members of the European Parliament (two from each political group);

  one member from each of the 27 national parliaments;

  the Co-Chairs of the Conference;

17. Proposes that the Steering Committee should have full responsibility for taking policy decisions regarding the work of the Conference, including:

  the organisation of citizens’ forums, in cooperation with national parliaments;

  choices of subjects, themes, programmes, speakers and panels;

  the documentation to be circulated;

  the commissioning of opinion polling;

18. Underlines that while the Steering Committee may create working groups to focus on specific organisational items, any such groups should not have independent decision-making authority but only responsibilities delegated to them by the Steering Committee;

19. Proposes that three Co-Chairs of the Conference be designated: two national parliamentarians nominated by the European Council and one MEP nominated by the European Parliament; insists that the nominees must reflect a political and geographical balance; proposes that the three Co-Chairs be members of the Steering Committee;

20. Emphasises that it is important for the Conference to ensure intergenerational solidarity, recalling that society is a partnership of all its members – past, present and future; stresses that it is important for citizens’ forums associated with the Conference to be balanced and representative in terms of age, diversity, geography, and social and economic background; notes that some specific citizens’ meetings might, however, be held on certain issues that may depart from this principle, where it is appropriate to do so, such as youth meetings or meetings related to specific issues (e.g. the problems faced by urban or rural communities);

21. Insists that citizens’ forums should be organised primarily at national level and that thematic transnational civic conferences should summarise the debates held at national level; emphasises that the selection of participants in all such meetings must be made completely independently and without any political interference; calls for participants to be selected by well-established and respected polling organisations with the relevant professional expertise;

22. Insists that in all public consultations related to the conference process – be they actual meetings or other forms of consultation such as opinion polling or social media engagement initiatives – pluralism must be ensured; stresses that this means that all programmes, speakers lists, panels, literature and documents, etc. must be balanced and ensure that a great variety of differing viewpoints is presented, reflecting the diversity of opinions in Europe, in order to stimulate a profound debate;

23. Proposes that members of the Conference plenary should have the same facilities and support in publishing minority reports as they do for majority reports;

°

° °

24. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council and the governments and the parliaments of the Member States.

 

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