EU national veto must go, Santer warns Britain
Thursday 11 May 1995
Only by introducing majority voting on all issues, including defence and foreign policy, could the European Union hope to maintain the support of its citizens into the 21st century, said Mr Santer. There would be no room for "opt-outs" - such as Britain's on social policy.
Mr Santer was announcing publication of the Commission's outline proposals to be tabled at next year's intergovernmental conference when the EU will meet to revise and reform its institutions.
As the conference approaches, Britain appears to be heading for confrontation with the Commission and many of its European partners over some of the proposed reforms, in particular the extension of majority voting. The announcementavoided addressing any of the proposals for reform in detail. The Commission issued an explanatory document which said Brussels wanted to present a more acceptable and accessible face to the people of Europe.
"Our Europe suffers from a lack of comprehension.There is too great a distance between the citizen and the centre of decision-making," it said. Mr Santer also tried to forestall accusations of Brussels power-grabbing by insisting that his reforms were necessary to greater efficiency in EU decision-making.
The Commission document argued that majority voting would become a necessity once the EU accepted more members from Eastern Europe. If the right to veto remains once the EU numbers not 15 but 25, decision-making might collapse.
However, if greater majority voting is introduced, within the EU, national governments and parliaments will have less final control over EU decisions. Brussels is believed to be considering ways of defusing the likely outcry in Britain and elsewhere. One possibility - one that was not mentioned yesterday - would be the formal acceptance of the existing informal right of member states to delay a vote on a policy that they believed threatens an important national interest.
What worries the Commission particularly is the failure of the EU to act effectively where it has been granted new authority under the 1991 Maastricht treaty. This is ascribed to the power of states to wield, or at least threaten, the veto.
This failure to make progress has been most obvious in the areas of defence and foreign policy, and the Commission believes the EU's image has been deeply damaged by the dbcle in former Yugoslavia.
Current procedures have also failed to produce a viable EU policy on justice and immigration, where states also have a power of veto, although the Commission yesterday did not reveal how it envisages reforms in this area.
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 4 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...
£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...