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08-10-2003EP in discussie met Raad over Grondwet-onderhandelingen tijdens Europese Raad 16-17 oktober
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The day after an EU foreign minister meeting on the draft Constitution saw positions further entrenched, European Parliament representatives have criticised member states for putting the talks into jeopardy.
"There are too many governments that obviously didn't take the Convention [which drew up the treaty blueprint] seriously", said Klaus Hšnsch, German Socialist MEP.
His colleague Inigo Mendez de Vigo, a Spanish centre-right MEP, expressed frustration at the fact that at each consecutive meeting, ministers simply state their government's position and no more.
"After that lengthy, fascinating and difficult process [in the Convention], we thought we've heard this already", said the Spaniard on Tuesday morning to journalists.
Nibbling away at the Constitution
Commenting on yesterday's meeting which saw member states completely split on the future make-up of the Commission and on whether the new foreign minister should actually be called a minister or simply a representative, Mr de Vigo said, "governments are nibbling away at the Constitution".
Mr Hšnsch criticised governments for showing a lack of understanding for the whole compromise package and being "archaic in their naivety".
This follows the member states' rejection of the legislative council at the very first meeting in Rome (4 October).
The legislative council would have meant that member states' foreign ministers would have adopted EU laws in open sessions. The idea was greatly supported by the European Parliament as it would provide a legislative chamber and introduce transparency to the system.
No power - only words
The European Parliament representatives, however, are well aware of where they are on the IGC (intergovernmental conference) playing field.
Here is where the member states call the shots - as each can play the veto card.
"All we have is the power of our words" says Mr Mendez de Vigo phlegmatically.
However, others are not surprised at yesterday's result and do not think it heralds a complete unravelling of the text. "No one expected any hard deals to be reached", a Brussels diplomat told the EUobserver.
All countries are waiting until everything is out in the open and discussed. Only after that will states really put their cards on the table - most likely at the end of the November, continued the diplomat.