Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/1999-07-22-Speech-4-073"

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"(FR) Madam President, the Cologne Council launched two processes for institutional reform which, to our mind, avoid the fundamental issues. Firstly, it decided to work on a Charter which will bring together citizens" basic rights already in force throughout the Union, but it did not state exactly what legal basis it should end up having, nor what it would add to current legislation. This is an obvious case of propaganda, with the aim of bringing to the table the idea of a European Constitution which would itself legitimise a Super-State ready to be constituted. The second Cologne initiative was the work towards an Intergovernmental Conference on improving institutions with the future enlargement of the European Union in mind. Its mandate has expanded beyond what was foreseen in the first Article of the Protocol on Institutions found in the Annex to the Treaty of Amsterdam, because the Cologne European Council, without consultation, added the option to extend voting to the qualified majority. This solution strikes us as completely unworkable, for in order to prepare for enlargement, we need institutions which are not more rigid but more flexible, and that is why we feel that this mandate for negotiation must be set right by the Helsinki Council. The biggest drawback about the Cologne conclusions is that they made a huge omission. Almost nothing has been learned from the institutional point of view, from the major crisis, prompted last March by the collective resignation of the Commission, as a result of irresponsible management. No amendment to the Treaty was proposed. The possible reforms are being dealt with by the Anti-Fraud Office and by Romano Prodi himself, who told us yesterday that he would be able to resolve almost everything by changing the internal workings of the Commission and by putting forward a Members" Code of Conduct. We are being taken for a ride, because the problems which led to the resignation of the Commission are much more serious. They represent a huge gulf between the Union"s institutions and its citizens, which can only be remedied by reform on a huge scale which would establish a Europe of Nations. By forgetting this, the Cologne Council managed to dodge the question of democracy itself."@en1

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