Europe ‘too dependent’ on Russian gas says von der Leyen
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The proposals made to and accepted by Brussels chiefs come after months of consultations with EU citizens for the Conference on the Future of Europe. The project was set up to provide recommendations to EU leaders on how to change and improve the EU.
But among the proposals, EU Parliament chiefs appear to have approved recommendations on Treaty changes in an attempt to gain more power over decision-making procedures.
The changes would see the unanimity requirement scrapped on key decisions, leaving member states unable to veto new legislation.
The move was backed by French President Emmanuel Macron who said he wanted more majority votes for certain European Union (EU) policy areas, and that there was a need to reform EU texts in order to become more effective.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also backed the idea.
She said: “I have always argued that unanimity voting in some key areas simply no longer makes sense if we want to be able to move faster.
“Or that Europe should play a greater role for example in health or defence.”
European Union citizens would like the 27-nation bloc to become fairer, show greater solidarity, lead the fight against climate change and make swifter decisions, even if it means scrapping the need for unanimity on some issues, an EU report showed.
But in a bid to stop such proposals to be ratified, 12 states published a non-paper demanding they are scrapped.
The document said: “While we do not exclude any options at this stage, we do not support unconsidered and premature attempts to launch a process towards Treaty change.
“We already have a Europe that works. We do not need to rush into institutional reforms in order to deliver results.”
Commenting on the move, think tank Facts4eu.org wrote President Macron’s plans were “marooned”.
They added: “The growing opposition to the proposed ending of national vetoes in the EU’s institutions shows a deep divide within the EU. Small nations are gathering momentum with more countries – such as Hungary – likely to join the group opposing the moves being led from the European Parliament and arch-federalists like Guy Verhofstadt.
“All of this is happening at a time when the Danish people are deciding if they will give up Denmark’s opt-out from involvement in the EU’s common foreign and defence policies at a referendum to be held on 01 June.
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“The difficulty in obtaining consent to change the treaties that establish how the EU operates will not stop the Commission’s attempts to make the changes. It simply means that new ways of working without treaty change will be attempted so that national referenda do not get in the way of the push to federalisation.
“The original problems of rejection to treaties in the past – even by the French electorate – has been avoided by either repeating the votes until ‘the right result’ was obtained or changing the title so the proposal is not called a treaty.
“This rumbling dispute will continue while there is division within the EU over dealing with the Ukraine war and undoubtedly over the Northern Ireland Protocol which is expected to erupt next week.
“With the UK Government establishing greater bilateral links with Sweden and Finland, the propensity for a divided EU continues to grow, making its hopes for becoming a strategic world power all the more unlikely to be realised.”
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