“We need to simplify our work and clarify our goals,” Macron said. “Current rules and agreements are not intended to deal with the current and future historical crisis.” If it were up to the French president, member states would relinquish power, for example, by abolishing their foreign policy veto, and Brussels would give new powers. France, which currently holds the EU presidency, wants to discuss the idea of a deal at the EU leaders’ summit in June.
A majority of MEPs already voted for an agreement last week. On Monday, Brussels also supported the idea. “I am happy with this proposal. Let us all work on this together. Without taboos, without ideological red lines,” said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
European treaties define what the European Union is about and how decisions are made. Changing these rules usually means a years-long negotiation process. Ultimately all Member States and Parliaments must agree.
Usually such a major renewal begins with the conclusion of an agreement. Member states and EU institutions will gather all thoughts on reforms during such a meeting. No agreement has been concluded since the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon (2009).
EU institutions use the Conference on the Future of Europe, a complex meeting circus in which citizens are given a year to discuss the future of the European Union, as the main reason. On Monday, Europe Day, dozens of proposals and hundreds of recommendations were formally delivered to EU leaders. Many ideas run counter to existing EU treaties.
The existence of an agreement depends on the member states. The majority must support the meeting. Germany and Italy support the idea of amending the treaty, and the Netherlands does not reject it in advance. But according to Politico, ten other member states are now trying to rally support against the proposal. They believe that the European Parliament is using the Citizens’ Conference to expand power at the expense of member states.
The previous agreement, which resulted in the birth of a European constitution, shocked Brussels. In the Netherlands, among other countries, the constitution was rejected by referendum. Several proposals eventually made it into the Treaty of Lisbon, but the term “constitution” disappeared.
Macron also put forward his own idea on Monday to create a “European political community”. A kind of EU light where there is room for countries like Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. We also welcome former members of the European Union – he did not mention the UK by name – to work together on energy, security and freedom of movement. The French head of state emphasized that Ukraine’s accession to the European Union would take years, if not decades.
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