Draft proposal for the political position of the Green Group in the EP On the intergovernamental conference in 1996
Apr 1, 1995, Langer FoundationIn the Treaty of European Union it is stated that in 1996 an Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) will be called in order to review some procedures and policies introduced in Maastricht.
According to art. N, all member states or the Commission can put forward proposals to modify the Treaty; the Council, having consulted the EP, decides to convene an Intergovernmental Conference, composed by the representatives of all member states, who should negotiate and adopt unanimously all modifications; in order to be implemented, such modifications have to be ratified by all member states.
In occasion of the European Summit that took place in Corfu in June 1994, it was decided that a "reflection group" be set up in june 1995 in Messina to prepare the 1996 IGC.
It is already obvious that in 1996 the IGC will not be limited to revising the few points mentioned in the Treaty. Decisions must now be reached without delay on the objectives of the Union and institutional solutions must be found capable of guaranteeing that the Union is governable and democratic.
Greens consider that 1996 should be the occasion of the positive relauching of the democratic process of european integration and of the reorientation of its founding principles from the pure economic integration to peace, better quality of life, sustainable development, democracy and protection of human rights.
It should be the occasion for european peoples to understand, to participate in and approve this process: but to achieve this goal it has to be clear why we are building Europe for and what we should change in the present structure of the Union.
B. AN INTERGOVERNEMENTAL CONFERENCE IS NOT ENOUGH: THE ROLE OF THE EP AND OF NATIONAL PARLIAMENTS
1. Long before the disappointing conclusion of the Intergovernmental Conferences which led to the signature in Maastricht of the Treaty on European Union, Greens drew the attention to the inadequacy of intergovernmental conferences as a method for achieving a democratic European Union: the negative reactions of public opinion to a remote, technocratic Europe present a real danger of reversal of the integration process and a return to nationalism based on the nation state.
Today, despite widespread awareness of the state of crisis in the process of European integration, the growing divisions between the Member States on the Union's future and the risks of Community policies being re-nationalized and the strong trend towards a further enlargement which will double the number of members of the Union within a few years, the revision of the Maastricht Treaty is being approached with the same method used in the Intergovernmental Conference held in 1991.
European Greens want to foster a greater participation of peoples and political as well as social forces to the debate on the Treaty revision.
If the governements will try again to impose on the peoples a technocratic, inefficient and non-democratic Europe, they will refuse it.
2. The method to be used in revising the Treaty is therefore a kind of preliminary question: Greens consider that there is an urgent need for the procedure to revise the Maastricht Treaty to meet the criteria of democracy and transparency and question the legimacy of a diplomatic conference to decide on the new Treaty.
On the basis of these general considerations, we propose a modification of art. N of the Maastricht Treaty which respects the elementary rules of democracy and transparency, guarantees a degree of effectiveness by overcoming the thorny problem of unanimity and at the same time allows the governments of the Member States to take their individual national interests into account, without this becoming the sole criterion in the negotiations; Art. N must be amended introducing the power of initiative for the EP, as is now the case for the governments and the Commission; a co-decision procedure between the Council and the European Parliament for the drafting of the proposals to be submitted for ratification by the Member States; detailed rules for its entry into force which should provide for the possibility of adoption by a majority in the event of it being impossible to reach unanimity in the ratifications.
3. All this obvously applies to the future, to the text which will emerge from the 1996 IGC.
The 1996 revision will be carried out under the present system, even though it is not impossible to imagine that in the event of fundamental opposition or reluctance, the 'dogma' of unanimity may be discarded. But it is not enough to merely stand by and wait to see whether the obstacle of unanimity is overcome as a result of a breakdown in consensus in the Intergovernmental Conference, in the hope that this will lead to the reform we hope for. It is necessary to take steps to ensure that as of 1996 there is a revision method which, whilst applying the formal procedure laid down in the Maastricht Treaty, respects the above-mentioned principles of democracy and transparency.
