Schüssel gets Europe public
Press release, 16 June 2006, for immediate release
At the end of the European Council, Austrian Chancellor Schüssel announced agreement over the opening of the Council when acting in co-decision procedure. The Young European Federalists (JEF Europe) welcome this step and congratulate the Austrian presidency for pushing the issue to this grand achievement.
"Even though failing in giving the Constitutional process re-newed support I am relieved that the European Summit can at least put forward one concrete result after a long period of institutional silence", Jan Seifert, president of JEF Europe, commented on the press conference held earlier this afternoon by Chancellor Schüssel.
By opening the Council of Ministers' legislative meetings to the public, the Austrian presidency has started to tackle one of the unsustainable perversities of the European legislative system. This is a historic move towards more transparency in European institutions, one of the key demands of the Young European Federalists.
"For long, JEF Europe has been campaigning for the opening of the Council. It looks like government leaders of the European Union are finally tackling the democratic deficit with the improvements the citizens demand", Jan Seifert acknowledged.
Although this first step is warmly welcomed, the limited timeframe and scope do raise some serious doubts.
Seifert said: "We are disappointed that, by limiting the initiative to the co-decision procedure, the public is still being kept out of many important questions. Transparency is the backbone of democracy and it should apply on the European level just as much as at home."
“For JEF Europe, it is clear that this trial period is a first step. One that must undoubtedly be followed by the opening of all Council activities. The full implementation of the agreed now lies in the hands of the incoming Finnish presidency. We will measure them on the results they are able to achieve in this central democratic aspect”, the JEF president concluded.
JEF’s three step plan for reviving the Constitution has been communicated in a press release on Monday, 2006-06-12 and is available on www.jef-europe.net.