December 19, 2004

Political Agreement

The EU Council Rules of Procedure provide for a two-stage decision process.

Member States can find "political agreement" on a position in one Council meeting and then "formally adopt" it as a so-called A-item at a later meeting.

The Rules of Procedure say in Article 3, Paragraph 8 that any Member State can force a vote at the later meeting. See also this earlier post.

However, the enemies of democracy running the Council now seem to think that there is an unwritten rule that prevents Member States from actually doing that if they are opposed to a proposal at the time of the later meeting.

This is clearly the exact opposite of what the text of the Rules of Procedure says.

And if that position was true, there would be no point in having any "formal adoption" in a later meeting in the first place. All "political agreements" would be final. That would mean a major shift in the whole construction of the Rules of Procedure.

For example, that would mean that in turn all safeguards against hastily adopted decisions no one has had a chance to read or discuss (like all requirements on translations or minimum time frames for agenda decisions) would need to be cleared at the earlier time of the "political agreement".

So this is a test case. Either Article 3 Paragraph 8 has some meaning or not. We will see in a couple of days what happens.

Posted by Karl-Friedrich Lenz at December 19, 2004 10:01 AM | TrackBack