Towards a European constitution?  The European Parliament and the institutional reform of the European Communities 1979-84

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Abstract

In his speech in the European Parliament (EP) plenary on 21 May 1980, the arch federalist Altiero Spinelli claimed that “the Community is practically paralysed”. According to Spinelli, a former Italian member of the European Commission (1970-76) and a member of the European Parliament (MEP) since 1976, decision-makers in the European Communities (EC) did not lack political will. Rather, they could not draw on suitable institutions for effective political action. The Commission could only make proposals, the EP only debated them, and the Council effectively used unanimity since the 1966 informal Luxembourg Compromise. In this situation, as Spinelli put it, the EP should recognize “that it has been elected to represent all European citizens”. Instead of the member state governments, it now had to take on the task of reforming the EC. In the following protracted process Spinelli’s initiative led to the Draft Treaty on European Union (DTEU) passed by the EP in February 1984 but never ratified.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of European Integration History
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 5 Apr 2021

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