Friday, 19 March 2010

Lisbon wars - The Council fights back

On Wednesday, your humble blogger reported about the letter from the European Parliament's international trade committee to the Council demanding more involvement in international trade matters. In the draft reply from the Council you can see that the other side is fighting back.

First slap in the face:
While the Parliament's consent is required for the conclusion of trade agreements where Article 207 TFEU is the substantive legal base, Article 218 (7) TFEU provides for the possibility for the Council to authorise the negotiator to approve on behalf of the Union modifications to an agreement through a simplified procedure. Furthermore, Article 218 (9) provides for the establishment of positions to be adopted on the Union's behalf in a body set up by an agreement, when that body is called upon to adopt acts having legal effects. In both these cases the consent of the Parliament is not required.
Or, in other words: "You didn't make your homework by reading the full Lisbon Treaty. Plus, if we want to ignore you, we will find ways."

Second slap in the face:
[A] regularly updated calendar of the meetings of all the Council's preparatory bodies can be consulted on the Council's website [...].
In plain English: "Don't ask stupid question that you could answer yourself if you took a look to the Council website." The slap in the face is even harder if you look into the Annex where there are nothing but links to public sources everybody used to EU stuff could easily find.

Third slap in the face (last sentence of the draft reply):
Since commercial policy is, by definition, directed towards our international partners, both the Council and the Parliament will wish that the new arrangements will strengthen the EU's performance in this part of the international arena.
My translation: "If you don't behave, the EU will look bad on the international scene. So behave!"

Okay, I admit that I only picked out some parts and that there are some more positive points regarding joint consultations and the new rights or the European Parliament. Yet, these are carefully framed, and nicely embedded into sentences saying that cooperation has been good anyway.

So it's obvious that now is the time that each institutions defends its claims, and why should the Council truckle to the European Parliament?


Anonymous said...

I don't know about the rest of it but I love the title!

Julien Frisch said...