European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering this morning welcomed the agreement on a new Treaty as „a great success for the European Parliament, a victory for the European Union and for all its citizens.”
„This is a very good result on a matter which is crucial to the future of the European Union, and which the European Parliament has made its top priority. With this Treaty, Parliament obtains co-decision over almost all Community legislation and sees its political role considerably strengthened.” President Pöttering also stressed that the Charter of Fundamental Rights will be binding, with the same legal status as the Treaties.
„This is a very significant step forward for European citizens, and it needs to be given proper prominence and attention.” A formal proclamation of the Charter by the Presidents of the three EU institutions will take place in the European Parliament on 12 December, the day before the signing of the Treaties. Regarding the distribution of seats in the European Parliament, President Pöttering welcomed the fact that Parliament's own proposal had been taken up almost in full and that a solution which was acceptable to all had been found.
This solution does not call into question the right of the Parliament's President to take part in plenary session votes. The three representatives of the European Parliament at the Intergovernmental Conference, Elmar Brok, Enrique Barón Crespo and Andrew Duff, also saw the summit outcome as very positive. In particular, they stressed that the appointment of the new High Representative for foreign policy would take place in a way which fully respects the prerogatives of the European Parliament, including in the case that a High Representative is appointed for the period before the June 2009 elections and the appointment of a new European Commission.
According to the new Treaty, the European Council will need to take account of the European election results when proposing a candidate to Parliament for the Commission presidency. President Pöttering also expressed his confidence that the new Treaties would enter into force before the European elections of June 2009. He added that he was pleased that the main achievements of the Constitutional Treaty had been preserved, albeit with additional British opt-outs. (EP Press)