Following a series of crises which it has not yet solved, the EU’s first priority should be to stabilise and consolidate its achievements. This is hardly the time to set out on new projects for which the popular appetite in Europe has faded. In conducting European affairs, the report attaches much importance to the “Union method” about the relevance of which one can only feel dubious. On its interpretation of “ever closer union” we should clearly seek to move towards a European federal system. In my view, this goes against the spirit and reality of the Europe that most of us feel they belong to. Moreover, it is being proposed to reduce the size of the European Commission, which goes against the interests of small and medium sized member states and hardly serves to instill confidence in the superiority of the “Union method”. Again, the report suggests a “Convention method” by which to bring about radical changes to the EU treaties. Surely the last experience of such a method in recent history indicates clearly the pitfalls that it contains. For these and other reasons, I cannot support this report and have voted vote against it.

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