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.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
- 2 Belgium fan Axelle Despiegelaere lands L'Oreal campaign after World Cup viral photo
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 5 Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Pope Francis: ‘One in 50’ Catholic priests, bishops and cardinals is a paedophile
Fry ‘criticises Operation Yewtree in dinner party rant’ calling for tougher laws to deter false sex abuse allegations
Supermoon 2014 in pictures: The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Saharan remains may be evidence of first race war, 13,000 years ago
Israel-Gaza conflict: ‘Sderot cinema’ image shows Israelis with popcorn and chairs 'cheering as missiles strike Palestinian targets'
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
Emergency data law: David Cameron plots to bring back snoopers’ charter
NUT strike: David Cameron announces crackdown on strike action ahead of mass industrial action
£21588 - £31552 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: YEAR 1 TEACHER - FUL...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Ofsted have said "Good te...
£52000 - £58000 per annum + benefits, company car: Ashdown Group: Advertising ...
£32000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...