Some views from other Member States
We have sought to determine the views of some other
Member States' governments and parliaments on the draft Treaty.
According to the European Report on 10 September
Member States have reservations about the proposed changes to
wants to retain its voting weight as agreed at Nice
wants to review the QMV provisions
has concerns about matters of Justice and Home affairs, defence
and their euro opt-out.
Our own research on the websites of the governments
and parliaments of selected Member States has revealed the following.
This is necessarily a selective account, reflecting what we had
discovered by the time we agreed the report. It is not intended
to be exhaustive or comprehensive but to give a flavour of the
debate. We know that a number of other national parliaments, including
in Greece and Ireland, are considering the issues raised by the
The Danish Government published a position paper
on the IGC in September 2003. In general, the Danish government
supports the draft Treaty as a good basis for negotiations, as
a good 'compromise between many different interests'. The key-points
raised by the paper are:
-The draft Treaty confirms the EU as a Union of Member
States 'It establishes that the EU is based on co-operation that
is entered into voluntarily by equal sovereign states, which respects
the national identity of Member States and the fundamental rights
-The Danish government would want to see a permanent
President of the European Council whose 'job description is to
contain a delimitation of competence vis-à-vis the EU Foreign
minister and the Commission President'. Meanwhile, 'maintaining
full and equal rotation of the Presidency of the individual Council
formations will, in our opinion, contribute to ensuring that the
EU remains deeply rooted in the Member States'.
-Denmark is sceptical of a separate Legislative Council
and wishes to maintain sectoral Ministers' responsibility for
EU legislation within their areas.
-The Danish government is of the view that present
voting rules in the Council are unnecessarily complicated and
is open to new rules being adopted. Denmark supports the proposed
extensions of QMV but remain firm on unanimity on social and labour
-The Danish government supports the new composition
of the Commission as proposed by the draft Treaty.
-The Danish Government supports enhanced co-operation
between Member States in CFSP and is 'open to the view that unanimity
does not apply to all issues'. It is also supportive of the proposed
new Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, subject to the detailed
job description being agreed satisfactorily.
-On defence, the Danish government is prepared to
consider a smaller group of countries entering into enhanced co-operation
'provided it is based on clear rules, on equal terms, and is open
-The Danish government interprets the draft Treaty
as providing for enhanced coordination of Member States policy
and is supportive of this change. Further, 'we are open to discuss
whether the Commission's role is to be strengthened in the procedure
for excessive budget deficits'.
-The Danish government wishes to see stronger co-operation
in the areas of freedom, security and justice.
Prime Minister Vanhanen, in his submission to Parliament
on 29 August, expressed concern about:
idea of a permanent president of the Council. Finland is prepared
to accept this proposal, however, provided that 'inter-institutional
balance and member-state equality are preserved'. Moreover, Finland
expects the President to have a representational and chairing
role rather than a policy role.
limited extension of QMV, i.e. Finland is happy about more QMV,
including in foreign affairs.
openness of the Council. Finland thinks more could be done to
increase the transparency of the Council. Note however that Finland
does not think a Legislative Council is a good idea.
· a core
group of countries pursuing closer defence co-operation in the
name of the EU. This sits very uncomfortably with Finland's tradition
However, Vanhanen stressed that all of the above
is negotiable. What is not negotiable for Finland is the
composition of the Commission (if the Prague statement of 1 September
of 15 other small countries is anything to go by, this would seem
to be the case for most of the small countries). Finland will
insist on a one Commissioner per country formula. Moreover, Finland
does not see any reason why the IGC must be concluded by December.
The Finnish parliament was generally supportive of
the government's position. The Finnish Parliament is not interested
the idea of red card/yellow card system. The MPs seem very satisfied
with the amount of influence they have over European affairs through
their own government - in their view having to deal with the Commission
and other national parliaments might not add value.
The French government has not come out with any statement
except comments by senior ministers - reported on the European
websites, but always unattributed - in support of what seems to
be a common position of the original six Member States.
The French government has been one of the strongest
advocates against unravelling the compromise presented in the
draft Treaty. Foreign. According to press reports the French government
has linked budget negotiations on the new financial perspectives
with the IGC negotiations, threatening Spain and Poland in particular
with financial repercussion if they insist on maintaining the
Nice voting system.
