Convention meets in extra session to debate EU’s objectives

The Convention will hold an additional session on 26 March to continue its debate on draft Articles 1 to 7.

In the Convention’s first debate of these articles, on 26 and 27 February, major divisions emerged over the question of whether the future EU Constitution is to retain the references “on a federal basis” and “an ever closer union”. Proposals that the Constitutional Treaty should state that the EU is based on Christian values is another heavily divisive issue.

On 14 March, the Convention Praesidium published a document on the suggested approach for the Euratom Treaty. The Praesidium believes that there is no basis for the Convention to become involved in an operation to amend the Euratom Treaty substantially. Nevertheless, it states that the question of what to do with the Euratom Treaty should be addressed because the EU Union functions with four Treaties, the Euratom Treaty being one of them.

The Praesidium proposes the following options for adjusting the European Atomic Energy Treaty (Euratom) Treaty to the new provisions of the Constitution:

  • the incorporation of the Euratom Treaty into the Constitutional Treaty (in Part Two or in a Protocol);
  • the amendment of the Euratom Treaty, allowing it to continue to exist independently.

 

The European Parliament's Committee on Constitutional Affairsheld a hearing on the future of the Euratom Treaty. Several proposals were discussed: to incorporate the Euratom Treaty in the new Constitution, to amend it so that it better reflects today's realities or to let it continue to exist independently.

Over one hundred civil society organisationsfrom 29 countries across Europe have called upon the Convention to scrap the Euratom Treaty. In a declaration presented to Convention members on 3 March, the NGOs described the Euratom Treaty as "out of date, undemocratic and biased towards nuclear power over other energy options."

 

Articles 1 to 4 constitute Title I - "Definitions and objectives of the Union", and articles 5 to 7 constitute Title II - "Fundamental rights and citizenship of the Union" - of the draft Constitutional Treaty (see EURACTIV of 7 February 2003).

 

The next meeting of the Convention is on 3 and 4 April.

The Convention's progress report will be discussed at the Athens Summit of 16 April, where the Accession Treaty with 10 candidate countries will be signed.

 

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