Thursday, 28 June 2007

PROPOSED EU CONSTITUTION 99% UNCHANGED


BRIEFING FROM JENS-PETER BONDE MEP, FORWARDED TO YOU BY ANTHONY COUGHLAN, DUBLIN

Bonde’s Briefing – June 26, 2007

The new treaty – 99 % the same as the rejected constitution The committee on constitutional affairs in the European Parliament met Monday and Tuesday to welcome the result of the summit in Brussels last week.

We have salvaged 99 %, said Alexander Stubb, Finnish conservative, co-coordinator of the biggest political group in the EP (EPP-ED), and former civil servant participating in three different intergovernmental conferences.

I asked him about the 1 % missing. He admitted it was only the name. The number and art of legal acts which can be based on the rejected constitution is the same as those who can be approved by the new text.

Quotes from the debate:
Most speakers talked honestly the same way as Stubb. Here are some quotes:

“We kept the substance of the Constitution.”
– Jo Leinen, Chairman of the Constitutional Committee (PSE)

“We have the same thing, but we regressed for transparency and clearness.”
– Enrique Barón Crespo (PSE)

“It’s incredible to see all what they slipped under the carpet!”
– Gérard Onesta (VERTS/ALE)

“Formally, it’s not a constitution, but it’s a big step towards the constitution.”
– Carlos Carnero (PSE)

“Technical reforms and democratic reforms have been rescued.”
– Richard Corbett (PSE)

“Our political union finally a Constitution!”
– Johannes Voggenhuber, vice-chairman of the Constitutional Committee (VERTS/ALE)

“All the Constitution is there! Nothing is missing!”
– Jean-Louis Bourlanges (ALDE) (in the radio programme “Esprit public” sunday 24.06.07 at France Culture)

A defence for Poland

I regretted the Polish mentioning of the Second World War, but fully supported their position in the negotiations. The only thing Poland is guilty of is putting forward a Swedish proposal from the negotiations on the Amsterdam Treaty. It was originally drafted by a British mathematician, Penrose, and distributes seats according to the square root of the number of citizens in each member state.

It is not an easy formula to sell, but the result would be much easier to use. Germany would have 9 votes, Poland 6. Today Poland has 27 votes and Germany 29. The Polish proposal would be a gift from Poland to 21 member states who did not dare to raise their own interests against the charming iron-chancellor.

I have suggested a simplified version offering 6 votes to Germany, 5 for UK, Italy and France, 4 for Poland etc. Then there would only be 97 votes in total. Most people would be able to know the numbers by heart.
Our minority proposal from the convention is the most simple and fairest formula: one vote for each member state in the council and simple majority in the European Parliament.

The new double majority will give the power in the EU to Germany which will have 15 times as much influence as my country, Denmark. I have produced an overview to judge on different alternatives.

Report to call for an intergovernmental conference The European Parliament is now discussing a draft report on the approval of an intergovernmental conference to be opened under the Portuguese presidency on July 23.
The president of the constitutional committee, Jo Leinen, German SPD, is the rapporteur. The European Parliament will, have 3 seats in the IGC probably going to the 3 biggest political groups.
I proposed that one of the seats should go to an MEP who will defend referendums and inform the non-represented groups after each meeting in the IGC and the technical groups.
Tomorrow between 15:00-17:00 the German Chancellor Merkel will visit the Parliament formally presenting the results of the Summit to the MEPs.

Sign for a referendum at www.x09.eu
6 proponents of the constitution and 4 opponents from 7 different groups in the European Parliament have sent an open letter to the German chancellor asking for a referendum on the result of the coming negotiations on the next treaty.

Together with Diana Wallis, liberal vice president of the European Parliament, I am responsible for a special website. Go to www.x09.eu and sign the petition for a referendum. Send the link to your friends. Put the banner on your own website. Spread the campaign – ask the peoples of Europe on the renamed constitution.