We have to ensure that the representative instances of the peoples, the EP and the national parliaments, are fully involved in the process of reform; we have to operate for an open public "constitutional" debate throughout Europe so that political forces and other actors of the society can be integrated in the definition of the future of Europe.
In order to move towards a more transparent and open process of revision in 1996 we propose that the EP, the Commission and the governments of the Member States draw up and sign a solemn interinstitutional agreement which, in accordance with the co-decision principle introduced by the Maastricht Treaty, declares the equal status of the representatives of all the citizens of the European Union (the EP) and the representatives of the governments of the Member States (IGC) in the procedures involved in revising the Treaty.
4. As to the role of national parliaments, everybody now recognizes the importance of greater involvement of the national parliaments in the monitoring of the activities of their respective governments at European level and in the drawing up of the basic rules for the organization of the Union and of its objectives. At the same time, however, we are still convinced that the expression of democratic legitimacy at European level exists and that it must be reinforced, and that we should not encourage the tendencies in certain Member States towards resolving the 'democratic deficit' by assigning to national parliaments the legislative and monitoring role which should belong to the European Parliament.
In this context, the convening of a Conference of Parliaments of the Community before and after the Intergovernmental Conference, close contacts and the exchange of information and documents with the specialized bodies of nationalized parliaments are the most realistic and judicious ways of ensuring both respect for the various prerogatives of the assemblies representing the citizens of Europe and a broad and open debate and comparative consideration of the major decisions concerning Europe's future.
B. CHANGE THE UNION TO MAKE IT SUITABLE FOR ENLARGEMENT
1. In 1957, only six countries, ratified the Treaty of Rome: their main objective, along with the establishment of a lasting peace, was to ensure economic growth and to constitute a stronghold of the West in the Cold War.
Today, the situation is completely different.
We know that endless economic development will lead the planet to its end and that productivity growth is not able to solve the problem of unemployment. The cold war is finished, but violent confrontations and conflicts are occurring in the very heart of Europe, due to the rise of new nationalism and localism revendications and to the fragility of the new democracies in Easter Europe.
Moreover, the European integration is no more a business of some happy rich countries.
There could be 28 members in the Union of the 21th century. This is the background of the 1996 IGC; these are the reasons why Maastricht has to be overcome and deeply changed.
Greens are in favour of the enlargement of the Union. It must be open to all European States which are ready to join it. This pan-European approach is one of the most basic principles of the European Greens. Only in this way will it be possible to prevent new borders from being drawn between the European Union and the rest of Europe.
2. Greens speak out in favour of handling requests for membership of all candidate countries in the same way, regardless of their individual size, strategic importance and economic strength. The only condition for membership should be that these countries are consolidated democracies and respect human rights and the rights of minorities.
But parallel to the enlargement of the European Union, there must also be increased democratisation and a reform of the decision-making process within the EU. In a Community of 20 or more States, the qualified and double majorities in the Council and the Co-decsion of the EP must be the basis of the legislative process, and a veto right for individual States should be possible only for a limited time..
Moreover, enlargement of the EU will have to be based on an explicit will of european peoples to be solidaire with Eastern and Central european countries because it will mean more funding from the EU budget to provide a social cushion and assistance for them. This funding would have to be at increase substantially from the current 1.2% of the EU GDP. Explicit approval for this kind of effort aimed at ensuring an appropriate social reform and greater solidarity and cohesion would require greater acceptance of the EU itself by Europe's citizens; this is another important reason to make the Union more accessible to people and more democratic.
3. It must be possible - especially for Eastern European countries desiring EU membership - to become full members of the Union without taking on immediately all of the legislation on the internal market. During a substantial transitional period, it should be possible in areas like agriculture to open the Community market to these countries unilaterally, while maintaining protective measures for the EU's own economy. An immediate extension of the internal market would have a disastrous effect on the development of local economic structures in these countries. It is obvious that these countries will not be able to meet the convergence criteria for Monetary Union in the near future, even with the strictest of budgetary policies and even if it were possible to cushion the ecological and social consequences.
