Konvent zur Zukunft der EU

In den letzten Jahren ist eine Reform der
Europäischen Union und ihrer Verträge aus
verschiedenen Gründen immer dringlicher geworden. Erstens
ist klar geworden, dass bestimmte Probleme im
Entscheidungsprozess der EU nur durch eine Generalrevision der
Institutionen gelöst werden können. Die Erkenntnis,
dass sich diese Probleme mit der Erweiterung noch verschlimmern
würden, trug ebenfalls zur Einsicht in die Notwendigkeit
dieser Reformen bei. Zweitens wurde deutlich, dass zwischen der
EU und ihren Bürgern eine Kluft entstanden war, die
geschlossen werden musste. Die Staats- und Regierungschefs der
EU entschieden daher, dass die Zeit reif war für eine
grundlegende Debatte über die Ziele und Funktionen der EU,
ihrer Verträge und Institutionen.
institutions.

At the Nice summit (France, December 2000), EU leaders paved the way for enlargement of the EU by completing the necessary institutional changes. Nevertheless, it was clear to all that if it was difficult for the 15 Member States to arrive at agreement, enlargement was not going to make things easier and more reforms would be necessary. They therefore called for "a deeper and wider debate about the future of the EU". In an annex to the Nice Treaty entitled "Declaration on the future of the Union", the Swedish and Belgian Presidencies (which respectively held office in the first and second halves of 2001) were encouraged to launch wide-ranging discussions with all interested parties: representatives of national parliaments and all those reflecting public opinion (such as representatives of civil society). 

These discussions would form the ground work for the start of another round of reforms, to be negotiated within a new Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) in 2004. It was also decided that the candidate countries would be closely associated with this process. On 7 March 2001, debates were launched across Europe. 

In June 2001, the European Council in Ghotenburg (Sweden) invited Member States and candidates to summarise the debate at national level and report to successive incoming Presidencies, in preparation for the Laeken European Council. 

At its meeting in Laeken (Belgium) in December 2001, the European Council drew up a Declaration containing appropriate initiatives for the continuation of this process. 

Mandate of the Convention 

 

  • The Nice European Council identified four subjects that particularly need to be addressed: 

    • a more precise 
      delimitation of powers between the EU and the
      Member States

    • the 
      status of the Charter of Fundamental
      Rights

    • the 
      simplification of the EU Treaties

      in order to make them clearer and better
      understood; 

    • the 
      role of national parliaments

      in the European architecture.  

    The "Laeken Declaration" identified a number of additional challenges to be examined by the Convention: 

    • a better 
      division of competences

      : "more Europe" in some fields vs
      "less Europe" in fields better dealt with
      by Member States; 

    • resolving the EU's democratic deficit: how
      to achieve more 
      democracy, transparency and efficiency

    • institutional changes

      : evolution of the Council of Ministers and the
      European Parliament into a bicameral Parliament;
      evolution of the European Commission; 

    • bringing the EU 
      closer to its citizens

    • defining the 
      EU's role in

      an increasingly 
      global environment

    • simplification

      of the EU's political 
      instruments

    • integration of the treaties into one 
      constitutional text

      for the EU.  

    For a more detailed discussion of some of these issues, see: 

    • Overview of the Debate

      : comparing the answers given by some of the most
      important European politicians or personalities to
      some of the above-mentioned issues;

    • The 
      "Laeken Declaration"

      : a list of questions, designed to inspire the
      works of the Convention, on how the EU can be made
      more democratic, transparent and
      efficient.  

  • Composition of the Convention

    :

    At the Laeken summit, the EU leaders
    agreed that the Convention would be composed of
    representatives of the European and national
    parliaments, the European Commission and the
    governments of the Member States. The candidate
    countries and representatives of civil society are to
    be allowed to participate in the Convention as full
    members, without, however, being able to prevent any
    consensus which may emerge among the Member States.
    Detailed overview: 
    Members of the Convention

    .

The Convention's work involves
three phases: 

  • March - 21 June 2002 (Sevilla summit): listening,
    research and the identification of the expectations and
    needs of a "Europe of peoples"; 
  • June - Autumn 2002: making the different
    propositions coherent; analysing their consequences in
    depth; 
  • Autumn 2002 - Spring 2003: comparing the advantages
    and disadvantages of different formulas; the selection
    of one formula or, the articulation of a new
    proposition.  

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