One of the major developments achieved by
the European Constitution lies in clarifying how the
The complex nature of the "community machine" has too
often been the source of
citizens’ disinterest in the decisions
made by Europe, which are often deemed too ambiguous.
The Constitution defines the role and functions of each
institution in order to clarify the European political
The European Commission
Commission maintains its central role.
providing it with
major political influence.
Commission appointed after the application of the
Constitution (2009-2014) will comprise a Commissioner
from each Member State,
of Commissioners will correspond to two thirds of the
Member States (i.e.
18 in the Union of 27 after the accession of Romania and
Bulgaria). Commissioners will be selected based on a
rotating system of representation of the Member States.
new system proves to be effective, it will be due to the
reduction of the size of the Commission, which in turn
can facilitate reaching a consensus.
Another great advancement concerns
the President of the Commission
will be elected by the European
based on a proposal and consultation with
the European Council and the results of the European
This development presents a dual
it provides the President of the Commission with
democratic legitimacy, which is vital for an institution that
is often criticized as “disconnected” from its citizens. Finally,
this will invoke a new credibility in the European
elections and a greater participation of the European
electorate whose vote will influence the European
President for the Council of Europe
each Member State
presides over the European Union
with its Head of State as intermediary
for a six-month rotating term. This system hinders the
stability of the European Council’s agenda, which
represents the Heads of State and Government of the
Union and defines major European orientations.
innovation lies in the creation of a stable
Like the European Parliament and the Commission,
the European Council will have a full time president
mandate). He will be elected
qualified majority vote in
Council for a two and a half year, renewable
The President of the European Council
will provide the European Union with a voice and a face
by ensuring the Union's representation internationally
and by presiding over and coordinating the European
Council of Ministers
The Council of
Ministers' (comprising various groups according to the
such as economy and finance, agriculture,
etc …) main role is to vote
European laws with the European Parliament.
innovation lies in the fact that Council debates and
voting will be held in public,
which is presently not the case, which follows
the trend of
European Union. Apart from the specialist groups within
the Council of Ministers the Constitution
- The "General
Affairs Council" that ensures the coherence of the work
undertaken by the various groups within the Council.
- The "Foreign
Affairs Council" presided over by the new European
Foreign Affairs Minister who "establishes the Union's
external activities according to the strategic plan laid
modifying the voting method.
simple majority vote is utilized, the voting system in
the Council reflects the “weight” of each State in order
for a law to represent the voice of the majority of the
population of European citizens and the Member States’
This is defined as the
vote". In order to avoid the States with
vote” to form a
Council, the treaties
could only be adopted by a specific majority (qualified
requires a joint
approach between big and small States.
The Constitution will replace this
with a clearer and more democratic
based on the dual majority of the States and population.
law will be adopted within the Council if it meets the
approval of at least 55% of the Union's Member States (ie
EU27 = 15 Member States) representing at least 65% of
the Union's population. This new system is both
democratic but also more efficient in comparison with
established in the Nice Treaty.
facilitates the creation of majorities and therefore
decision-making, which is vital in a Union of 25
European Foreign Affairs Minister
heralds the creation of a European Foreign Affairs
Minister. It merges the present functions of
High Representative of the Common
Foreign and Security Policy, a position presently held
by Javier Solana, and the
European Commissioner for External Relations, a position presently held
by Ms. Benita Ferrero-Waldner. Consequentially,
this change will enhance the coherence and the unity of
the European Union’s external affairs. Appointed
by the European Council and invested by the European
Parliament, he will be the Vice President of the
European Commission and will preside over the Council
for Foreign Affairs within the Council of Ministers.
Parliament: a strengthened institution
The European Constitution increases the
powers of the European Parliament, both in legislative,
and political control, increasing the
democratization of the European Union
(see link with Sheet 1).
the Constitution satisfies the requests
countries to increase their representation,
explaining the increase in the minimum number of MP's
from 4 to 6. However the maximum number of Euro MP's is
limited to 750.
Consequentially, the number of Germany’s representatives
decreases from 99 to 96, while the number of seats held
by the UK and France remains the same.
These will be the
rules governing the composition of the European
is responsible for the respect and interpretation of
Union law across its entire territory and for the
settlement of any conflicts between Member States, the
Union and the Member States, and also between the
institutions and private parties
Fondation Robert Schuman
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