4. The question of enlargement also calls to the concrete solution of an increasingly important question, that is to say the organisation of a "flexible integration" derived from the fact that not all member states can or want to accept in all its parts the obligation of integration.
Firstly, we have to set the limit below which it is no longer a question of organizing 'differentiated integration' but the withdrawal from the Union and thus the exit right of one or more member states from the Union. Such state or states could, within a deadline to be specified, decide whether to join the Union with the new rules or to leave it, whilst maintaining a close relationship with it.
The definition of the limits of a flexible integration is not insignificant, especially in view of further enlargement. For example, and as mentioned above, the countries of Eastern Europe which may join in the relatively near future might not immediately be able to accept all the obligations inherent in economic and monetary integration and should be given the possibility to progressively adapting themselves.
In this respect, although a certain degree of flexibility is possible and desirable in carrying out the Union's policies, all the Member States should adhere to the political agenda and the Union's objectives, accept that every derogation and exception has a time limit and respect the unique nature of the Union's institutional system.
As regards states which do not wish to take part in the Union's further progress the way recommended in the 1984 draft still seems the most sensible.
In article 82 of the Union Treaty adopted in 1984, explicit provision was made for a procedure according to which 'the governments of the Member States which have ratified shall meet at once to decide by common accord on the procedures and the date on which this Treaty shall enter into force and on relations with the Member States which have not yet ratified.
Consideration should be given to a better way of calculating the 'critical mass' and a more precise definition of the consequences of non-ratification, which should not necessarily mean leaving the system definitively, although it should also not prevent the other members from proceeding.
But how can the Union enlarge withoput collapsing?
What are the major changes to be done in 1996?
Here are the Greens proposals to get nearer to a green Europe in 1996.
1* A CLEAR COMMITTMENT TO SOCIAL AND ECOLOGICAL CONVERSION
2* A SUITABLE COMMON FOREIGN PEACE AND SECURITY POLICY
3* AN ADEQUATE PROTECTION OF EUROPEAN CITIZENS AND RESIDENTS RIGHTS.
4. DEMOCRATIC AND EFFICIENT INSTITUTIONS
1* SUSTAINABILITY NEEDS Europe's COMMITTMENT TO SOCIAL AND ECOLOGICAL RECONVERSION
a. New "sustainable" goals for the Union
Social and ecological questions are not addressed in the present discussions on the revision of the Maastricht Treaty and the completion of the EMU. So after the failure of the Berlin Conference on climate protection the European Union seems to miss again the opportunity to free the way for Europe's development towards sustainability.
The European Commission correctly argued in its White Book on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment for the need to pass over to a new economic model of sustainable development, but so far nothing has been done. Ecological, social and feminist reconversion of our industrial societies should become the leading goal of economic and political cooperation between the EU and other European states as well as for the process of European integration itself. In our view the conferences on the revision of the Maastricht Treaty needs an alternative agenda in order to combine progress in the integration of eastern and southern European states with structural changes in the European Union to reach the common goal of sustainable development and social justice.
With regard to the European Union, it should enlarge its catalogue of goals (Chapter 1 of the Union Treaty) towards sustainable development (the Environmental Union), social progress (the Social Union), women's emancipation, full employment with equal distribution of work between men and women, a socially just distribution of incomes and wealth as well as the promotion of a socialecological world economy.
To foster progress on sustainable development, to put the Single Market under strict environmental and social regulations is of strategic importance. Sustainability and environmental protection as well as social regulations should be mentioned as aims of the Single Market that modify the four "basic freedoms" of free movement of capital, commodities, services and persons (articles 3 c and 8a). The principle of common minimumstandards for environmental protection on a high level as to enable sustainability in all member states must be fixed in the treaty provisions on the Single Market and the protection of the environment. In all processes falling under harmonisation environmental protection must be incorporated as a higher goal as free competition, allowing member states to impose measures also on a national level that go beyond the EUenvironmental minimumstandards (articles 36 and 100 a).
