EUROPEAN CONVENTION: PRAESIDIUM MEPS FACE FIERCE CRITICISM FROM THEIR PEERS.
Mrs Beres also criticised Title II on citizenship and fundamental rights, arguing that its articles pick and choose among the fundamental rights contained in the Charter, which is not a promise of clear integration as a part of the Constitution but possibly as a mere Protocol. This criticism was taken up and extended to Title I by Elena Paciotti (PES, Italy), who argues that articles 2 (values) and 3 (objectives) echo certain Charter provision but ignore others. Carlos Carnero (PES, Spain) described this as "a step backwards". Hanja Maij-Weggen (EPP, Netherlands) meanwhile regretted the withdrawal from article 1 of the reference to "an ever closer Union" and expressed surprise that article 6 on non discrimination was not reserved solely for EU citizens.
Mrs Maij-Weggen and Mr Rack nevertheless consider that overall, the draft articles reflect the European Parliament's Resolutions, a view shared by Teresa Almeida-Garrett (EPP, Portugal) and, with reservations, by Helle Thorning-Schmidt (PES, Denmark), who regards them as "a good basis for discussion", provided a number of unfortunate formulas in certain linguistic versions are reviewed.
Klaus Hansch insisted "we are not alone on the Praesidium where we have defended Parliament's point of view", though he added "these articles are the fruit of a compromise with the other components" of the Praesidium, pointing by way of example to the internal market. "We were alone in seeking to establish it as an exclusive competence, but did at least succeed in establishing the four freedoms as an exclusive competence". Responding more specifically to Maria Berger (PES, Austria), who is insisting on the inclusion of the Euratom Treaty in the future Constitutional Treaty, Mr Hansch suggested this does not raise any legal problems "since a solution could stem from the principle of legal personality and the simplification of the Treaties". He suggested that Euratom might be included in the second part as a common policy, but acknowledged this raises political questions. "Many Member States fear that if Euratom were to be integrated in the Treaty, public opinion would establish a link on ratification between Nuclear energy and the Constitution". One needs to weigh up the fact that, once established as a common policy, nuclear energy would gain a constitutional value, a development that all are not prepared to conceive, according to Mr Hansch.
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|Title Annotation:||Members of the European Parliament engage in contentious debate|
|Date:||Feb 12, 2003|
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