The Constitution comes out of the coma. MEPs seize the debate

(Archives B2) Several months have passed since the French and Dutch double No to the Constitution. Things have since calmed down a bit. The personal wounds are not healed but the resentments seem less vivid. And the debate on the need to move Europe forward is resurfacing.

On the side of heads of state, statements have multiplied in recent weeks. Without any real consistency. While the Dutch government proclaimed " the constitution is dead and did not want to organize a new vote; in Germany or Spain, it was stubbornly reminded that this text, approved by a majority of States, must be applied (1). Jacques Chirac advocated returning to a " group of pioneer countries ”… A very French fad that no one wants in Europe anymore, including in our traditional partner, Germany. The new Chancellor Angela Merkel reaffirmed this recently. In this ambient cacophony, Austria, which holds the presidency of the Union, will find it very difficult to draw a guideline for the six months that its presidency lasts.

The European Parliament, which has always had the role of agitator of ideas in this matter, has understood this well. Without further ado, two of its members - one Austrian Green, the other British Liberal, both fine specialists in institutional affairs, decided to shake the coconut tree. And to propose to their colleagues to take initiatives, by discussing with their national counterparts and by calling for the establishment of citizens' forums in each Member State.

The observation of the two duettists is clear: the Constitution is not dead but it is not applicable as it is, nor untouchable. " Everyone agrees on the need for reflection, which will probably end with a decision being taken at the end of 2007 — says British Liberal Andrew Duff. " We can improve, modify this text “, he completes And, underlines, Johannes Voggenhuber “ Who, apart from Parliament, can still defend the constitutional process. "

What to do ? In detail, the two friends are careful, even if they have some idea, to advance on this slippery slope. Not all MEPs are keen on the idea of ​​resuming the constitutional debate, particularly among the Socialists or the conservatives of the European People's Party. But, points out Andrew Duff, We must genuinely respond to the concerns expressed, particularly on the economic and social situation ».

NB: Parliament will debate the future of Europe on Wednesday in Strasbourg before a vote on Thursday.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

(1) Like any European treaty, this text must be ratified in all the Member States to enter into force.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).