EU conference backs deeper integration, right-wingers pull out

European politicians at a conference set up to revamp the EU signed off Saturday on a blueprint for deeper integration, prompting a group of right-wing MEPs to withdraw from the project.

The Conference on the Future of Europe was established last year with the aim of bringing citizens and politicians from across the EU together to come up with ideas to overhaul the bloc.

At a session in Strasbourg on Saturday, the conference plenary — composed of representatives of EU institutions, national parliaments and citizens’ panels — approved more than 300 proposals. They include the abolition of national vetos, granting the European Parliament the right to propose legislation, more investment in climate change mitigation, the launch of “joint armed forces” and transnational voting lists.

The text notes there was a “difference of views” as to whether the accession of new EU countries should still require current members’ unanimous agreement and “a range of views” on the “extent to which there should be joint armed forces.”

“I’m really very touched today because this is a historic moment for our European democracy,” Dubravka Šuica, the European Commissioner for Democracy and Demography, told reporters. “I’m more than happy because we engaged citizens and citizens [were] very engaged and they really surprised me.”

The proposals now go to the conference’s executive board, which is expected to present the final report to the presidents of the EU institutions on May 9. How much of the plans will become reality depends to a large extent on the EU’s member governments, many of whom have not expressed great enthusiasm for the project.

“There was a lot of skepticism in the beginning of this whole process,” said MEP Guy Verhofstadt of the Renew Europe group, a co-chair of the executive board alongside Šuica. But now, he argued, “everybody has seen that it was a very serious undertaking and … a very promising way forward for the European Union.”

A wide range of European lawmakers — from the center-right European People’s Party to The Left group — lent their support to the proposals.

“The federal state of #Europe will become reality!” tweeted Green MEP Niklas Nienaß. “This will shape the world forever!”

But that’s not music to everyone’s ears.

MEPs from the right-wing Identity and Democracy (ID) and European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) groups refused to support the proposals, arguing that they don’t reflect public opinion in the EU.

“The selection of citizens participating in the Conference was itself very flawed,” the ECR group said in a statement. “Research shows that citizens who are in favour of a more centralised Union were much more likely to accept an invitation to participate in the citizens’ panels of the Conference than those more sceptical.”

The group said it rejects “the idea“

“Walking out of this farce was the only right move,” said Swedish ECR MEP Charlie Weimers on Twitter.



Source by [author_name]

Latest

Biden Planned To Tap Anti-Abortion Lawyer For Judgeship Day Roe Overturned: Emails

President Joe Biden planned to nominate an anti-abortion lawyer...

South African leader decries tavern teen deaths

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said the deaths of...

Photos: One million Muslims start Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca

Pilgrims gathered for dawn prayers and performed the initial...

In Talks With Chinese Counterpart, EAM Jaishankar Discusses Early Resolution of Outstanding Issues at LAC

During his meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi...

Patients with rare diseases hope for Brexit-hastened treatments

This article is the product of a POLITICO Working Group. Post-Brexit U.K. is looking for fields where it can get ahead of the EU — and...

4 key questions on the EU’s shift to more sustainable chemicals

This article is the product of a POLITICO Working Group. The EU aims to revamp its approach to chemicals as part of its long-term zero pollution...

Spanish foreign minister presses EU to retrain focus on migration

MADRID — Spain wants the EU to revive its perpetually dormant migration talks after Madrid secured a related NATO pledge last week.  During an interview...