04 mars 2021
According to a statement approved this Thursday by the European Parliament, the EU reform exercise, which risks losing ambition, will be led by a triumvirate and an executive committee made up of nine members.
Blocked for several months by negotiations between the European institutions, the Conference on the Future of Europe is finally on track. The leaders of Parliament’s political groups on Thursday approved the joint declaration which sets a framework for the exercise of reform of the European Union through a consultation of European citizens. Until the last minute, the suspense weighed on this approval due to a disagreement over his presidency.
After the 2019 elections, when the main positions at the top of the European institutions are allocated, le libéral Guy Verhofstadt (Renew Europe (RE), Open VLD) had received the unofficial promise by French President Emmanuel Macron (RE, LREM) to chair the Conference on the Future of Europe. But the idea displeased several European leaders, fearing that the former Belgian prime minister would give a too federalist impetus for the project. The latter had for a time received the support of the Parliament, but the European Council had tried to impose a more neutral personality on the Presidency.
Parliament ended up rallying to a compromise proposal from the Portuguese Presidency of the EU, adopted last Wednesday by the 27 ambassadors of the Member States. This compromise puts at the head of the Conference a triumvirate made up of the presidents of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, of the Parliament, David Sassoli and the rotating presidency of the EU. In practice, an executive committee of nine members, three per institution, will lead the exercise. The three major political groups of the European Parliament will participate in this committee, on the other hand the other parties will be relegated to an observer role.
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Exit, so Guy Verhofstadt. “He could take over the presidency of the group representing the European Parliament,” suggests a source familiar with the matter. But the person concerned has shown no desire. Parliament would have yielded in exchange for several guarantees, such as the involvement of young people, the creation of citizen agoras and the widest possible consultation of civil society.. In addition, the declaration no longer excludes leading to a reform of the Treaties, the most ambitious wishing to broaden the competences of the EU in the field of health or to introduce transnational lists during the European elections.
The three presidents making up the triumvirate are expected to sign this declaration in the course of next week. The conference will kick off on May 9 at the European Parliament.