Sant votes against resolution calling for convention to revise EU treaties: ‘It’s a bad idea’

Labour MEP Alfred Sant says the agenda for a convention to revise EU treaties includes extending qualified majority voting that disadvantages small states

Labour MEP Alfred Sant
Labour MEP Alfred Sant

Alfred Sant voted against a European Parliament resolution that called for a convention to revise existing EU Treaties, insisting this included extending qualified majority voting.

The Labour MEP and former prime minister said replacing unanimity with qualified majority voting on key aspects of EU decision-making will further the interests of the larger member states.

“Qualified majority voting would pave the way for wide-ranging federalist changes to how the European Union operates including in defence and security matters… such approaches would only further the interests and views of the larger Member States to the detriment of smaller ones,” Sant said.

Following the conclusions of the Conference on the Future of Europe in May, a resolution on the call for a convention for the revision of the Treaties was drafted for a plenary vote. The resolution was adopted with 355 votes in favour, 154 against and 48 abstentions.

Sant voted against the resolution, insisting that treaty reform via a convention “is a bad idea”.

The main objective of the European Parliament resolution is to propose institutional changes. It puts forward several proposals such as giving more power to the European Union to reform voting procedures, provide the European Parliament with full co-decision rights on the European budget and introduce provisions enabling the enhancement of common security and defence policies.

Sant highlighted that no matter how worthy the members of the Conference on the Future of Europe are, they do not have the democratic legitimacy that would justify taking action on their proposals. “Their selection and work procedures were organised along lines that in reality were defined by self-selecting and pre-determined, possibly elitist criteria,” he stressed.

Referring to his own experience, as an ex-member of the 2002 Convention on the European Constitution, which he described as a complete debacle, Sant argued that a treaty reform via a convention is a bad idea.

“At this stage, Europe should continue to develop as a Europe of the nations in the best sense of the Gaullist tradition,” he said, justifying his vote against the EP resolution.

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