France, along with Turkey, is also the main country
resisting any references to Europe's Christian heritage in the
draft Treaty. President Chirac is reported to have said "France
is a lay state and as such she does not have a habit of calling
for insertions of a religious nature into constitutional texts".
The Assemblée Nationale's EU Committee held
a joint session to review the draft Treaty with the German Bundestag's
Committee for EU matters on 24 September. The Senate EU Committee
met on 30 September to discuss the draft Treaty. Both French Committees
expressed their broad support for the draft Treaty as it stands.
The Senate's délégation pour l'Union européenne
considered three key questions:
-Does this project, presented as a 'Constitution',
modify relations between the Union and the Member States?
-What changes does the draft Treaty propose to the
functioning of the Union?
-Does the draft treaty develop the role of the Union
In relation to the first question, the Committee
concludes that the draft Treaty does not substantially alter the
present balance: the EU will remain a Union of Member States rather
than become a federal state. The second section sets out the proposed
changes to legislative procedure and the EU institutions. The
final section concludes that the Union's competencies are no more
clearly delimited in the draft treaty than in the present treaties.
However, the draft treaty provides for national parliaments to
be able to monitor that the Union does not exceed its competence.
The Committee makes the observation that while the draft treaty
proposes a clear mechanism for monitoring subsidiarity, nothing
comparable is proposed for proportionality.
Overall, the Committee appears to consider the draft
treaty favourably as it simplifies the treaties and provides the
Union with more effective representation and decision-making structures.
For the French Assembly, see the joint declaration
under "Germany", below.
The German Government website has a number of articles
stating that ministers want the present text to be adopted without
intervention at the IGC. The Bundestag, however, in a report by
the EU Committee (4 June 2003) offers a different view:
· It agrees
that Own Resources should be determined by unanimity.
subsidiarity clause should be strengthened, but the report makes
no mention of the red card.
· It would
like a mention of God in the preamble, or at least a clear reference
to religious values.
Open Method of Coordination should be limited to exchange of information
and experience and not become a decision-making process. Levels
of immigration should be determined by the Member States.
Joint Declaration by the Deutscher Bundestag and
the French Assembly, 3 October2003
We take pleasure in sending you a joint declaration
on "The Intergovernmental Conference and the European Constitution"
adopted unanimously by the European Affairs Committee of the German
Bundestag and the Delegation pour I'Union Européenne of
the French Assemblée Nationale at a joint committee meeting
in Paris on 24 September 2003.
In the run-up to the IGC, we felt it was essential
to emphasise the quality of the draft Constitution presented by
the European Convention and the need to preserve the balanced
compromise it represents. In their joint declaration both Committees
also stress their intention to enhance the role of national parliaments
in the European process and to closely follow the negotiations
at the IGC with the aim of ensuring transparency and democratic
At the COSAC meeting in Stockholm in 2001 the European
Affairs Committees of the national parliaments and the European
Parliament paved the way for parliaments to play a new and expanded
role in the European process. Since the next COSAC (5-7 October)
is to take place shortly after the opening of the IGC, it would
be important to take this opportunity to demonstrate our common
desire to uphold the spirit of the Convention and to ensure close
parliamentary scrutiny of the IGC's work.
Matthias Wissman, MdB Pierre
Joint Declaration by the Délégation
pour l'Union Européenne of the Assemblée Nationale
and the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union of the
German Bundestag on the Intergovernmental Conference and the European
Within a matter of days, the Italian Presidency of
the European Council will open the Intergovernmental Conference
on the European constitution. In light of this occasion, the Délégation
pour l'Union Européenne of the Assemblée Nationale
and the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union of the
German Bundestag jointly reaffirm their support for the draft
Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, which was adopted
by the European Convention On 13 June and 10 July2003.
Under M. Valéry Giscard d'Estaing's successful
presidency, the best possible outcome has been achieved with this
draft, which is a coherent and unified document. The Convention
has succeeded, through a judicious combination of ambition and
realism, in drawing together the disparate requirements of enlargement
and deepening to create a European constitution which will continue
to evolve. In doing so, it has safeguarded the enlarged Union's
capacity to act through a clear division of powers.
Notwithstanding the necessarily divergent positions
of the various actors, the Convention method, which was initiated
by parliamentarians, has shown itself to be a successful new negotiating
instrument for Treaty reform, involving the European Parliament,
the national Parliaments and governments, and the European Commission.
