The June European election results must be taken into account when nominating the President of the new Commission, says the Constitutional Affairs Committee.
The legal implications and the changes to the institutional balance of the Lisbon Treaty, if and when it enters into force, are addressed in the report by Jean-Luc Dehaene, approved on Monday with 18 votes in favour, one against and one abstention.
"The EP's Committee on Constitutional Affairs demands a political agreement between the Czech Presidency and the Parliament on the procedure for choosing the President of the next Commission", said committee chairman Jo Leinen (PES-DE). "The procedure of renewal of the Commission College ought to start only after the referendum in Ireland because only then will the exact number of Commission members be determined", he added.
If the new Treaty is ratified during this year, the European Parliament wants to be ready to address a number of issues arising from the new institutional framework. Among the many topics discussed, the committee proposes solutions on the composition of the new Parliament, the nomination of the Commission President and the Union's representation in foreign policy.
Nomination of the Commission President: election results must be taken into account
The European Council, when choosing its President, the President of the Commission and the High Representative for foreign policy, must take into account the relevant competence of the candidates and respect a gender and a political balance and the geographical and demographic diversity of the Member States, said the Constitutional Affairs Committee.
If Lisbon enters into force, the Commission President would be elected by the EP on a proposal by the European Council, which needs to take into account the results of the European elections and to conduct consultations with Parliament's representatives, say committee members, who ask the European Council to allow enough time for the consultation procedure to be completed informally.
The committee also proposes a timeframe to allow Parliament's prerogatives provided by the new Treaty to be respected. The newly-elected EP would need two weeks to establish itself, according to the proposed schedule, so consultations between the presidents of the European Council and the European Parliament could take place in the third week following the elections. Then, separate meetings would have to be organised between the President of the European Council and the chairs of the political groups. In the following week, the European Council could propose its candidate for Commission President, taking into account the results of the consultations.
EU leaders agreed in December last year on transitional arrangements concerning the composition of the Parliament, should the Lisbon Treaty enter into force and thus change the configuration of EP seats by temporarily increasing the overall number of Members so as to respect a demographic and representative balance.
Committee members therefore called on Member States to make all the national legal provisions necessary to allow the pre-election in June of the 18 supplementary MEPs, so that they can sit in Parliament as observers from the date when the Lisbon treaty eventually enters into force.
Balance and representation in foreign policy
The new Treaty, if ratified, will create new posts at the top of the EU, namely the President of the European Council and the High Representative for Foreign Policy, who will also be Commission Vice-President.
To ensure that this complex system, designed to enhance the EU's political coherence, does not hamper its efficiency, the committee proposes that in the foreign policy sphere, the President of the European Council should represent the Union only at the level of Heads of State or Government. Political negotiations on behalf of the Union, at ministerial level or in international organisations, should instead be carried out only by of the High Representative/Vice-President, it says.
In the chair : Jo LEINEN (PES, DE)
Procedure: own initiative --
Vote in plenary: April II (Strasbourg)