European Greens discuss EU convention
On Thursday, 6 September 2012, the Greens/ European Free Aliance met in the European Parliament in Brussels to discuss the future of the European Union and whether to campaign for an EU convention. On this occasion, Gerald Häfner, President of Democracy International and Green Member of the European Parliament, presented his ideas of an EU convention.
Gerald Häfner opened the discussion on an EU convention emphasizing that an open, broad and democratic debate is the key to regaining citizens’ trust in the European integration project. Article 48 of the Lisbon Treaty (Treaty on European Union) foresaw an EU convention, but it was not exactly defined who should participate in the convention in terms of number, weights and selection procedure. Also, the Lisbon Treaty did not make clear according to which method the convention should proceed. Häfner made the following proposals for an EU convention:
- The EU convention should be initiated now. It needs sufficient time (2-3 years) for its discussions and deliberations.
- The members of the European Parliament and the members of the national parliaments should be elected to become a member of the convention, they should not be delegated. Right from the start, participation by civil society must be encouraged and facilitated.
- The convention should present the preliminary results of its negotiations to the European public. Within six months the European public should debate the proposal. Changes to the proposal should be sent to the convention in the form of amendments.
- Then the convention comes together again to work on and to integrate the reactions by the European public. The convention should revise the preliminary proposal accordingly and submit the final proposal to an intergovernmental conference.
- EU citizens will decide on the final proposal by a European-wide referendum that takes place on the same day in each Member State of the EU. A double majority of citizens and member states must vote in favour of the proposal in order to enter into force as the new treaty of the EU.
Following Mr Häfner’s remarks the Members of the Greens/ European Free Alliance debated the proposal and whether to campaign for an EU convention. Contested issues were if an EU convention should be initiated now or after the elections to the European Parliament in 2014 and if an EU convention was the most important issue for the European Greens.
Text by Cora Pfafferott