To complete structural reforms of the Treaty to orient it towards sustainability, the goals of the common policies of the European Community need to be altered. Sustainability and social justice must become the main criteria for the cohesionpolicies, industrial policy and Research & Development, trade and development cooperation, the common agricultural and fishery policies and traffic as well as the policies on transnational networks. One of the most important tasks of the revision is the dissolution of the EURATOMTreaty and the inclusion of a new energychapter into the Uniontreaty, that will give a regulatory framework for EU energypolicies based on the promotion of renewable energysources and energyconservation. This revision may lay the cornerstone for a europewide exit from nuclear energy to a European Community committed to solar power, supporting this kind of transformation in Eastern and Southern Europe as well as in the so called "Third World".
b. Beyond the opt-outs in social issues
To strengthen the European Unions commitment to social justice, a threefold approach is necessary. Firstly basic social rights based on the norms of the International Labour Organisation and the European Social Charter of the Council of Europe should be included into a catalogue of basic human rights of the European Union. Secondly the Protocol on Social Policy should be altered progressively and be integrated into the Union Treaty, thus ending the phase of "opting out" of the United Kingdom. Thirdly the renewal of the European Social model should be supported by a social actionprogramme centred on an active employmentpolicy, the promotion of systems of a basic income and minimum wages in each member state and the establishment of a new model of industrial democracy, giving workers and their unions as well as citizens, women's, environmental and consumer interests more possibilities of participation in economic decisionmaking.
c. More democratic controll on the development of the EMU:
As the EMU is an instrument (not a goal in itself) to reach a stable currency and a balanced and sustainable economic development for as a wide part of the EU as possible, the EMU should not come into beeing unless a majority of the Member States meets the criterias set out in the Treaty and have additionally a comparable situation in real economy and social development. Therefore the monetary/fiscal preconditions for the EMU should be completed by a criteria regarding comparable unemployment rates (1). This would force the EU-Member States to fight unemployment with the same intensity as public debt and budgetary deficit.
There is a considerably high lack of democratic control concerning the transition to the Third Stage of EMU. The decision of the Council on which countries are to take part in the Single Currency should be subject to an approval by the European Parliament.
Democratic accountability and transparency on EMU matters should be greatly strengthend, including a more extensive role for the European Parliament (notably where the Treaty provides for the adoption of recommendations or economic and monetary guidelines by the Council.
Countries, forming part of the EMU should not be allowed to "opt out" (i.e. to lower standards) on relevant issues of social and environmental policies.
The monetary policy provisions should have their counterweight in reinforced economic policy coordination (i.e. in the field of multilateral surveillance and in establishing broad economic policy guidelines at EU level) and a clear link to article 2 of the Treaty which implies that all the Union's institutions must work to promote "...a high level of employment and of special protection, the raising of the standard of living and the quality of life, and economic and social cohesion and solidarity among Member States.
d. Sustainable Economic Union is more important than monetary union
European Greens believe that stabilising democracy, environment and social justice not only within the EU but also in Eastern Europe and in the southern regions bordering Europe is more important task than the creation of a monetary Union of a few rich core countries. The mechanism of economic coordination inside the EU must be strengthened in order to follow economic policies leading to sustainability and full employment and economic and political cooperation with eastern and southern European states has to be intensified in this respect, opening these countries the prospect of partlymembership in the Union on questions like environmental policies, traffic, energy etc. by creating common projects of assistance for them going beyond the scope of the TACIS and PHAREefforts. The European Monetary System (EMS) should be reformed in order to support this policies. With respect to the eastern European countries, the inclusion of th
ose with already fully convertible currencies into the EMSmechanisms should be targeted. For the ones which haven't achieved full convertibility yet, the EMS could set up a multilateral crediting/debiting system based on the ECU and guided by the European Monetary Institute in order to make the passage to full convertibility easier and spur investment in ecological modernisation in these countries. The introduction of a transactiontax could help protect the EMS from the worst effects of international speculation.
e. What do European greens demand to the 1996 IGC?