The Convention method has strengthened the parliamentary dimension
and democracy in European politics. We therefore welcome the fact
that draft Treaty revisions will in future be scrutinized in a
Convention process after consultation with the European Parliament
and the Commission. This approach will ensure not only more closeness
to citizens, more democracy and transparency, but also efficient
and future-oriented results.
We endorse the conclusions of the Thessaloniki European
Council of 20 June 2003 and its decision on the draft Treaty establishing
a Constitution for Europe. We urge the Intergovernmental Conference
to respect this draft as a good basis for its work and request
that it bring the Convention's open, pluralist and consensus-minded
spirit to the IGC's conference table too.
The Convention has supplied the national governments
with a sound basis, whose further treatment will be monitored
very closely by the German and French Parliaments. We are in favour
of a fixed timetable for the Intergovernmental Conference. The
successful conclusion of the Intergovernmental Conference is extremely
important for the future of the enlarged Union. We urge the Member
States to conclude the Intergovernmental Conference within a short
timeframe, preferably by December 2003, so that a broad public
debate can take place before the constitution is signed on Europe
Day, 9 May 2004, just before the European elections take place
We welcome the pledge that the European Parliament
will be closely involved in the deliberations at the Intergovernmental
Conference. We call on the Heads of State and Government to inform
the national Parliaments promptly about all aspects of the Intergovernmental
Conference's work. Regular and detailed exchange with the national
Parliaments will also ease the way for subsequent ratification.
We therefore wish to see an intensive exchange of views between
the national Parliaments and the European Parliament in this context.
This is possible, for example, at the meetings with representatives
of the national Parliaments which are to be organized by the European
Parliament's Committee on Constitutional Affairs, and at meetings
of the Convention's parliamentary members, as proposed by the
Vice-President of the Italian Senate, Lamberto Dini. In this exchange
of information and ideas, the European Parliament's observers
at the Intergovernmental Conference would play a particularly
The role of the national Parliaments in the European
Union must be further strengthened, especially through stronger
controls over their governments' actions in European affairs.
The draft Constitution grants them more opportunities for participation.
In this context, the national Parliaments have a central role
as the guardians of subsidiarity. Through this involvement at
the start of, and throughout, the legislative process, the national
Parliaments will have the opportunity to take on more responsibility,
especially through their scrutiny of the Council's work. Moreover,
it is important to explore how Europe's significance can be underlined
more effectively in the national Parliaments. One option is to
proceed on the basis of the proposal made by René van der
Linden, the Dutch parliamentary representative in the Convention,
that in future, the relevant committees of all the Member States'
national Parliaments and the European Parliament should deliberate
the European Commission's annual work programme in the same week
of sittings. This would reinforce the importance of the Commission's
work and parliamentary scrutiny thereof at national level, and
would also help to enhance democracy in European politics and
therefore encourage the development of a European consciousness.
We are convinced that a key task for the national
Parliaments and the European Parliament in the coming months will
be to promote broad popular approval for and acceptance of the
constitutional process. As the Délégation pour l'Union
Européene and the Committee on the Affairs of the European
Union of the German Bundestag, we therefore propose that the deliberations
and outcomes of the Intergovernmental Conference be dealt with,
as far as possible, in parallel sittings of the Assemblée
Nationale and the German Bundestag.
As part of their close cooperation, the Délégation
pour l'Union Européenne of the Assemblée Nationale
and the Committee on the Affairs of the European Union of the
German Bundestag will continue to engage in an exchange of information
on their positions on the Intergovernmental Conference and hold
joint sittings in order to ensure that the historic project to
establish a constitution for Europe is brought to a successful
Briefing of diplomatic journalists by Foreign Ministry
spokesman Mr. Panagiotis Beglitis:
"The third issue to which I would like
to refer is the progress of negotiations at the Intergovernmental
Conference. You will already know that the proceedings of the
Intergovernmental Conference began with the meeting last Saturday
in Rome. The essential negotiations will be held on the level
of Foreign Ministers at the meetings they will have, as scheduled
by the Italian Presidency, on the margins of the General Affairs
Council, and, of course, the political issues that are not resolved
on the level of Foreign Ministers will go to the level of Heads
of State and Government, the first meeting of whom has been scheduled
by the Italian Presidency on October 16-17, in Brussels.
