PositionBrief Article

The declaration on the Post-Nice process, annexed to the Treaty, envisages a broader public debate on Europe's future centred on four questions: simplification of the Treaties, division of powers, status of the Charter of Fundamental Rights and the role of the national parliaments. Arrangements for this public debate, its political significance, and particularly its constitutional perspectives might touch on the unresolved issues of Nice. The European Parliament and the Council have been squabbling over this since the beginning of the year, and no decision is expected before the Laeken Summit next December. The President-in-Office of the General Affairs Council, Anna Lindh, has attempted to calm MEPs' fears, saying that: "there is of course a place for the Community method because a strong Europe needs strong European institutions". She did not, however, wish to comment on the main demand put forward by the Parliament, the setting up of a Convention in 2002 based on the model elaborated in the Charter. When reflecting on the choice of participants at the forum, she said: "The Presidency is open to all suggestions but sees as many advantages in setting up a Convention, as disadvantages". In any case, it will be the IGC that make the decision".The Commissioner in charge of Institutional Reform, Michel Barnier, confirmed that: "The ultimate stage in the decision-making process will be the IGC, no method for replacing it can be imagined at the present moment". He did nonetheless support the European Parliament's project and asked the Council to "take the last Convention as an example" for building...

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