While Cameron clearly struggles to set out a detailed “vision” for the future of Europe, here in Brussels the “Spinelli Group of MEPs” launches their vision for a new European Treaty. The Spinelli Group was formed to promote European federalism (i.e. integration, in Brussels-speak). It is not some minor outfit of euro-extremists, but a substantial group with extensive membership. Their vision has every chance of being adopted in large part by the EU institutions.
If you think you’re pro-EU, and keen to stay in the Union, this is the future you have to look forward to. A driving force behind the project is our own Andrew Duff, a prominent and long-serving Lib-Dem MEP. On a personal level, he’s a very courteous and agreeable chap. Indeed, he sent me at my request the attached summary of the Spinelli Group proposals.
In the name of European unity and democracy, this passionate group of federalist MEPs has proposed a new “Fundamental Law” for the EU. They mean, of course, a Constitution, but they are frightened of the word lest someone calls for a referendum, which they know they would lose. Read, and be amazed. The emphases are mine.
1. ‘Ever closer union’ defined as federal union of states and citizens deriving legitimacy from popular sovereignty.
2. Constitutions of EU states must respect EU values.
3. Commission becomes the EU government, appointed by and answerable to the legislature of Council and Parliament.
4. Limited right of legislative initiative to Council and Parliament.
5. European Council redefined as the lead formation of the Council of Ministers.
6. Rotating Council presidency abolished: each formation elects its own chair.
7. Commission becomes smaller, nominated by its President.
8. Certain number of MEPs elected in pan-EU constituency on transnational lists.
9. Wide extension of ordinary legislative procedure.
10. Widen jurisdiction of Court of Justice.
11. Easier access for citizens to Court of Justice.
12. Ending rigid unanimity for future treaty change and entry into force.
13. Ending opt-outs in justice and home affairs.
14. Creation of an associate membership.
15. EU tax revenue to finance EU spending.
16. Additional budget for the Eurozone.
17. Common economic policy focussed on sustainable growth.
18. Fiscal solidarity to complement fiscal discipline.
19. New powers for European Parliament in economic and employment policy.
20. National parliaments get a say in excessive deficit procedure.
21. Wider powers for the European Central Bank.
22. Permit sharing of sovereign debt under strict conditionality.
23. Lifting prohibition on approximation of national laws.
24. Modernisation of common policies.
25. Right of assent for (the EU) Parliament on all international agreements.
Francesca Salierno works for Roger Helmer MEP in his Brussels office.