Monday

22nd Oct 2018

Verhofstadt sees small chances for EU constitution revival

Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt has indicated he does not believe the EU constitution can be saved, while proposing to hold special summits of eurozone leaders as an alternative.

In an interview with FT Deutschland, the Belgian leader said he backs further ratification of the EU constitution - but primarily for tactical reasons.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

He indicated further ratification would press EU governments to confront the bloc’s institutional problems the constitution was designed to address.

"I believe it is right to continue ratification. Not because I think the chance is big that the constitution can still be saved. But ratification increases the pressure on us to come up with something on the future of Europe," Mr Verhofstadt said.

Belgium itself last month became the 14th EU country to ratify the EU constitution, but Mr Verhofstadt is at the same time promoting closer co-operation of the 12 eurozone countries as an alternative to the charter.

The Belgian leader indicated "The future of the EU constitution is uncertain. I do not see how we can reconcile the enlargement of the community with its deepening if we don't use the eurozone."

He said he hoped the leaders of the eurozone would convene the first time before the next EU spring summit in March 2007, with cooperation within the eurozone currently being limited to meetings of finance ministers.

Mr Verhofstadt's call for the eurozone becoming a forum for deeper integration is in line with his recent book "The United States of Europe."

The book proposes a two-speed Europe, where a nucleus of the 12 EU states that have adopted the euro would press ahead with closer intergration, while a looser outer circle of the "Organisation of European States" would exist alongside it.

The eurozone nucleus, which would carry the prestigious title "United States of Europe" would be open to further expansion at any time to states adopting the euro at a later stage.

Why 'Spitzenkandidat' is probably here to stay

The power of the parliament to 'appoint' the president of the EU Commission is new, highly-contested - and not universally understood. In fact, even some of the lead candidates to replace Jean-Claude Juncker are against it.

Exclusive

Commission tried to hide details of 'WiFi4EU' glitch

The commission heavily redacted documents released to EUobserver because they were reportedly 'out of scope'. Transparency campaigner Helen Darbishire says however the information was "clearly directly relevant to the request".

Interview

How Juncker's 'do less' group concluded EU should not do less

EUobserver followed Karl-Heinz Lambertz, the president of the Committee of Regions over nine months - and six interviews - as he worked on one of Jean-Claude Juncker's pet projects: one of the five so-called 'future of Europe' scenarios.

Opinion

Dodgy regime lobbying is below the EU's radar

In Brussels, PR professionals and lobbying consultants are working for some of the world's most autocratic regimes. And we have no way of knowing for sure who they are, how much they are paid, or what they are up to.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. Lone Merkel announces Saudi arms ban
  2. Dodgy regime lobbying is below the EU's radar
  3. Bannon's The Movement to launch with January summit
  4. What Italy's budget row is actually about
  5. EU preparing 'concentration camps' for migrants in Africa
  6. Poland to respect EU injunction on judicial purge
  7. EU votes on Facebook and plastic This WEEK
  8. Top EU banks guilty of multi-billion tax fraud

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us