Friday, November 09, 2007

Making the EU more efficient

Constitutional Treaty in blue
Reform Treaty in red
1. The EU’s foreign policy High Representative and the Commissioner for External Relations—two posts causing duplication and confusion—would be merged into a single EU ‘Foreign Minister’, able to speak for the Union on those subjects where EU countries agree a common line.

CHANGED. The merger of the two posts is retained, but the job title “Foreign Minister” is changed to “High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy” to make clearer what is actually involved in the post.

2. There would be a new voting system in the Council of Ministers, with a qualified majority requiring the support of a “double majority” of at least 55 per cent of countries who must also represent at least 65 per cent of the EU’s population.

CHANGED. The double majority voting system has been retained, but will be phased in from 2014 to meet Polish objections.

3. More decisions in the Council of Ministers would be by Qualified Majority Voting. Exceptions include subjects that are sensitive for national sovereignty, such as tax, social security, foreign policy and defence. These will continue to require unanimity.


4. More flexibility: where not all countries want to join in a new policy, arrangements can be made to allow groups of countries to do so and others not. Britain can opt-in or out of policies concerning frontiers, asylum and police and judicial cooperation.

REINFORCED. In fact, more flexibility/opt-out arrangements have now been introduced.

5. The European Commission will be reduced in size: fewer Commissioners, with member states taking it in turn to nominate Commissioners two times out of three.


6. The European Council (the three-monthly meetings of prime ministers) would choose a president to chair their meetings for 2½ years, replacing the current 6-monthly rotation


7. The size of the European Parliament would be capped.


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