1. The EU should enlarge its objectives to include sustainable developement; environmental policy shoiuld become one of the common policies of yhe EU and a european common environmental fund should be established.
2. The monetary/fiscal preconditions for the EMU should be completed by a criteria regarding comparable unemployment rates (1). This would force the EU-Member States to fight unemployment with the same intensity as public debt and budgetary deficit.
3. Democratic accountability and transparency on EMU matters should be greatly strengthend, including a more extensive role for the European Parliament.
4. Appropriate provisions have to be made to ensure that the process of enlargement to the central and eastern Europe takes place taking into full account of social and environmental considerations.
2*. COMMON FOREIGN PEACE AND SECURITY POLICY
a. The starting point: disarmament and demilitarization as condition for sustainable peaceful integration and a civilian role of Europe in the world
European Greens have always tried to implement a comprehensive concept of peace and security which aimes at removing the causes of war and developing peaceful forms of conflict resolution. As we know that only by overcoming the social, economic, political and cultural roots of violence it is possible to defeat militarism, we must organize for peace.
This will require the transfer of some national funds and competences at European level, to a deeply reformed and democratized European Union as well as to other international bodies, like the CSCE, whose working method and powers also need to be reviewed..
There are two sources of peacebuilding in Europe: a strategy of disarmament and demilitarization accompanied by further steps towards economic, social, political and cultural integration.
Integration and cooperation are a way to enduring peace - as shown by the role of western european integration after the second world war as well as by possibility of dialogue and cooperation offered by the CSCE to overcome block confrontation.
But only disarmament and demilitarization at a global scale offer the key for sustainable security and peace because they make impossible the inherent dynamics of military escalation.
European Greens have constantly insisted on abolishing NATO and replacing it by a panEuropean collective security system comprising all European countries; WEU should also be abolished as a european parallel military structure; the EU should develop the means for a permanent foreign and security policy with a common strategy within the UN, the OCSE and other international organisations.
Disarmament as the core of a new foreign policy of deliberate selfrestraint combined with an active integration policy begin at home. The experiences of national peace policy especially in the neutral countries and the possibilities of influencing national governments should not be weakened by a common foreign and security policy.
On the other hand, all integration in foreign and security policy issues must be accompanied with measures ensuring a proper level democratic control: representatives instances both at national and european level should be able to play a full role of control and orientation of foreign and security policy.
b. European Union on the Crossroads: on the Way to a Military Superpower?
In 1996 member states will have to face a unavoidable reality:
till now the CFSP has been a failure (as shown by the dissent about the way to end the war in former Yugoslavia or Ruanda) and with the Maastricht Treaty the way is opened to a fusion of EU and WEU: thus a clearer definition of the defense responsibility of the Union is necessary.
The fact that CFSP has not been integrated in the Community pillar and that any decision requires unanimity are expressions of the current contradictory attitude of most member states on this issue: most of them are unwilling to go beyond a mere coordination in foreign policy any step beyond can easily be vetoed- but most of them do understand that Union's
credibility passes through a working CFSP.
European Greens denounce this contradiction and clearly state that if the Union institutional setting is not deeply democratized and reformed, it will not be possible to have a positive action of the EU in favour of peace and democracy in the international field and a progressive militarization of the Western European integration could start outside any political controll and could be determined by purely intergovernemental procedures. The historical progress of civilian integration in Western Europe would be dominated by a global policy of intervention and this would reinforce national aspirations.
