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EU Lawmakers Pitch Sweeping Treaty Reform

BRUSSELS — A group of European lawmakers plan to pitch a long-shot reform of the EU’s basic treaty that, if approved, would radically alter the way it functions, according to a draft obtained by POLITICO.

The draft proposal — which is dated August 17 and was written by six members of the European Parliament on a committee for constitutional affairs — proposes a wholesale shift away from the unanimous decision-making in the Council of the EU. Instead, it advocates for qualified majority voting and normal legislative procedure in a range of areas including defense, taxation and foreign policy.

The draft also proposes renaming the European Commission the “European Executive” and drastically expanding the powers of Parliament, as well as granting EU institutions exclusive competence — or the right to negotiate on behalf of its members — to decide on environmental and climate matters.

The draft obtained by POLITICO was signed by Flemish Belgian Open Liberals and Democrats member Guy Verhofstadt, German Christian Democrat Sven Simon, German Social Democrat Gabriele Bischoff, German Green Daniel Freund, German Left member Helmut Scholz and Jacek Saryusz-Wolski of the Polish Law and Justice party.

Saryusz-Wolski withdrew his support from the draft in August, afterward writing to the other authors that the proposal was “a completely ill-considered and disproportionate shift in decision-making toward highly centralized structures escaping democratic control.”

An EU diplomat briefed on the plans, who was granted anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on record, dismissed the proposal as unlikely to ever win support from European capitals. “It’s a provocation … In Council, there is no majority for treaty change.”


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