Today, Guy Verhofstadt’s report on the reform of the European Union has been approved in the European Parliament's AFCO committee by a large majority
The Verhofstadt report prioritises a drastic rationalisation of the EU architecture: “The European Commission would become a real government. Foreign policy and fiscal matters are at the heart of citizens' concerns. That is why the High Representative for Foreign Affairs will become a real EU Foreign Minister and will get an EU Finance Minister next to her or him. These two ministers will become the Commission’s Vice-Presidents, accountable to the Council and Parliament. We want to move away from the intergovernmental method and create real capacities to act in the European interest."
Also the role of the Council and the Parliament will be reviewed: “They are the co-legislators put on an equal footing. The Parliament will gain full budgetary powers, on the expenditure and revenue side. The Council will be reformed. Instead of the long list of thematic Councils we have today, each of them having decision power, there should be only one single Council - representing the states - that decides. The specialised councils will do the preparatory work, exactly like the committees do this in the Parliament.”
A rationalization is especially required in the economic field: "A real fiscal capacity will be put in place to deal with economic shocks in the eurozone. The monitoring of national budgets and the necessary reforms in the member states will be managed by a new convergence code that guarantees a better enforcement of rules. Moreover, only MEPs from eurozone countries will be able to decide on eurozone matters."
To deal with matters of internal and external security, the Verhofstadt report proposes the creation of a full-fledged, European defence union. Verhofstadt concludes: “From the Greek crisis to the refugee crisis, our fellow citizens have only been able to see the impotence of Europe. Brexit offers the opportunity to redefine our Europe, its project, its functioning.
The commemoration of the founding Treaty of Rome in March should mark a new beginning for the European Union. But some things cannot wait until treaty change, as foreseen in this report. Therefore, the ability to keep European citizenship for those who risk losing it will be on the table of the upcoming Brexit negotiations and will be discussed at the moment of the Parliament's resolution, right after the triggering of Article 50 in March.”