For us, as stressed by both the Prime Minister and
Foreign Minister, the Draft Constitution Treaty voices the general
balances of the 25. It is a text that we would like to be stronger
in the direction of Federal prospects, but looking at the interrelations
realistically, it is a positive compromise, a positive composition
of individual opinions and proposals. We believe that the general
architecture and structure of the Draft Constitution Treaty must
remain as is, because otherwise we risk opening Pandora's box,
as the Prime Minister said in Rome, with incalculable consequences
for developments in the European Union.
This doesn't mean that the Draft Constitution Treaty
does not require additions, changes, or some clarifications, and
based on this position we will continue the negotiations on the
level of Foreign Minister Mr. Papandreou.
I would like at this point to note two basic issues
that Greece will focus attention on during the negotiations. Two
issues that have already been brought to the attention of the
Italian Presidency, and which were reiterated by Mr. Papandreou
at the evening conference of Foreign Ministers in Rome.
The first issue is the composition of the European
Commission and the responsibilities of Commissioners. We must
say that the Draft Constitution Treaty establishes the principle
of "one Commissioner for every member state". Our concern
and our proposal refer to the issue of the responsibilities of
the Commissioners. We do not agree to the separation of Commissioners
into European Commissioners who will have responsibilities and
will participate in the College, and Commissioners of, let's say,
a second category, to whom ad hoc responsibilities will be given,
and who will not have the right to vote and will not participate
in the College.
Our proposal is that all Commissioners should have
the right to vote and participate in the College. In an attempt
to find a compromise solution on this, given that there is support
for the proposal contained in the Draft Constitution Treaty, our
proposal is that even the Commissioners, the second category of
Commissioners, must have the right to vote on those issues for
which they are made responsible, and to participate in the College
This is an issue in which we are particularly interested
and on which we will focus our negotiating strategy in the coming
The second issue on which we will focus our negotiating
tactics is the issue of the qualified majority. Let me remind
you that in the Draft Constitution Treaty the majority is defined
as consisting of the majority of the Member States, representing
at least three fifths of the population of the European Union.
We believe that the democratic principle of majority is better
expressed - and that possible attempts of a suspending minority
might be averted - by the proposal for a majority of Member States
consisting of a majority of 50% plus 1, of the population of the
With this proposal we are much closer to respecting
the democratic principle of majority, and we will lay great importance
on this during the coming negotiations.
In any case, though, the position of Greece is that
the general balance of the text of the Draft Constitution Treaty
- its general architecture and structure, as I said before - should
not be changed. What is of specific interest to us is that the
negotiations be completed within the timeframe provided, so that
afterwards there will be time for the completion of the processes
of ratification, whether through referendums in the members states,
or through national parliaments, as dictated by national constitutions.
There are two important dates before us in 2004.
One is May 1, 2004, when the ten new members will formally accede
to the European Union, and the other is that of the June 2004
European elections. And for this reason, because of these two
important events in the European Union, we believe that the process
of negotiations on the Draft Constitution Treaty must be completed
soon, so as to avoid any problem with the progress of the European
Union and the formulation of a new institutional and political
Monday, 6 October 2003
The Dutch Foreign Minister and EU Minister on 16
September presented to the House of Commons ("Twede Kamer")
a report on the 'state of the EU' (De staat van de Europese Unie)
which provides background on the Convention and goes through the
text section by section stating which points followed the Dutch
Government's wish and identifies, albeit briefly, those matters
that it wanted included which did not get through to the final
On our Government's firm commitment to unanimity
with regards to Community Own Resource (Art 53.4) the Dutch Government
states: ' it is proposed that the level of Own Resources should
continue to be determined by unanimity, Member State ratification
and European Parliament consultation'. It seems the UK line in
favour of the UK rebate will be supported (for similar support
from the German Bundestag, see above).
The Dutch Government also states that it does not
think a specific date should be given for the end of the IGC,
'the overriding criterium for conclusion of the IGC must be the
quality of the final product' (p.46) - they are content for the
Treaty to be signed in Rome whenever it is agreed.
The Dutch Parliament has not reacted to this statement
(as of 17 September).
RESOLUTION of the Sejm of the Republic Poland of
2nd October 2003 on a Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe
Compliance with the will of the Nation, as expressed
in the referendum on 7th and 8th June 2003, involves Poland's
active participation in de-fining the principles of European co-operation.
