Convention debates EU legal personality and subsidiarity

The European Convention is discussing final
reports by Working Groups on Legal Personality and Subsidiarity
at its plenary session on 3 and 4 October.

The Working Groups on Legal Personality and Subsidiarity
are the first two to finish their work and are presenting
their recommendations to the Convention on 3 and 4 October.

The Convention is expected to endorse
proposals by the Working Group on Legal Personality to
simplify the EU’s legal structure, based on a complex three
pillar system. According to its proposal, the Treaty of the
European Community and the Treaty of the European Union
should be merged into a single treaty and a single legal
personality. This should empower the EU to sign
international agreements and be represented in
international organisations, such as the United

The Working Group on Legal Personality
also suggests that the new treaty should allow the EU to
express a single position on the world stage and be
represented by a single delegation.

The Working Group on the Principle of
Subsidiarity recommends shifting the balance of power in
the EU towards the national parliaments. The subsidiarity
working group proposes that national deputies could reject
laws proposed by the Commission if they believed the issues
could be better dealt with at a national level. The group
does not propose that a new institution should be created
to represent the national and European deputies.

The working group also calls for an
“early warning system” with which national parliaments
would ensure that the Commission is not transgressing its
mandate. The group proposes that the Commission should send
proposed laws to national parliaments who would decide
whether the issue should be dealt with at the EU or
national level. The European Court of Justice could be
asked to arbitrate in case of disagreement.


In December 2001, EU leaders set up a Convention to prepare
a reform of EU policies and institutions so that the Union
can enlarge to new Member States. The Convention started on
28 February 2002 and is scheduled to hold its last session
in June 2003, when it is due to make recommendations to the
Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) of EU Member States.

The Convention's proposals will be based
on the conclusions of the ten Working Groups, which are
scheduled to report back by the end of this year. The IGC
is expected to adopt a far-reaching reform, including a new
constitutional treaty, in 2004.


The next plenary session of the Convention will take place
on 28-29 October.

The Convention President, Valéry
Giscard d'Estaing, pledged to table the draft proposal for
a future EU Constitutional Treaty in November 2002. His
objective is to have the final proposal ready for the EU
Summit in June 2003.

The Convention will be followed by an
Intergovernmental Conference in 2004 to decide on the
revision of the treaties.


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