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Other Acts P6_TA-PROV (2017)0048 (15/02/2017)

Type: Acts of the Council of Europe: European Parliament Resolution on possible evolutions of and adjustments to the current institutional set-up of the European Union

Authority: European Authorities - European Union: European Parliament

Date: 02/15/2017

Subject: The European Parliament is convinced that it is now time for a profound reflection on how to address the shortcomings of the governance of the European Union by undertaking a comprehensive, in-depth review of the Lisbon Treaty; considers that short and medium term solutions can be realised by exploiting the existing Treaties to their full potential in the meantime; ilt notes that the direction of the Union’s reform should lead towards its modernisation by establishing new instruments, new effective European capacities, and by making decision-making processes more democratic, rather than its renationalisation by means of greater intergovernmentalism; it underlines that recent Eurobarometer polling demonstrates that, contrary to popular belief, EU citizens are still fully aware of the importance of, and in support of, genuine European solutions, inter alia in the fields of security, defence and migration; it observes with great concern the proliferation of subsets of Member States undermining the unity of the Union by causing a lack of transparency, as well as diminishing the trust of the people; considers that the suitable format for conducting the discussion regarding the Union’s future is EU-27; it emphasises that the fragmentation of the discussion into various formats or groups of Member States would be counterproductive; it deplores the fact that every time the European Council decides to apply intergovernmental methods and to bypass the ‘Community or Union method’ as defined in the Treaties, this not only leads to less effective policy-making but also contributes to a growing lack of transparency, democratic accountability and control; considers that a differentiated path is conceivable only as a temporary step on the way towards more effective and integrated EU policy making; it Considers it essential in these circumstances to reaffirm the mission of an ‘ever-closer union among the peoples of Europe’ (Article 1 of the TEU) in order to mitigate any tendency towards disintegration and to clarify once more the moral, political and historical purpose, as well as the constitutional nature, of the EU; it suggests that the requirements for establishing enhanced and structured cooperation should be made less restrictive, inter alia by lowering the minimum number of participating Member States; it proposes that the next revision of the Treaties should rationalise the current disorderly differentiation by ending, or at least drastically reducing, the practice of opt-outs, opt-ins and exceptions for individual Member States at EU primary-law level; it recommends that a partnership be defined and developed in order to set up a ring of partners around the EU for states which cannot or will not join the Union, but nevertheless want a close relationship with the EU; it considers that this relationship should be accompanied by obligations corresponding to the respective rights, such as a financial contribution and more importantly respect for the Union’s fundamental values and the rule of law; it believes that the single institutional framework should be preserved in order to achieve the Union’s common objectives and to guarantee the principle of equality of all citizens and Member States; it notes that this new form of partnership could be one of the possible outcomes to respect the will of the majority of the citizens of the United Kingdom to leave the EU; stresses that the withdrawal of the UK, as one of the larger Member States, and as the largest non-euro-area member, affects the strength and the institutional balance of the Union; it Calls for the headquarters of the European Banking Authority and the European Medicines Agency, both currently in London, to be moved to another Member State, given the choice made by the citizens of the United Kingdom to leave the EU; it considers that the common fiscal and economic policy should become a shared competence of the Union and the Member States; it considers that in their current form the Stability and Growth Pact and the ‘no bail-out’ clause (Article 125 of the TFEU) unfortunately do not achieve the intended objectives; believes that the EU must reject the attempts to return to protectionist national politics, and should continue to be an open economy in the future; warns that this cannot be achieved by dismantling the social model; it calls, therefore, for the executive authority to be concentrated in the Commission in the role of an EU Finance Minister, by endowing the Commission with the capacity to formulate and give effect to a common EU economic policy combining macro-economic, fiscal and monetary instruments, backed up by a Eurozone budgetary capacity; it stresses that the development of new and renewable energy resources should be incorporated into the Treaties as a prime objective for both the Union and the Member States; it Notes that the Treaties provide ample means to set up a humane, well-functioning migration management and asylum system, including a European Border and Coast Guard, and welcomes the progress made in this regard; believes, however, that the Treaties, particularly Article 79(5) TFEU, are too restrictive regarding other aspects of migration, especially on the establishment of a genuine European legal migration system; underlines that the future EU migration system must synergise with its foreign aid and its foreign policy, and unify national criteria for granting asylum and access to the labour market; it insists that democratic scrutiny by Parliament is needed on the implementation of border control, agreements with third countries, including cooperation on readmission and return, asylum and migration policies, and that the safeguarding of national security cannot be used as a pretext for circumventing European action; it considers it necessary, in view of the intensity of the terrorist threat, to upgrade the EU’s capacities in the fight against terrorism and international organised crime; stresses that, beyond strengthening coordination between the competent authorities and agencies in the Member States, Europol and Eurojust should receive genuine investigation and prosecution competences and capabilities, possibly by a transformation into a true European Bureau of Investigation and Counter-Terrorism, with due parliamentary scrutiny; Notes that only by enhancing the Common Foreign and Security Policy can the EU provide credible answers to the new security threats and challenges, and thus fight terrorism and bring peace, stability and order to its neighbourhood; it is of the opinion, while reiterating that more progress could and should be made under the terms of the Lisbon Treaty, including use of the provisions to act by qualified majority voting, that the Vice-President / High Representative should be named EU Foreign Minister and be supported in her efforts to become the main external representative of the European Union in international fora, not least at the level of the UN; it considers that the Foreign Minister should be able to appoint political deputies; proposes a review of the functionality of the current European External Action Service, including the need for appropriate budgetary resources; it stresses the need for the swift establishment of a European Defence Union to strengthen the defence of the EU’s territory, which, in strategic partnership with NATO, would enable the Union to act autonomously in operations abroad, mainly with a view to stabilising its neighbourhood and thus improve the EU’s role as guarantor of its own defence and security provider, in accordance with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations; it proposes extending the right of natural and legal persons who are directly and individually affected by an action to bring a case before the ECJ for alleged violations of the Charter of Fundamental Rights either by EU institutions or by a Member State, by amending Articles 258 and 259 TFEU; it recommends the abolition of Article 51 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the conversion of the Charter into a Bill of Rights of the Union; finally, it itself to playing a leading part in these important constitutional developments, and is determined to make its own proposals for Treaty amendment in a timely fashion; it is of the opinion that the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome would be an appropriate moment to start a reflection on the future of the European Union and agree on a vision for the current and future generations of European citizens leading to a Convention with the purpose of making the European Union ready for the decades ahead

Classification: General theme

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