On 13 November, 63 politicians launched a
cross-party campaign to save the Convention’s plans for a
Legislative Council in the new Constitutional
According to the group of signatories, the creation of a
Legislative Council is essential for the clear separation
of the legislative and executive powers in the Union and
for achieving full transparency and openness of the EU’s
The text of the appeal states that the
Council’s legislative functions should not be “hidden” in
many sectoral Councils and should be “kept apart from the
bargaining in executive matters.”
The group feels that the IGC’s decision
to totally remove the Legislative Council sends a “negative
signal for establishing a parliamentary democracy and for
the respect of the work of the European Convention”.
Therefore, they urge Member State governments to accept the
initial proposal of the Convention.
"Governments dont like the Legislative Council because it
would effectively be the second chamber to the European
Parliament. Ministers in charge of different policy areas
are up in arms because they would lose power," said
Austrian Socialist MEP Maria Berger.
On 14 November, leader of the Socialists
caucus in the Convention Giuliano Amato put forward six
core priorities on behalf of the Party of European
Socialists. One of these points deals with the defence of
Parliaments new legislative role as well as its budgetary
powers, as set out in the Conventions draft treaty. Mr
Amato also underlined that simultaneous ratification [of
the treaty in all EU Member States] would certainly
contribute to its success, which is a position also held by
On 13 November 2003, members of the Convention on the
Future of Europe together with Members of the European
Parliament (MEPs) appealed to the Intergovernmental
Conference (IGC) to "reconsider their decision to remove
the Legislative Council from the European Constitution".
The petition concerns Article 23 of the
Draft Constitutional Treaty on the "Formations of the
Council of Ministers". The article envisages two Council
formations only: a Legislative Council and a General
Affairs Council with a view to simplifying the current
system and making a clear distinction between the Councils
executive and legislative functions.
The 63 signatories include Giuliano
Amato (Vice-Chairman of the Convention and Vice-President
of the Party of European Socialists), Elmar Brok (Christian
Democrat leader in the Convention) and Andrew Duff (Chair
of the Liberal caucus in the Convention).
The group has decided to appeal to
governments because the Convention's plans for a
Legislative Council were rejected very early in the
Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) by a majority of the
The next meeting of the IGC at ministerial level is
scheduled for 18 November in Brussels.