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Merkel’s no to EU Convention is crucial mistake

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German chancellor Merkel and UK Prime Minister Cameron. Photo courtesy of Facundo Arrizabalaga/AP Photo.

Merkel’s no to EU Convention is crucial mistake

29-06-2016

At the informal EU talks in Brussels on 29 June 2016, German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected civil society’s demands for a new EU Convention by stating there would be no EU treaty changes following Brexit. This announcement ignores the will of thousands of citizens who demand EU reform and the initiation of a Convention. During the past 48 hours more than 28.000 citizens have signed a petition for a democratic relaunch of the EU, including the demand for an EU Convention to discuss the future of the EU and to implement urgent democracy reforms.

“These statements by Merkel and other leaders show once more that they do not understand the seriousness of the crisis the European Union is facing today. Brexit is a clear signal that many EU citizens do not identify with an EU “from above”, an intransparent, elitist Europe, in which they have no substantive influence. We simply cannot continue with business as usual. Instead, we need a democratic relaunch of the European Union and a Convention as soon as possible”, states Gerald Häfner, board member of Democracy International.

Article 48 of the Lisbon Treaty says that the government of an EU Member States, the European Parliament or the Commission can convoke an EU Convention when the EU faces substantial legal reform. Since the British electorate voted to leave the European Union last Thursday, not only citizens, but also the German Social Democratic Party and the French government have demanded a transparent public debate on the future of the EU and a re-start of the EU. French economic minister Macron proposes a new project for the EU over which all EU citizens should vote in an EU-wide referendum.

“If the EU does not reform, the anger amongst the public will grow and anti-European movements will seize power in the nation states. If more states leave the EU, that would be the end of the EU as we know it. Merkel’s claim that treaty change is not necessary is sheer humbug.” so Häfner. 

Democracy International has been demanding an EU Convention for years. The constitutional assembly is to be elected democratically and is to work transparently and inclusively. All EU citizens are to vote on the outcome of the Convention in a European-wide referendum. 

The petition for a democratic relaunch of the EU can be signed at www.change.org/Europe

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