Politics & Economics

European Treaties Reform: The Need for a Clearer Stance

March 2024
By Gianni Pittella

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On November 22, the European Parliament approved a proposal for the reform of the European treaties following the Conference on the Future of Europe. Among the main proposals of the MEPs are an increase in the decisions by qualified majority in the Council and the cases subject to the ordinary legislative procedure with a sharing of some key competences, legislative initiative rights for the European Parliament, and the role of co-legislator for the long-term budget, the revision of the rules for the composition of the European Commission, which would become similar to a European executive, and greater transparency for the Council’s work by publishing the positions of the EU Member States on legislative matters.

Following the approval by the European Parliament, the Spanish Presidency of the Council transmitted everything to the European Council, which, predictably, is procrastinating. Indeed, a discussion on the subject is not planned in the European Council, due to the usual national dynamics ahead of the European elections. In Italy, the situation is currently stagnant.

The Government has a position of not being preemptively hostile towards European positions, and Eurosceptic impulses from parts of the right-wing, in particular the League, seem marginal, which appears to have lost any kind of influence on European institutional affairs and foreign policy, despite frequent and embarrassing statements by Matteo Salvini against Europe and in support of Russia. However, and this mainly concerns Fratelli d’Italia, there remains a certain ambiguity about what kind of Europe the Government really desires, and whether Italy is willing to accept the realization of institutional reforms.

Institutional reforms require a reform of the treaties, and Commissioner Borrell seems right when he says that to increase European integration in the field of foreign policy and defense, it is necessary to go through a reform of the treaties. The same applies to investments: the transition to a permanent mechanism of European investments, based on own resources, needs a reform that establishes a European federal budget.

On all these issues, the Italian government has not yet expressed itself. The European elections could be a good time to reflect on these topics, but I fear the discussion will focus on minor national dynamics that would not do justice to a founding country like Italy. The fact remains that the defense of sovereignty, so advocated by the right, can only come through the sharing of national sovereignties that gives rise to a true European sovereignty.