Barnier rejects Blair’s call for second chamber

Michel Barnier, the EU’s commissioner in charge of institutional reform, has rejected British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s proposal for a second chamber in the European Parliament made up of national parliamentarians. According to The Guardian, Mr Barnier said that the idea was overly complex and had little support among other Member States. His remarks were made during a visit to London where he held talks with British Foreign Minister Jack Straw.

In dismissing Mr Blair’s suggestion, The Guardian says Mr Barnier argued that the EU would be better served by making the Council of Ministers more effective, less secretive, and with clearer legislative functions. He emphasised the importance of December’s Laeken Summit where a declaration will be made on the future of the EU that will contain the final details for a convention on this issue.

Mr Barnier suggested that either former Commission president Jacques Delors or Giscard d’Estaing, the former French president, would be ideal candidates to be president of the convention.

 

Mr Blair laid out his ideas for reforming the EU in a speech in October 2000 to the Polish Stock Exchange in Warsaw. It was his first major contribution to a debate that had been begun by German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer in May of 2000.

 

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