The European Parliament's Role in Closer Eu Integration

By Richard Corbett | Go to book overview

5
Reform within the Treaties
The second strand of the elected Parliament's initial approach was to press for institutional reform within the existing treaties. As we saw at the beginning of the previous chapter, treaty revision was not initially seen as a realistic or attractive option. On the other hand, the prospect for institutional reform within the treaties, notably by means of interinstitutional agreements, was held to be possible, with MEPs looking to the precedents of the Joint Declaration with the Council and the Commission on the Conciliation Procedure (see chapter 4) and the ‘Luns-Westerterp procedures’ whereby Council had agreed to involve Parliament more closely in discussions on international agreements with third countries. 1 As explained by Klaus Hänsch:‘It is a realistic [approach] confined to what can be done up to 1984, the year of the second direct elections. . . . We must be able to show that we have actually achieved something. . . . The Treaty could not be amended by 1984, even if that was what was wanted, because the time is too short. 2On 12 October 1979 a subcommittee of the Political Affairs Committee was set up to deal with institutional problems. It was given the specific task of investigating relations between the EP and other institutions. Work was to proceed in two stages: a first stage was to lead to the adoption by the EP of a series of proposals, whilst the second stage was intended ‘to ensure their implementation as a result of a continuous dialogue with the institutions to which those proposals were addressed’. 3 Eight rapporteurs were appointed and their reports concerned:
the right of legislative initiative and the role of the EP in the legislative process of the Community: Van Miert (B/Soc);
relations between the EP and the Council of the Community: Hänsch (D/Soc);
relations between the EP and the Commission with a view to the appointment of a new Commission: Rey (B/Lib);
relations between the EP and national parliaments: Nothomb (B/EPP) then (when he left the EP to become Foreign Affairs Minister in Belgium) Diligent (F/EPP);
European political cooperation and the role of the EP: Lady Elles (UK/EDG);

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