Josep Borrell: 'The EU Constitution will not go away; we will return to it'

From an address by the President of the European Parliament, delivered at Chatham House in London
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The Independent Online

In France, the EU is heavily criticised for following the so called "Anglo-Saxon" economic model. For many in the French "no" camp, Europe is too liberal. In the Netherlands, the issues of Turkey, immigration and the Dutch contribution to the EU budget all played an important role in the "no" vote.

Those that opposed the Constitution were not particularly concerned with institutional architecture. Our electors are indifferent to questions of qualified majority voting, comitology and subsidiarity. They want action on jobs, security and peace. They are less interested in how we organise the input and are more concerned with output.

The political classes of Europe, both in Brussels and in the national capitals, including London, recognise that Europe is needed if we are to tackle the challenges of economic globalisation. In this new world, no one member state can manage the economic forces that are at play, without sharing sovereignty and making policy at continental level. But there is an enormous gap between the perceptions of Europe's leaders and the population at large.

The crisis of the referenda has been exacerbated by the lack of decisions in crucial areas, most notably on the future budget of the European Union, but also in policies where the decisions made will be crucial for the life of Europe's people: trade talks, the services directive, the chemicals directive Reach, and counter-terrorism.

By what miracle can we expect better results if we continue with the same methods? The public is interested in outputs, but we can't achieve these outputs without reforming those methods. The Constitution will not go away, and we will have to return to it at some point. After all, it was considered necessary by 25 governments.