European Greens consider that the establishment of a common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) can be a positive step, but only if the decision making process at EU level is really democratic and efficient and if the action of the EU is aimed above all:
- at the consolidation and the further development of international law;
- at the establishment of a worldwide system of conflict prevention;
- at the building of the means to arbitrate regional and other conflicts upon request of the concerned parties:
thus, as Greens we should work for the establishment of a Common foreign PEACE and security policy.
Since it is very unlikely that in occasion of the 1996 IGC an agreement is reached on the creation of a united army at european level, European Greens deem it necessary to put the accent on the urgency of progress in the non-military aspects of EU foreign policy- that is to say on the linkage between a fair commercial and development policy with a decisive action in the field of the respect of human rights and protection of the environment, the promotion of peaceful resolution of conflicts, a process of worldwide disarmement and substantial reduction of arms trade.
As a first step towards the implementation of a peace oriented and democratic foreign and security policy, national military capacities, as long as they exist, should not be used independently, but only mandated by the OSCE or by the UN: peacekeeping forces should in fact only be accepted only under the command of the UN or the OSCE when mandated by the UN.
Equally, a European Civil Peace Corps (including conscienscious objectors) with training of monitors mediators and specialists in conflict resolution could be established.
c. EU institutions role in CFSP
In matters concerning CFSP, like for any other Union's field of competence, there is a need to render decisionmaking processes more democratic, more effective, or just simpler
Even if it will be difficult to introduce deep changes in this area, European Greens consider that in order to be able to act, the Union should be given the appropriate institutional and budgetary means. First of all, democratic accountability should be reinforced and the EP should be able to play a full role of oriention and control of the Union CFPSP. The Cuncil and the Commission should be give sufficient information to the EP.
Secondly, the Council should decide by qualified majority on foreign policy general guidelines as well as on joint actions in the field of humanitarian help and conflict prevention; such actions should be realized in coordination with decisions taken at UN, OSCE or other relevant regional level; no member state should be forced to take part in any common action if it does not wish to do so, nor should it be able to prevent the majority from taking such action.
Thirdly, the Commission should be fully integrated in the difinition and elaboration of the CFPSP.
d. What do European Greens demand from the Intergovernmental Conference ?
Regarding the expected agenda of the IGC as well as further reaching developments in the EU, green policy aimes at preventing EU from becoming a military superpower and at developing its civilian capacities. Therefore we demand:
1. Integration of the foreign and security policy in the Community structure, - that should however be deeply democratized. This would entail a better involvement of the EP and the Commission in the decision making process as well as a community budgeting of the CFPSP and the possibility of the Court of Justice to intervene..
2. Progressive dismatelling of parallel military structures and alliances like WEU and NATO in favour of an all european security system within which the EU can play a positive and peace oriented role.
3. ** (this is controverse) maintaining art. 223 ECTreaty (national sovereignty over arms procurement and arms production); common arms trade policy under CFSP is acceptable only when linked to a comprehensive disarmament and arms industry conversion programme.
or... just the opposite..
3. ** Deletion of Art. 223 of the Treaty which prevents any control of sales of arms to third countries.
3* AN ADEQUATE PROTECTION OF EUROPEAN CITIZENS AND RESIDENTS'RIGHTS
A direct link must be established between the Union and its citizens. We therefore favour the introduction of citizenship of the Union, which must go considerably beyond the civic and electoral provisions of the Treaty of Maastricht. European citizenship implies that the Union will guarantee the protection of all the fundamental rights included in the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the implementation of common policies in the fields of justice, home affairs and the rights of third country nationals resident in the Union.
The Maastricht Treaty introduces a 'citizenship of the Union', the innovative aspects of which are largely limited to matters relating to the right to vote. It is still open to severe criticism in the areas of judicial affairs, freedom of movement, immigration and the right of asylum.
