NOTAT er lukket som medie. Alle aktiviteter er flyttet over i Demokrati i Europa Oplysningsforbundet (DEO), hvor vi viderefører arbejdet med kritisk folkeoplysning og journalistik om EU, demokrati og Europa.
Det sidste gælder forslagene om at inddrage de nationale parlamenter, og gennemføre mere åbenhed i Ministerrådet. I Nice-traktaten står en protokol 9 om de nationale parlamenters rolle og deres COSAC-samarbejde. Der står at EU bør høre på dem. Den franske regering foreslår nu i al sin enkelhed at Kommission, Råd og Parlament i EU skal udforme en erklæring om at de faktisk vil høre på de nationale parlamenter.
Åbenhed i Ministerrådet kan gennemføres fuldt ud og kræver hverken Nicetraktat eller EU-forfatning, fordi der er tale om Ministerrådets egen forretningsorden. Her er udspillet dog meget tyndt med kun tre linier om »bestræbelserne« der »må fortsætte«.
Et tættere samarbejde imellem eurolandene for at løse euroens problemer ligger også inden for Nice-traktaten, og er mest et spørgsmål om politisk vilje.
Til sidst er der tilbage en plan om at opgradere den nuværende udenrigspolitiske repræsentant, Javier Solana, til en egentlig EU-udenrigsminister med embedsapparat bag sig. Det er der ikke noget retsgrundlag for i dag, det står beskrevet i EU-forfatningen.
Det franske udspil gengiver vi her i en engelsk oversættelse.
More effective institutions
The bridging clause in Article 42 of the TEU could be implemented. This provides that “The Council, acting unanimously on the initiative of the Commission or a Member State, and after consulting the European Parliament, may decide that action in areas referred to in Article 29 [police and judicial cooperation in criminal law; combating racism and xenophobia] shall fall under Title IV of the Treaty establishing the European Community, and at the same time determine the relevant voting conditions relating to it”.
The application of this clause would thus enable European action to be made more effective in the area of internal security and justice (extension of qualified majority voting, actions for infringement of Treaty obligations), particularly for preventing and combating terrorism, organised crime and the phenomena on which the latter feeds (drugs, trafficking in human beings, etc.).
This decision should of course take into account the ruling of the Court of Justice on 13 September 2005 1 which recognised that the Community legislature has the power to take measures relating to the criminal law of the Member States in order to ensure that the rules it lays down are fully effective. In this respect, the procedural arrangements approved by the Council on 21 February 2006 must be fully adhered to in order to ensure the coherence of actions in criminal law at European level, thanks most notably to the central role assigned to the Justice and Home Affairs Council.
There is room for progress to improve the effectiveness and coherence of external action, whether this relates to the conducting of such action or the EU’s external representation.
To that end, the following measures might be considered:
- in Brussels, the development of joint meetings between the SG/HR and commissioners in the RELEX family; the systematic setting up of "task forces" common to the GSC and the Commission, for civil/military cooperation for example;
- in the field, rationalisation of Europe’s presence (for example, by merging the offices of Commission delegate and EU Special Representative, along the same lines as those adopted for FYROM; more systematic organisation of joint evaluation and fact-finding missions);
- both at headquarters and in non-EU countries, an intensification of exchanges of civil servants between the Commission and the General Secretariat of the Council, as well as Member States;
- a strengthening of the communication function in order to raise awareness and highlight the external action of the EU.
A reinforcement of the coherence of external action also means that significant progress must be made in establishing a capacity to respond to crisis situations that is rapid, effective and coherent. Several contributions are expected between now and June which should enable the European Council to take the appropriate decisions.
The European Council meeting of 23-24 March 2006 stressed “the necessity of effective policy coordination within this area, i. a. as a requirement to more effectively deal with asymmetric economic developments within the monetary union” 2. In this spirit and following on from the advances made since the informal meeting in Mondorf-les-Bains in September 2004, reflection should be commenced without delay on how to enhance the functioning of the euro zone and put more effective policy coordination in place:
- by ensuring greater coherence in the work on the budget through increased effort to synchronise European and national calendars (intensification of joint upstream discussions on draft finance laws, presentation of stability programmes in April instead of December) and by encouraging the Member States in the euro zone to choose to apply common external macroeconomic assumptions;
- by identifying more precisely the domains in which there is a specific need for coordination in the euro zone other than on questions of economic policy (e.g. structural reforms, NRPs, tax, etc.);
- by raising the profile and influence of the euro zone in the International Financial Institutions (for example, more systematic participation of the Chair of the Eurogroup in meetings).
More democratic and transparent institutions
Application of Articles 42 of the Treaty on European Union and 137(2) of the Treaty establishing the European Community would strengthen the prerogatives of the European Parliament in its capacity as co-legislature.
The conclusion of the review of Decision 468/1999 on comitology will also help in this by providing the European Parliament with powers of scrutiny over “quasi-legislative” implementing measures taken on the basis of acts adopted under the codecision procedure.
The current mechanism could be improved by a commitment from the institutions to take due account of the opinions issued by COSAC, for example in a joint declaration by the Commission, the Council and the European Parliament.
Following on from the Conclusions of 20 December, efforts aimed at improving the transparency of Council proceedings must be continued and further measures envisaged, including where applicable a revision of the Council’s Rules of Procedure.
1 Case C-176/03 Commission / Council
2 Cf. Paragraph 14 of the Presidency Conclusions.