In a press conference on 19 September 2006, German socialist MEP Jo Leinen urged that the Constitution be ratified as soon as possible.
Leinen, who chairs the parliament’s Committee on Constitutional Affairs (AFCO), referred to the input offered to the constitutional debate by Sarkozy and Prodi (see EURACTIV, 11 September 2006). Concrete examples of the political costs to citizens of having no Constitution are the inability to react quickly to crises, such as fires in Spain, refugee problems, terrorism or even the crisis in Lebanon. He argues that a Constitution would have enhanced the EU’s capacity to act and increased its global competitiveness.
Leinen says the costs are “visible and tangible and getting higher all the time”, so the EU should speed up the process to put a Constitution in place by 2009.
Leinen regretted that plans to conduct a study on the costs of having no Constitution were put off by Commission President José Manuel Barroso, after Commissioner Margot Wallström had already agreed to it in May. A Commission spokesperson said there had been no blocking of the study, but that the Commission is currently looking into the idea.