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A President for Europe

Editor : Fondation Robert Schuman
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On Monday 24th February the Robert Schuman Foundation published its 12th Note "A president for Europe: to which end?"

The author of this work, Pierre Lequiller, who is President of the delegation for the National Assembly at the European Union, Member of the Convention on the Future of Europe finds it difficult to accept the artificial division between "communitarians" and the "intergouvernementalists". With a choice between either having a double or a single presidency of the European Council and the Commission, he believes the second option is the most ambitious.

As a preamble he confirms: "Reunified Europe would not be able to remain an object of unidentified policy for very long. It is urgent for Europe to undergo both deep and durable reform but conceptions diverge on the function of the European presidency".

In the first part, "what type of Presidency for Europe?", Pierre Lequiller establishes an overview of the situation. He reminds us of and analyses the three theses in hand by exploring the opinions of politicians quoting some extracts of the main speeches that have been delivered on this theme:

a President for the European Council, a proposal put forward by Aznar, Blair and Chirac, the so-called "ABC" proposal;

a head of Government of the Union, suggestions made by Robert Badinter, Jean-Louis Quermonne, Pervenche Berès the European Parliament's representative within the Convention.

The maintenance of a type of revolving Presidency, an option suggested by the European Commission and presented in the "Benelux Memorandum" (contribution delivered to the Convention on 11th December 2002. It puts forward the points of view of Michel Barnier, Jacques Delors, Guy Verhofstadt and Alain Lamassoure.

Each of these theses is concluded by a summary.

The first chapter is extended with a comparative table of the main suggestions by which the reader can perceive the detailed content of each of these.

In the second part of the publication, "How many Presidents for Europe?" Pierre Lequiller establishes the methods of setting up a dual and a single presidency along with the questions that are raised by each scenario.

He concludes this chapter with the Franco-German agreement of 14th January 2003 on the institutional architecture of Europe which he stresses is a "major contribution to the debate on the future of the institutions within the context of an enlarged Europe".

In conclusion Pierre Lequiller believes that the suggestion of a President for Europe - appointed by the European Council and confirmed by Congress - brings together the Presidency of the European Council and that of the Commission in response to a democratic imperative and a demand for efficiency in common activities.

"A President for Europe", which is as topical a theme as ever, by Pierre Lequiller comprises a concrete summary – illustrated by the thoughts of all those who have had a say on the theme - of the debate that is being launched on the presidency of Europe.
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Pierre Lequiller
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