Friday

4th Dec 2020

European Parliament strongly endorses Constitution

The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly in favour of the EU Constitution in a non-binding but politically symbolic vote.

On Wednesday morning (12 January), 500 MEPs voted in favour, 137 voted against and 40 abstained.

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  • The presidents of the Commission and the Parliament find themselves in a 'no' protest after the vote (Photo: Stuart Gulleford)

"The result of the vote makes it very clear. I think that the extent of the support is very important", said Parliament president Josep Borrell.

He said that it means that 74% voted in favour and it "far exceeded" expectations.

The report endorsed by the parliament says that the Constitution is a "vast improvement" on the current treaties.

Ratification

Luxembourg prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who currently heads the EU, also welcomed the result.

"I wanted to say how happy I am with this broad majority. Obviously, this is an important moment in the history of parliament", he said.

He also said that it was important for the EU's long road to ratification - all 25 member states must ratify it before it can come into force.

During a plenary debate on Tuesday, MEPs urged governments to strongly support the 460-article treaty, which streamlines EU decision-making and gives more power to the European Parliament,

Protest

Before and after Wednesday's vote, several MEPs, held up placards saying "not in my name" and "this Constitution is Europe's death".

Mr Borrell, who struggled to get the protestors to take down their placards, later remarked that no one could call the European Parliament boring any more.

The protestors booed loudly after the strong result came in. Those voting no or abstaining came from the far-right, the left, the eurosceptic ID group, the UK conservatives and the Czech ODS party.

In a press conference after the vote, Mr Borrell said "it would be exaggerated to say that it is a large group" adding that "it is only 20%".

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