MEPs could sue EU leaders if they ignore call for treaty reform
The European Parliament could take EU leaders to the European Court of Justice for breaching treaty obligations if they refuse to respond formally to EU lawmakers’ official call for a Treaty Review Convention. EU, a constitutional expert told EURACTIV.
MEPs backed a resolution earlier this month calling on EU leaders to agree to change the treaties through a Convention. In line with its treaty obligations, the European Council must now vote by simple majority on whether it wants to consider it.
“On August 9, the European Parliament will be able to formally ask the Council to act. On October 9, [il] should take the Council to the Court of Justice for failing to act on its resolution”former liberal MEP Andrew Duff, one of the leading experts on treaty reform and the EU constitution, told EURACTIV.
“If MEPs do not follow through in this way, they will join the Commission and the Council in the heap of ruin”said the former deputy.
Momentum to review the EU Treaties for the first time since the Lisbon Treaty entered into force in 2009 has emerged in recent months, driven first by proposals emerging from the Conference on the Future of the Europe, the year-long experiment in deliberative democracy where ordinary citizens had a say in shaping EU policy, and then by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The conference agreed on 49 recommendations, including the removal of national vetoes in a series of policy areas such as foreign policy, new European competences to coordinate health policy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 19, and additional powers of legislative initiative and control for the European Parliament.
Meanwhile, the issue of removing vetoes on EU foreign, defense and security policy has arisen following difficulties in agreeing on sanctions against Russia and military support for the EU. Ukraine following the Russian invasion.
“They have to react one way or another”, said Mr. Duff. There are several options, “including a debate on whether or not to convene a Convention, possibly prepared by an independent think tank”.
However, neither the Convention nor the prospect of a revision of the treaties was mentioned, either at the meeting of the General Affairs Council of the EU on Tuesday 21 June or in the draft conclusions of the European summit of this week.
While most EU governments, including Germany, France and Italy, have declared themselves in favor of changing the treaties, a large blocking minority, made up mainly of small states in northern Europe and from the Baltic countries, “does not support reckless and premature attempts to initiate a process of treaty change”.
Last Friday, the European Commission published its first communication on the recommendations made by the conference, which Commission President Ursula von der Leyen described as “rich and vast ideas to improve our Union”. Ms Von der Leyen also gave her support for the reopening of the EU treaties.
According to Mr Duff, the Czech government, which is soon to take over the six-month rotating presidency of the EU Council, is organizing a preliminary discussion on the treaty change in mid-July. However, no decision on whether to launch a Constitutional Convention is expected.
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