We want to take part in the creation of a European Union as a
commonwealth of sovereign states, a Union which combines effective
Community mechanisms with respect for cultures and national identities.
The Sejm of the Republic of Poland sup-ports the preserving of
the principle of unanimity in relation to those issues which affect
vital interests of the Members States.
The objectives of the Convention, specified by the
European Council in Laeken in December 2001, have been mostly
achieved as a result of numerous compromises. The Sejm believes
that the future Constitutional Treaty will provide the basis for
a new and strong Europe, a Europe founded on respect for the values
and rights of every individual in the UE, in which Poland will
assume her rightful place within the family of democratic nations
who share the values of freedom and solidarity.
The Sejm acknowledges great progress made by the
Convention, including, in particular, confirmation of objectives,
missions and values determining the idea and practice of integration
of communities, incorporation of the Charter of Fundamental Rights
into the Treaty, clear specification of competences, simplification
of the system of legal acts and also an increased transparency
and democratisation of the functioning of the Un-ion.
We support the strengthening of the role of the European
Parliament and the extension of its co-decision powers, as well
as an increased role of national parliaments in the control of
the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.
The Sejm supports the Government's position presented
during the debate by the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The Sejm
of the Republic of Poland expects the Polish delegation to the
Intergovernmental Conference to:
-Insist on the incorporation of Christian values
into the Preamble to the Constitutional Treaty;
-Recognise the Atlantic Alliance as the basis of
the European security in the light of new defence initiatives
based on cooptation and competitive to NATO;
-Adhere to the principle of, one state - one commissioner"
and the principle of collective presidency of the Council;
-Refrain from giving consent to the weakening of
Poland's position in the Council of the Union as compared to that
guaranteed by the principles adopted in 2000 in Nice, which were
known to Poles when they voted in the European referendum. We
urge the Government to take a strong position on this issue, and
to use its veto power if our reasons are not convincing to the
Intergovernmental Conference of the European Union.
The Sejm of the Republic of Poland calls on the Government
to include the following phrase in the Treaty establishing a Constitution
for Europe, in Subsection 2: "Aids granted by Member States",
in Article III-56 paragraph 2 subparagraph c: "aid granted
to the economy of certain areas affected by the division of Europe
after the Second World War, insofar as such aid is required in
order to compensate for the economic disadvantages caused by that
Poland's participation in the historic act of European
unification crowns great national efforts made after 1989. Mindful
of our responsibility to future generations, we have to use this
historic chance, and this means that we should be better prepared
for accession and for benefit from our forthcoming membership
of the EU.
FOR MARSHAL [SPEAKER] OF THE SEJM Tomasz Na³êcz
The Swedish Government have made a few comments in
their annual address - but will be publishing a paper 'later'
in the term setting out their full views.
The following excerpt from the address gives a flavour:
"The Intergovernmental Conference on the future
of Europe will open on 4 October. A communication on the Convention
will shortly be presented to the Riksdag. The Government is seeking
broad consensus on the shape of the future constitutional Treaty.
Close consultation will be established with the Riksdag during
the negotiation process. By and large the proposal presented by
the Convention for the division of power between the EU institutions
is a good one. Unanimity should continue to apply to decisions
related to fiscal and defence policies and to major sections of
foreign policy. Sweden will continue to work towards a transparent,
democratic Union which combines a common decision-making process
with voluntary intergovernmental cooperation."
The Parliament has no specific documents on this.
The Swedish government published its view on the
draft Treaty in a 89 page document presented to the Swedish parliament
on 2 October. Overall, the Swedish government is satisfied that
the draft Treaty represents a good basis for a new treaty, it
would make the Union more 'effectiveness, democratic and open'.
The most significant points of the document are:
-The Swedish government suggests removing the general
passerelle clause as having one would, in their view, undermine
parliamentary democracy in Member States.
-The Swedish government is not in favour of a special
-While the Swedish government is generally supportive
of the proposed extensions of QMV, it would not want to see QMV
on tax issues.
-The Swedish government would like to introduce QMV
decision making on asylum and immigration issues (which is not
proposed by the draft Treaty).
-The Swedish government is generally supportive of
the proposed President of the European Council and Union Minister
for Foreign Affairs but maintain that the positions need to defined
-The Swedish government will not support the proposals
for enhanced military co-operation between a small group of member
states or including a mutual defence clause for this group.
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