23/12/2011 Alain Lamassoure: ‘We don’t really need a new European treaty’

The creation of a new treaty, which heads of states and governments agreed on during the last European council, will involve the European Parliament. asked French Euro-deputy Alain Lamassoure (EPP) what kind of role it will play. The European Parliament will put forward the first propositions on the forthcoming treaty in January. How is that going?

A. Lamassoure: 
After the European councils proposition to create a new treaty on 9 December , the president of the council, Herman Van Rompuy, suggested that the representatives from the European Parliament should be involved in the drafting of this text.

On Monday 20 December the first meeting of the working group of high level staff and representatives of the Parliament took place. The next day the latter gave an account of what happened to the joint meeting of the Inter-institutional Affairs Commission and the Commission of Economic and monetary affairs.

Also, after the Council meeting, the presidents of the group decided that the Parliament could give its suggestions early next year, at the end of January or start of February. This is as the Lisbon treaty allows the Parliament, like the Commission, to take the initiative on an European treaty, which wasn’t the case previously.
What will this new treaty be like? Will it add in the amendments and additions that Van Rompuy wants? Will it be any different? In reality, nobody really knows... You worked on the European Convention on the Lisbon treaty. In your opinion, is the idea of having a text by March realistic?

A . Lamassoure:
Yes, there is already a draft in circulation. Personally though, I remain quite sceptical about the use of such a text and its contents. But getting the signature of at least all the Euro zone countries, and possibly the 26 that supported this political initiative is not inconceivable.

The text that details the Council’s conclusions is actually quite short and I would say quite concise. We could achieve an agreement in a few weeks. It’s a mini-treaty, it’s nothing like the quasi-constitution that the Lisbon Treaty was. 9 member states outside of the Euro zone want to participate in this agreement. Despite the British veto, is this a positive thing for the EU?

A. Lamassoure:
Yes it’s very positive, as it means that 26 out of 27 countries in the Union are totally convinced that the way out of this financial crisis is through a common effort and European integration and unity.

The problem is that I don’t see how we can translate this political idea into legal reality. The legal aspect of a new treaty would not add a lot, we need to give it political meaning. With the Lisbon treaty we have all that we need to launch new European common policies.

So we need to highlight common European policies, which we can create easily, without waiting for a new European treaty that we don’t really need. François Hollande said that if he is elected he will ensure the treaty is renegotiated. Could we revisit the text?

A. Lamassoure:
Mr. Hollande said he will renegotiate is but we still don’t know the content of the as there is no text, clearly everything is negotiable!
However, if the treaty is signed, past experience shows us that it is basically impossible to renegotiate a text.

What is more, when the right won the elections in 1986, it did not question the Single European Act negotiated by François Mitterrand. In the same way as the Maastricht treaty was not renegotiated in 1993. However the right did want it to be qualified by other texts.

I think that François Hollande should wait to read the content of the text, or indeed make suggestions as to its content: no one is saying that the French can’t oppose it, as the German opposition have. They have said what they would like to see in a new treaty.
If a political

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