The EU slapped down MEPs' reform proposals last night
Three proposals, put forward by MEPs from across the political spectrum, called for wide-ranging changes including increasing the eurozone’s budget capacity and moving the Parliament itself away from Strasbourg.
MEPs also proposed creating an EU finance minister and a permanent council of defence ministers – policies which were approved with hundreds of votes each last night.
But critics accused the group of politicians, which included Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt, of coming up with proposals similar to those which helped contribute to the populist uprising across Europe.
Barbara Spinelli said they “put forward technical and quicker institutional solutions to perpetrate exactly the same policies which had first led us into this crisis”.
Guy Verhofstadt, well-placed as the Parliament’s Brexit negotiator to understand the rising anger at how the bloc is run, welcomed the proposals.
The EU is experiencing a populist backlash across the bloc
He said: “These reports give the blueprint of what a more perfect Union should look like.
“I know we can have a strong, powerful, respected European Union and at the same time have flourishing local and national democracies.”
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Continued cooperation with the EU to tackle terrorism and international crime.
MEP Mercedes Bresso, who put forward a proposal along with Mr Verhofstadt, said changes were necessary to regain the trust of EU citizens.
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She said: “We are proposing new steps to make a better Europe that is more efficient and closer to its citizens.”
Guy Verhofstadt said the proposals were necessary to make the EU stronger
However Brussels immediately slapped down their suggestions and said change was “not top of the agenda”.
Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans said the Parliament’s requests were not a priority for the European Union.
He said: “While it is refreshing to see such vision, we have to acknowledge that treaty change is not at the top of the political agenda now.”
He acknowledged the bloc was going through “times of turmoil” and said more focus should instead by put on policies “that unite us”.
The European Commission said the Parliament's requests were not at the top of the agenda
Three other MEPs blasted the proposal to permanently move the Parliament from Strasbourg to Brussels.
They said in a statement: “Regrouping all the activities of the European Parliament in Brussels means turning its back on the symbolic dimension of Strasbourg, the capital of peace and European democracy.”
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