Nickel, Dietmar. (1997) "The European Parliament’s impact on the IGC process". In: UNSPECIFIED, Seattle, WA. (Unpublished)
Measuring the European Parliament’s concrete impact at this stage encounters two main problems: first, the European Parliament’s own position with regard to its definitive requirements, its bottom line, is not easy to describe. Its resolutions to this end are numerous and--quite normally--evolving throughout a large period accompanying preparation in the Reflection Group and the actual work in the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC). Still, one can distill a certain number of priorities: with regard to social policy issues they are the establishment of an area of freedom, security and justice, an enhanced Union citizenship with an extended non-discrimination clause, fundamental rights protection, general equality, an employment title, the inclusion and improvement of the social protocol including measures against social exclusion, improved protection of the environment, and the objective of sustainable development. With regard to institutional issues, the priorities are threefold: first, efficiency, especially in view of future enlargements and mainly concerning qualified majority voting in Council; second, transparency and openness, concerning the reduction of decision-making procedures to three (assent, co-decision and consultation), the simplification and codification of the Treaties, openness of the Council in its legislative capacity and public access to documents; and third, democracy, meaning Parliament’s own role. Second, it is virtually impossible to describe the results of the IGC a few weeks before its possible conclusion in the Amsterdam European Council on 16/17 June 1997. In such a negotiation procedure nothing is achieved until everything is achieved. Therefore, I will initially concentrate on what is on the table at this stage and then proceed to the issues which are most disputed where there is not even a formal presidency proposal, each time relating to Parliament’s position in the various areas. Finally, I shall dare to stick my neck out with some predictions as to the result.
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