In three separate reports, the European Parliament has today called for the EU’s treaties to be fully exploited to achieve a more effective European Union. The reports were authored by MEPs from Conservatives, Social Democrats and Liberals. Bresso and Brok, Beres and Böge as well as Verhofstadt, who compromised their texts with Green shadow rapporteurs. Parliament’s reports provide a rich source of ideas for discussion at the summit of Heads of State and Government on the 60th anniversary of the EU in March. A clear pro-European majority wants to make the EU more viable by replacing unanimity with majority voting. They call for a more democratic union with a stronger Parliament and seek greater solidarity and tougher rules to help ensure the EU is crisis-proof. Conservatives split over how much transfers between countries they want to allow. Therefore, the vote was surprisingly narrow. The Verhofstadt report, calling for changes to the EU’s treaties, received 283 votes, with, 269 MEPs opposed and 83 abstentions. The Bresso-Brok report on further integration within the current treaties was adopted with a more comfortable 329 vote to 223, with 83 abstentions.
Sven Giegold, spokesperson for the German Greens in the European Parliament and deputy member of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, said:
“We must reform Europe before it’s too late. The European Parliament has sent a clear call to national governments to form a coalition of the willing. The Council of the Member States must be more effective and transparent. The paralyzing principle of unanimity should be replaced as far as possible by majority voting. More transparency about the work of the Council would increase the pressure to make progress in difficult areas. Effectively managing migration and ensuring tax justice is possible but may mean moving ahead, if necessary, without individual blocking countries. Europe should no longer be stalled by individual countries.
Europe is only strong when we pull together. The right answer to crises and populists is not for everyone to go alone but a strengthening of common European interests and institutions. The long-term objective must be to transform the Commission into an executive arm: the Government of the EU. The Council of the Member States should become second chamber, equal and in addition to the European Parliament. Both chambers should be allowed to propose their own laws.
Whether Le Pen in France or Grillo in Italy, anti-Europeans use the lack of solidarity in the eurozone to blame the EU. The experience in many EU Member States shows that there can be no common currency without a common budget. The euro can only survive if there is an ordinary eurozone budget for joint investment and fiscal transfers. The EU Commission must have the courage to submit a corresponding legislative proposal. We need joint investment, financed by common taxation and a fight against tax dumping, administered by an EU-Finance Minister.”