Thursday

29th Feb 2024

Convention ready to adopt European Constitution

Before the start of the last Convention plenary today in Brussels, the wider lines of the Constitution are agreed and the road cleared for the president of the Convention, Válery Giscard d'Estaing, to adopt the final Constitution by Friday.

This afternoon, the whole Part I of the Constitution including the important articles setting up the European institutions will be presented by Mr Giscard to the convention members - 105 altogether. These articles were agreed in principle last Thursday in a nightly negotiation session of the Presidium, which is the steering committee of the Convention.

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Last night the Presidium negotiated some of the details, and it will meet again this morning to agree how the ceremony will be set up on Friday to celebrate the adoption of the Constitution.

Thessaloniki

On Friday next week, 20 June, Mr Giscard d'Estaing will hand over the Constitution to the heads of state and government, meeting in Thessaloniki, Greece. An Intergovernmental Conference will then formally turn the Constitution into the basic treaty upon which the European Union will be ruled in the future.

Then each EU member state must ratify the Constitution, which will in some countries lead to referenda. Only if all 15 members of the European Union ratify it, can the Constitution enter into force.

The Constitution is be made up of a preamble, four parts and a number of protocols.

- Preamble

- Part I, 59 articles, Definition and objectives of the Union. This part include articles defining the Unions values, fundamental rights, citizenship, competences, institutions, enhanced co-operation, the status of churches, the Union's resources, and withdrawal of the Union among others.

- Part II, 54 articles, Charter of Fundamental Rights

- Part III, 339 articles, Internal policies and action. This part of the Constitution will not be ready for the Thessaloniki meeting but will be finished and handed over to the Italian EU Presidency at a ceremony in Rome planned for 18 July.

- Part IV, 9 articles, General and final provisions

- Protocols, so far 5 have been proposed but the number is likely to grow

Some 5,000 amendments have been presented during the Convention's work, but they will not be voted on.

Instead of using votes in the Convention Mr Giscard has held meetings with the different groups inside the Convention and made sure he will be able to pass the Constitution with a general "consensus".

Giscard unveils new institutional deal

Convention President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing and his inner team worked into the early hours of Friday morning to come up with a final text on the role of EU institutions that they hope will save the beleagured debate on Europe's constitution. The new text on division of power between the EU institutions proposes that the terms set by the Nice Treaty stay in place until 2009.

Convention strikes key deal on EU future

New proposals on the division of power in Europe unveiled by Convention president, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing Thursday, have been given a cautious welcome in several quarters effectively getting the Convention out of the cul de sac of the last few days.

Investigation

Far-right MEPs least disciplined in following party line

In a fractious parliamentary vote, the level of party discipline often decides the fate of legislation. Party discipline among nationalists and far-right MEPs is the weakest, something potentially significant after the June elections. Data by Novaya Gazeta Europe and EUobserver.

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