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Push On With Change In EU, Says Head Of The Parliament

  • June 20th, 2008
  • Posted by 7thmin

pottering-2008.jpgThe President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pottering, has lined up with leaders of the EU insisting its planned reform treaty is set to go ahead – despite a knock-back by voters in Ireland, one of the Union’s 27 member countries.


Mr Pottering was speaking near the end of the first session of this week’s summit of European heads of government, at Brussels.


He admitted that work on the treaty, to simplify the laws and decision-making of the European Treaty, had received a hard set-back, so that fresh negotiations on it would run into 2009.


However it had been worked through already by the 27 governments, which had all accepted it, and 19 had gone to the final stage of ratification.


He believed that the objections of Ireland, the only county to commit the new law to a popular vote, could be “accommodated”.


It was not clear how, though there were no reasons to support the idea of each member country keeping a permanent member on the executive European Commission — which had been mentioned as a concession to small countries.


He was asked by EUAustralia Online, whether a crisis of confidence had set in, with members of the general public in Europe, sceptical about the EU.


“We are in a difficult situation; it’s not the first time, and it’s an ongoing responsibility of politicians to get the confidence and get the trust of the people”, he said.


“But it’s a two-way road as well, and we have to work; the politicians, the media and the citizens, to improve the credibility of political actions. We all have to make a contribution to this. This is our democratic responsibility and we have to work hard. I can say for most of my colleagues in the European Parliament they’re working very hard for the idea.”


Question: “Will you get this treaty?”


“I am confident we will get this treaty but it’s hard work and we will only get it if we work together in the European Union – in the member states, and the institutions, and do it on the basis of goodwill.”


The President of the European Parliament said that although unexpected, it had become possible that the treaty project would fail.


A result of that would be that no more countries could be admitted to membership, except perhaps one of the current applicants, Croatia.


The controversial application by Turkey would be sure to fail in such a case.


(The proposed Turkish membership is unpopular in many parts of Europe and has been seen as a “sleeper” issue motivating voters to oppose any changes that would open the EU to further expansion).




Picture: Hans-Gert Pottering, EU summit. 19.6.08