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Rome, 6th January 2003

Components: Andrea Ajello, Marco Amici, Tiziana Torelli
University coordinator: Federiga Bindi

On the basis of the draft prepared by the European Convention, the summaries of the Working Group meetings, the contributions that where therein presented and the recently-published final report, our Study Group elaborated some proposals on different aspects of the European Union External Action. We decided to concentrate our attention on such issues as:
1) Development co-operation and foreign trade
2) International agreements
3) Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and the role of the High Representative (HR)
4) International representation of the Union

Our contributions are inspired to the beliefs that collective action has positive effects on foreign policy solutions. Member States that act alone in International Organisations, Development Aid programmes, peace-keeping actions and external issues in general, usually rely on a limited amount of resources and encounter the risk of overlapping their competencies with other countries’.

Setting common means, strategies and targets could promote a serious debate on the Union external policy and, in the meantime, strengthen the members’ positions on the global stage. As quoted in the contribution number 77 of the 13th August 2002 “the EU Member States hold over 30% of quotas in the International Monetary Fund (with the Eurozone accounting for about 23%), whereas the US has only around 17%. Yet the US, and to a lesser extent the G7, determine the IMF agenda and decisions”. Moreover the EU as a whole is the largest source of development aid funds in the world, its budget accounting to over Euro 6 billion although it still has some difficulties in defining its role in the management of war crises and humanitarian missions. The lack of sufficient resources and the rigidity of its institutional framework make it unable to present alternative proposals and solutions on international fora.

Moreover these proposals and solutions find other obstacles in the difficulty of defining a common position on several matters (more evidently on common defence) and in the lack of a single representation. >From our point of view the Constitution should promote the adoption of resolutions uniformed to a general European interest rather than a perpetual research of a multilateral consensus among the Members.

We are aware that the EU needs a coherent body of institutions and an effective checks-and-balances system to modify this situation. In our opinion the efforts of the Convention should be directed to increasing the degree of democracy in the formation of the consensus particularly on foreign policy issues and to give the EU more decisional power.

In this framework we elaborated some proposals that try to harmonise the joint action of the Council, the Commission, the Parliament and the High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy (HR for CFSP). In particular we considered the hypothesis of reinforcing the role of the European Parliament in monitoring the external action of the Union and we proposed to diminish the importance of inter-governmental agreements while supporting the political role of the Commission.

A great deal of attention was dedicated to institutional issues. We tried to critically analyse both the existing situation and the ideas expressed in the Convention to propose a personal view based on such values as democracy, representation and balance of powers.

International Agreements

1. Negotiations

The mandate to the Commission to negotiate an international agreement shall be given according to a joint decision of the Parliament and the Council.

Nowadays the mandate to negotiate an international agreement on trade issues is given by the Council to the Commission without consulting the Parliament. Our idea is to give the Parliament a relevant role in the negotiation of all international agreements. The final directives shall therefore be agreed upon by both the Member States and the EP.

Development Co-operation and Trade

1. Aid to development

National and European funds devolved to development co-operation shall be merged and dealt with by the Union as a whole.

Merging the different sources of funding together would help setting up larger programmes and defining more challenging objectives.

2. Programme administration

The Commission shall be in charge of the implementation of the programmes together with Member States and agencies built according to geographical specialisation.

The implementation of development programmes could enhance the role of the Commission in foreign policy and create the basis for closer relationships between third countries and the Union in the future. On the other hand the assistance of geographically-oriented agencies could preserve a role for the Member States and their preferential diplomatic relationships.

3. Trade

The Union shall underline the importance of fair access to international trade for all countries in the relevant contexts, supporting development co-operation programmes with harmonised trade policies.

Helping developing countries means supporting them with specifically devolved resources and promoting their economic growth through international trade. Tariffs and quotas should therefore be abolished especially on those goods that are more likely to be exported during the early stage of development (agricultural and manufacturing products). Harmonising trade policies and development aid funds is the only way to be coherent with the final purpose.

Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)

1. High representative and External Action Commissioner

The Vice-President of the Commission shall act as Foreign Minister of the European Union (FMEU), combining the roles of the present HR for CFSP and the External Action Commissioner. The FMEU shall be appointed by the European Council, in agreement with the Parliament.
He/she shall take decisions based on mandates of the Council - jointly adopted with the Parliament in case of international agreements - on one side and on his/her own initiatives on the other.
The FMEU shall periodically refer to the European Commission on the implementation of his/her objectives on CFSP.
In his/her capacity as External Relations Commissioner he shall be a full member of the College and thereby subject to the relevant dispositions.
In both the configurations the Parliament shall have the right to table a motion of censure against the FMEU

We considered the hypothesis of introducing the double hatting principle to speed up the decisional process and harmonise the actions of the different institutions involved in CFSP. In particular we propose the mandates on CFSP matters to be appointed by the Council (together with the EP in case of international agreements) in order to consolidate the support of governments and peoples in the decisional process.
If the Parliament did not have the right to table a motion of censure against the FMEU we propose an alternative solution: the mandates should be conferred exclusively by the Council but the implementation of CFS policies should be subject to a final endorsement of the College of Commissioners.

2. Voting in CFSP

The Council should adopt the Qualified Majority Voting (QMV) rule in CFSP decision making.
In case of disagreements on CFSP issues (excluding the case of personnel deployment) Member States could decide to adopt a constructive abstention in the voting process.
The principle of enhanced cooperation shall be encouraged to preserve specific national and geographical competencies in the management of foreign relations

We all agree that the effectiveness of the Common foreign policy is strictly connected to the voting mechanism. This will be more and more the case with the entrance of the 12 new Members in 2004.
Unanimity in CFSP issues is a constraint to the speed of reaction of the Union and it often favours the adoption of one of the national positions instead of the formulation of a common proposal.
These two consequences undermine the credibility of the Union as an international player. Therefore we propose the introduction of the QMV rule maintaining a collateral role for national foreign policies through the enhanced cooperation and the constructive abstention principles.

Common Representation

1. Participation in International Organisations and multilateral negotiations

EU Member States shall co-ordinate and defend a same position within International Organisations and in multilateral negotiations, adopting a single spokesperson, when possible.

We understand that the most difficult task towards a common position in foreign affairs is the definition of a notion of “general interest of the Union”. We therefore propose the EU starts acting with a single voice in areas where the differences between Members are limited.

3. External Representation

The FMEU shall support the President of the European Commission in the external representation of the Union, replacing the current Troika.
A common diplomatic academy shall be constituted under the Presidency of the Commission. Member States shall be encouraged to form joint embassies in third countries

The representation of the EU should be transferred from the Troika to the President of the Commission to give a sense of continuity to the external action. An active role could be played by the FMEU and by a common diplomatic body in the management of foreign policy.

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