Once again, both the method envisaged for dealing with these matters and the way in which they are expressed seem to us to be inadequate. The 'abolition of borders' which the Treaty provides for is in reality no more than a relaxing of controls, and that only for nationals of the Twelve. No Community initiative is planned for achieving free movement for the approximately 9 million third country citizens legally resident in the Community. On the fight against drugs and crime, on police, customs, judicial and penal cooperation, the Maastricht provisions share two characteristics: they are treated exclusively in the context of criminal law and they are dealt with in the greatest secrecy by intergovernmental bodies, mostly by officials who have no accountability for their decisions - least of all to a Parliament. This has become appearent with the implemenbtation of the Schengen Treaty (march 1995) Only ten out of 15 members are involved. The same thing can be said for EUROPOL, that is mentioned in the Mastricht Treaty: at the moment, member states are negotiating a convention, that will remain outside the Community system. At the moment only the drug unit of EUROPOL is working: European Greens consider that the important tasks of EUROPOL will have to be also the fight against environmental crime (*** and the traffic in women).
What do European Greens demand from the Intergovernmental Conference ?
1. Citizenship should not remain a closed concept;
If citizens of a member state are automatically citizens of the Union, then citizens of third countries legally resident in a member state for three to five years should easily be able to attain citizenship of their country of residence and equally of the Union, without having to give up the nationality of their country of origin (double nationality).
2. Citizens of third States who are legally resident in a member State, but do not yet have European citizenship, should have their fundamental rights guaranteed and respected, in particular their freedom of movement (art. 8A of the EEC Treaty), guaranteed by a European Residence Permit.
3. These residents should also be able to benefit from a series of specific rights, notably in the case of family reunification, access to employment, vocational training, administrative independence for married women, the political right and right to vote and to be elected in local elections;
To this end, a framework directive on a statute for resident citizens from third countries should be drafted and adopted at European level.
4. The areas covered by the third pillar of the Treaty should be integrated in the Community system, thus allowing a direct intervention of the EP and the Court of Justice. This implies that the Schengen treaty and the EUROPOL Convention should also be put in the Community system.
4* . DEMOCRATIC AND EFFICIENT INSTITUTIONS
One of the distinctive features of the Community institutional model as compared with traditional international organizations is that acts adopted at European level are directly applicable in the Member States. The term 'Community law' defines an autonomous area of legislative decision-making. It is therefore not enough to know what the Union should do or to debate which responsibilities need to be transferred from national and/or regional level to European level; we also need to have a clear idea of how decisions must be taken in order to be democratic and effective. In fact, this will be one of the major challenges to be met by 1996.
It should be noted in this context that the present Union does not possess a legislative power clearly separated from its executive power. The decision-making system therefore presents a complex appearance: a multiplicity of different procedures are applied to different fields in an arbitrary fashion without any reference to a hierarchy of legislation, and with a surprising ambiguity and imbalance as regards the roles of the Community authorities. This ambiguity is of course entirely consistent with the Council's wish to keep the European Parliament in the background and the Commission under the control of the Member States.
Legislative power is at present held by the Council, with a considerable - but inadequate - level of participation by Parliament, and a predominant role for the Commission throughout the whole of the legislative process. Executive power is vested in the Council, apart from the exceptions set out in the Treaties. The Council may delegate this power to the Commission or retain it itself if it deems necessary. It may also influence the Commission's executive powers through regulatory and management committees.
In the Greens' opinion, there is a major democratic deficit inherent in this procedure, particularly as regards Parliament's position in the legislative process. The Council takes its decisions behind closed doors, following negotiations over which representative bodies have virtually no control, and the confusion between executive and legislative responsibilities leads to a plethora of obscure procedures, comprehensible only to a small number of specialists. Moreover, the Council's use of decision-making by unanimity in a number of fields makes it possible for any state to block a decision and makes it necessary to find a compromise at the level of the lowest common denominator.
Therefore, in our view, we have to change the institutional balance within the Union and make the decision making more open and democratic.
