NGOs urge EU leaders to take citizens' social concerns on board to get out of Constitution deadlock
As EU leaders prepare to meet this week to decide how to take the Constitutional Treaty forward after last yearâ€™s â€śnoâ€ť votes in France and the Netherlands, social NGOs call for a real dialogue with EU citizens while addressing values and objectives that are close to peopleâ€™s aspirations.
â€śThe period of reflection launched last June with the rejection of the EU Constitution by French and Dutch citizens has been more about killing time before forthcoming national elections than inviting people across Europe to constructively reflect on what an improved constitutional treaty should look like,â€ť said Social Platform President, Anne-Sophie Parent. â€śIt is time to initiate an open, structured and visible discussion in order to create a thorough ownership of the constitutional text.â€ť
Social NGOs believe that the Commissionâ€™s so-called Plan D has not been helpful as a contribution to the period of reflection. It has actually added to the confusion by trying to address issues such as democracy, consultation and communication and proposing initiatives (European good will ambassadors, European Round table for democracy, debate Europe website etc) that are not directly linked to a clear process of improving the EU treaties.
The Social Platform is instead supporting the European Parliament resolution, which offers excellent proposals on how to move forward, especially the idea of a â€śnew dialogueâ€ť and the inclusion of the future of the European social and economic model as one of the six common themes for discussion.
â€śThe Nice Treaty is clearly unfit to move the Union forward. EU leaders have the responsibility to address citizensâ€™ concern that the Constitutional treaty lacks a strong social dimension,â€ť added Parent. â€śFor EU leaders to respond in a convincing way to this structural issue, they need to do more than adding a few words to the present text. It requires considering new forms of governance aimed at establishing a fair balance between social and economic/internal market objectives,â€ť ended Parent.
The services directive, the impact of the stability pact or fiscal and social dumping are hot topics for people across Europe. Social NGOs are convinced that time has come to concretely demonstrate that the Constitutional treaty would change things, while guaranteeing that the subsidiarity principle and objectives such as high level of social protection, quality services of general interest, investment in human and social capital are no longer threatened by EU policies.
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