European People’s Party MEP Alexander Stubb favours institutional reform to accommodate further enlargement, but thinks that “absorption capacity” should not be a formal criterion for candidate countries.
The European Parliament is to debate the “institutional aspects of the EU’s capacity to integrate new member states” in a special session on 23 October 2006. In an interview with EURACTIV, Alexander Stubb offered some insights into the EU’s “institutional capacity”. He says that “the Union needs to be ready for each enlargement on three accounts: institutions, budget and policies.” Stubb also underlined that the integration capacity should not be seen as a further criterion for the candidate to fulfil. He stressed that “integration capacity is the responsibility of the current member states, not the applicant states”.
Stubb said that the Parliament’s idea of “institutional capacity” is in line with the Commission’s concept of “absorption capacity”, or “functioning capacity” as Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn put it recently. Nevertheless, he thinks his concept is more focused on the institutional aspect. In this respect, he would like to see more majority voting in the future, in order to facilitate decisions on controversial issues such as enlargement or treaty change.
As favoured by Commission President Barroso, he thinks that “politically we need a Constitutional Treaty before further enlargement”, while also emphasising that the EU’s “absorption capacity” should not serve as a formal criterion for candidate countries such as Turkey.
Read the full interview here.