EUROPEAN CONVENTION: CONFUSION OVER EPP DRAFT CONSTITUTION.

The institutional debate, largely dominated the EPP meeting in Frescati, where Elmar Brok's draft proposal was the object of numerous reservations and criticisms, to which he paid little heed in his public presentation. The role of sole Executive entrusted to the Commission, whose President would be appointed by the European Council and invested by the European Parliament on the basis of the results of European elections, does not enjoy unanimous backing. Particularly as Mr Brok on a personal note, has included CFSP among the EU's specific responsibilities and considers that the Commission should represent the EU on the international stage. Several EPP delegates, notably the French, Spanish, Irish and Italians, called for the creation of an office of President of the EU Council. Wilfried Martens himself raised the notion of merging the posts of Commission President and President of the Council. Michel Barnier meanwhile recalled that the whilst the Commission, in its Communication expected on November 18 (see European Report 2724 for further details), is considering integrating the High Representative within the College with special status, this combines with the notion of placing the Commission under the dual political guardianship of the Council and the Parliament and not Parliament alone, as proposed by Mr Brok. Convention vice-President Jean-Luc Dehaene, who also attending the meeting in Frescati, called for "audacity and realism" emphasising the importance of "learning the art of compromise in the interests of making texts palatable to Heads of State and Government".

More consensual, at least within the EPP, is the now explicit reference in a preamble to what "Europe owes to its religious heritage". This indication is echoed in the section on the EU's objectives: "The Union values include the values of those who believe in God as the source of truth, justice, good and beauty as well as of those who do not share such a belief but respect these universal values arising from other sources". This profession of Christian faith, inspired by a provision in the Polish Constitution, was agreed in Estoril at the request of Forza Italia in order to integrate the Charter of Fundamental rights without amendment in the Treaty, a move endorsed by EPP delegates in...

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