1. The European Parliament
*The European Parliament has been elected since 1979 by direct universal suffrage through a free, secret ballot of its citizens. We consider that it should in future be elected according to a uniform electoral system based on proportional representation.
* The European Parliament must, together with the Council, form the legislative and budgetary authority of the Union. It must also have the power to initiate legislation and to nominate the Commission.
* The European Parliament currently possesses a number of legislative powers and can exert some control over the Commission, but these powers are very limited. They must be expanded to cover all the Union's areas of activity, and a genuine atmosphere of trust must be built up between the Commission and the EP.
* Parliament must exercise its powers of inquiry to the best of its ability and must follow up effectively the petitions of citizens of the Union and of natural and legal persons resident in the Union.
2. The Council
The Council is at present the real centre of power in the EC. In future, in our view, the Council must restrict itself to being one of the two branches of legislative power.
* The Council should be made up of permanent delegations/members appointed by the Member States according to their national rules.
* The Council should share legislative and budgetary power with the European Parliament.
Decisions should be taken by a majority of the members of the Council, except for amendments to the Treaties, the accession of new Member States and the enlargement of the sphere of responsibilities of the Union, which ***** CONTROVERSIAL*****should require a vote by qualified majority.
3. The Commission
The Commission is currently halfway between a technical executive body and a government which has the power to initiate legislation and is politically accountable to Parliament.
The Commission must function in a more transparent way, in a system in which the separation of powers at European level is much more clearly defined than at present. It is hard to see why one of the key principles of our national democracies should not apply at European level.
* In the programme which it submits for approval to Parliament, the Commission should define its guidelines for the Union's activities and should take the appropriate initiatives to implement them.
The responsibilities of the Commission should be to initiate legislation and participate in the legislative procedure, but its powers of initiative should be shared with the EP; to adopt regulations for the implementation of legislation and take the necessary implementing decisions;to present and execute the draft budget;to represent the Union in its foreign relations;
to negotiate and conclude agreements with third countries.
4. The Court of Justice
Under the present system, the Court of Justice 'shall ensure that in the interpretation and application of this treaty the law is observed'. Thanks to its courageous interpretation of the law, the principles of Community law enshrined in the Treaties - such as the precedence of Community law over national law, the protection of fundamental rights, and direct applicability - have been universally accepted. Where there have been gaps in Community legislation, the Court of Justice has shown itself in its case law to be a dynamic force for European integration.
Still, the development of "european citizenship" and the need to ensure to all people living in the Union a proper level of defense of human rights, make it very necessary for the Court to ensure 'a complete system of legal protection'.
Unfortunately, even after the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty, matters will still be far from satisfactory. Due to the continuing lack of a single institutional structure, the Court of Justice is unable to intervene in the areas of the common foreign and security policy or in cooperation in judicial and home affairs.
Moreover, the predominant view whereby the Member States are the only constituent members of the Union, and the unfounded fear of the Court's work grinding to a halt, prevents the regions from having an independent right of appeal against Community legal acts which affect their powers.
We feel that the Court of Justice should be able to intervene in all areas where a legal act of the Union exists, and that the regions - as representative, constitutionally recognized bodies with legislative powers - should be able to appeal to the Court in the areas in which they have responsibility. The Court should also extend its powers to human rights related questions.
5. The European Council
In the current institutional framework, the European Council (made up of the Heads of State and Government of the Member States and presided over by each country in turn on a six-monthly rotation basis) establishes the EC's general political and economic guidelines.
Looking at the action of the Fifteen in the most recent crises, such as the conflict in the former Yugoslavia or the economic recession, it can certainly not be claimed that the 'collective presidency' exercised by the European Council enabled them to launch original and effective initiatives with a united front.
Consequently, the European Council's role in the future European Union must remain that of a general policy-making body, leaving to the institutions of the Union the task of initiating and implementing measures adopted in common according to their normal procedures.