The European summit of Foreign Ministers held in Naples last weekend resolved some of the still outstanding problems of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC). But it still left open the thorny question of how to calculate the majority within the Council, in other words the weighting that each member state has in the EU when it comes to voting. The final decisions have now been deferred to the EU summit in Brussels in mid-December, which will also have the last word on unanimous vote in some key sectors (foreign policy, tax), on the composition of the Commission (one member per state), and on the distribution of seats in the European Parliament. In view of this important deadline that will close the six months’ Italian Presidency of the EU, before passing the reins to Ireland, we have reviewed the situation with Spanish MEP José María Gil-Robles Gil-Delgado. Deputy of the European People’s Party, member of the office of the presidency of the EPP group, member of the EP’s commissions for the internal market and for constitutional affairs, Gil-Robles was president of the Assembly from 1997 to 1999. In a week’s time the European Council will draw the conclusions of the work of the IGC regarding the future constitutional Treaty. Will the EU “Magna Charta” be signed before the elections to the EP in June? “I think so. We should be in time to respect this important deadline, also because delaying this decision would only serve to make every negotiation, and the very future of the EU, more complicated”. How do you assess the results so far achieved by the IGC? What are the positive, and what the negative aspects? “First, I would say that the IGC has still not achieved any official result. There is, indeed, a lot still to be done. If I were to point out one positive aspect of the work so far, I would refer to the new draft of “structured cooperation” in the area of defence. One negative aspect I would point out is the suppression of the legislative Council called for in the Convention’s draft”. In recent weeks Ecofin has taken steps, first, to limit the powers of the European Parliament in budgetary approval, and then to reject the procedures prescribed by the Commission against France and Germany for excessive deficit… “Ecofin made a mistake in the two decisions to which you refer, the one concerning Parliament and the other more directly the Commission. It seems to me that its members failed to recognise that Europe needs more democracy in terms of the budget and definite rules for the economic and monetary union”. Rules, currency… But to construct Europe are there no other roads to pursue but these? “No, we also need to aim at gradual social and cultural integration, especially with reference to the EU’s approaching enlargement to ten other countries. I think we’re on the right road”. John Paul II has repeatedly recalled the importance of citing the Christian heritage in the future constitutional Treaty. But, in your view, will the Christian roots find a place in the preamble to the Constitution? “It does not seem to me that it is either right or appropriate to ignore the history of Europe. In any case it should be said that even if this reference is inserted, it must be clear that today there is no direct correspondence between European identity and religious identity. So the motto of the future Europe is right: unity in diversity”. ———————————————————————————————————– Sir Europa (English) N.ro assoluto : 1 N.ro relativo : 84 Data pubblicazione : 04/12/2003
Interview with José Gil-Robles Gil-Delgado" "