Associate Professor Puiu Hașotti
Minister of Culture 2012
Member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Levant Culture and Civilization
Before any debate on ideas can commence, I would like to put forward the necessity that the European Union function on the basis of a Constitution, and not on the basis of one or several treaties. Of course, this idea is not new, and has been supported, among others, by Valery Giscard d’Estaing, on the occasion of the Convention on the Future of Europe. Unfortunately, however, it has never materialised, due to the turgid bureaucracy of the EU and the regulations that required the unanimous consent of all 27 member states.
To begin with, I would like to put forward two general observations which, at least in principle, were agreed upon not only during the Convention, but on many other occasions, if only declaratively:
- Europe is in need of a strategic emancipation, in order to become more important on the international stage and in order to enhance its contribution to strengthening Euro-Atlantic ties. This would reinforce the development of security policies within the European community and, to the same extent, expand its foreign policy reach.
- The European Union’s security and defence policy is a complex process, which must involve every single fundamental institution of the Union at large.
To these two guiding principles I would like to add several other ideas, designed to fortify the Union’s common security policies and, inherently, foster cohesion between its member states:
- The renunciation of the general rule on unanimity, with the exception of any and all decisions that involve military action. The rule of unanimity would be then replaced with that of a so-called “doubly-qualified majority”. The European Council would continue to play the main role, accompanied, however, by the Commission and the Parliament.
- 2The European Commission must, in turn, have the initiative in matters of defence, alongside a designated “European Minister for Foreign Affairs”.
- A future Constitution of the EU should outline a clearly defined role for the European Commission to play in various international negotiations, as well as representing the Union in international organizations.
- The role of the European Parliament must be strengthened, and the right for it to be consulted in certain scenarios enshrined in the Constitution. These scenarios include: 1) the appointment of any Special Representatives of the European Union by the European Council; 2) when the Council adopts decisions related to regulations that govern negotiations. Furthermore, the Parliament should also gain the right to be informed in other situations: when decisions related to security and defence are taken; related to the EU’s collaboration with various international structures; and regarding strict cooperation in the military field.
- The establishment of a European Armament Agency and of an Agency for Strategic Research, whose activity should be overseen by Parliament.
The above are merely a few ideas that I believe would be necessary, primarily for the purpose of strengthening the European Union as a whole, by reinforcing cohesion between member states and by establishing clearer relationships between the fundamental institutions of the Union which would, as a consequence, naturally become stronger and more efficient.