Letter: EC must be subject to the control of its people

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Sir: The European Constitutional Group and European Policy Forum, in its report ('Germany planning relaunch of the EC', 9 August), has the right analysis but the wrong solutions. The European Community needs a clear constitution and needs to be subject to the control of its people. But a European chamber of national MPs will be an ineffective solution, as none of its members would see its work as their first priority and so would devote little time to it. Indeed, the current European Parliament began its life as a European assembly of national MPs. It is because it was not in fact a useful institution, contributing little to good policy making, that it was changed.

National parliaments are in any case represented in the institutions: through the Council of Ministers. If the Council met in public or, at the least, published its agendas and minutes, national parliaments could perform their controlling role more effectively through this channel.

If we are serious about making the Community subject to democratic control, we must enhance the rights of the European Parliament - not at the expense of national parliaments but at the expense of the other institutions. Two crucial reforms could achieve this: first, the European Parliament could elect the Commission; second, the European Parliament could be the equal of the Council of Ministers in making European laws.

This would be a balanced, democratic constitutional settlement: the establishment of a European parliamentary democracy with limited but effective powers.

Yours faithfully,

STEPHEN WOODARD

Director,

European Movement

London, SW1

11 August

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