Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2002-05-15-Speech-3-160"

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"Mr President, I thank Mr Solana for his extremely interesting statement. But reading between the lines, as one should, it is fairly clear that not much progress is being made to reform the Council. Perhaps it is quite unrealistic to think that there could be progress before the problems are dramatised with the presence of 25 or so ministers at the table. But, frankly, I find it extraordinary that Mr Solana and Mr Blair and several others can float the idea of creating an executive committee formed out of the Council presidency without referring to the role of the European Commission. It would be best to be blunt here. The imposition of a board of directors of the Council would steal the Commission's right of initiative and destroy its critical role in identifying and expressing the common interests of all the Member States. It is only the Commission that can ensure the equality of all the states. As to the question of the presidency, no debate could be complete without considering whether it would be the proper thing, in the end, to let the Commission chair the ordinary meetings of the Council, while letting Mr Solana chair the Foreign Affairs Council, preserving the routine six-month circus for the European Council itself. That might be the most appropriate approach to ensuring tight coordination and continuity within the Council. Finally, we should refer to the Byzantine tangle of comitology. The efficiency of the Union will be greatly improved as soon as the Commission is granted sufficient executive authority to act without the constant interference of the Council. So reform has much further to travel before the Convention will be satisfied that we have grappled satisfactorily with all the important questions."@en1

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