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Meetings Calendar 2006
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The debate before the final assessment

 

Before the final assessment round, the topics addressed in the introductory speeches were taken up in depth in a plenary discussion which proved both comprehensive and rich in content. 

The Minister from the Netherlands, Atzo Nicolai, emphasised the role of the national parliaments in subsidiarity control and wanted to see this reinforced by concrete agreements with the European institutions. He also mentioned the EU Council and the role of the EU Court of Justice in this respect. 

The Belgian State Secretary Didier Donfut focused on the necessary proximity to citizens. The image of Europe had to become clearer in the eyes of its citizens. It was important not to retreat into national perspectives however, but to think in European terms in order to become more efficient together, because more efficiency also meant closer proximity to the citizens. 

Donfut said the European level should be more active in legislating on energy policy, whereby the national parliaments and the European Parliament had to be appropriately involved. A greater effort should be made to achieve harmonisation at all levels, taking a common-sense, objective approach.

Michel Delebarre, President of the Committee of the Regions, emphasised the control aspect in the interest of the citizens. In concrete terms he would like to see a more rapid implementation of European directives at national level, but he was at the same time in favour of getting closer to the citizens with the aid of better and more understandable policies which would also create more economic opportunities. Quoting Jean Jaures, he said one had to go through reality to attain the ideal. 

Julian Grenfell from the British House of Lords spoke of a genuine success story in connection with the better regulation initiative. He specifically advocated simpler European directives; the details should be dealt with in regulations, because laws should not be overloaded. 

The national parliaments were much closer to the citizens than were the European institutions and for that reason they should take appropriate account of the citizens' concerns and put their points of view across at European level. Grenfell stressed that the public had to see for themselves that members of parliament really did have the public's interests at heart. 

Subsequently a lively discussion ensued in the plenary session. A member of parliament from Germany commented that the first drafts of directives often betrayed absurd characteristics which then, even if they never came into force in this form, tended to stick in the memory. A bit more attention to detail in the early stages would be desirable here. An Irish member of parliament emphasised the aspect of closeness to the citizen whilst a representative from Finland referred to the significance of the local and regional level. More transparency, but also the involvement of the regional parliaments, were just as much a topic in the discussions as were the steps required for more political and social democracy in Europe. 

Finally, Member of Parliament Michael Spindelegger pointed out that subsidiarity had still not taken root. The reason for this was that the subsidiarity approach was not currently seen as something worthy of emulation. He was therefore advocating the foundation of a special subsidiarity prize, to be awarded yearly for particular merit in the field of subsidiarity.  

 

Date: 20.04.2006