Tuesday

18th Dec 2018

Sarkozy wants freeze on enlargement and slimmer EU charter

French interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, has launched his campaign to become the next president of France by calling for a freeze on further EU enlargement, while proposing a short version of the EU constitution.

In a new year's address on Thursday (12 January), attended by 500 journalists, he said the first part of the proposed EU constitution should be revived.

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This part, setting out European decision-making procedures, could be adopted by members of the French parliament, without a new consultation of French voters in a referendum.

A majority of French people rejected the EU constitution in a referendum in June 2005.

"Departing from the initial text of the European constitution, we should establish a shorter text, based on the first part of the treaty and with the only aim to organise the functioning of the EU 25," he said.

EU enlargement should be put on hold until the bloc has agreed a watered down version of the constitution, he added.

But negotiations with Romania and Bulgaria had progressed so far that it would be inappropriate to stop them.

The larger EU nations, such as France, Germany, the UK, Spain, Italy and Poland should form a "strategic partnership" and play a genuine role as the engine of the EU, he said.

Nicolas Sarkozy, who is also president of France’s ruling UMP party, indicated he would reduce the prime minister's role to that of governmental co-ordinator, if elected president of France.

"Rather than a president who presides, we need a president who leads. The future president will surely be different from the previous ones," Mr Sarkozy said.

He also called for a reform of the French immigration system, increasing the number of deportations of illegal immigrants to 25,000 next year.

The French presidential elections are due in May 2007.

Lead MEP on Morocco resigns as her report passes

MEPs ultimately adopted a controversial report on an EU trade deal with Morocco - despite the sudden resignation by French liberal Patricia Lalonde as the file's rapporteur only moments beforehand. Her departure follows an EUobserver investigation into lobbying by Morocco.

Razor-edge victory for more lobbying transparency at EP

New rules to force MEPs chairing committees or drafting reports to publish meetings with registered lobbyists took a step closer to reality. The measure was narrowly backed 11 to 10 at the constitutional affairs committee but still needs plenary approval.

Leading MEP defends expenses secrecy

The man tasked with making the EP more transparent has said there are more important issues than making MEP monthly expenses public.

Exclusive

EU parliament to renege on transparency promises

Internal legal European parliament documents circulated Tuesday, and seen by EUobserver, rule it illegal to force MEPs to meet only registered lobbyists. The opinion will likely render a larger effort to create a mandatory register for lobbyists null and void.

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