Dr Janez Drnovšek: EU influence depends on pursuing agreement over constitution
Financial Times, 5. november 2005 (članek je v angleškem jeziku)
V soboto, 5. novembra 2005, je bil v Financial Timesu objavljen članek predsednika republike dr. Janeza Drnovška o prihodnjih izzivih Evropske unije. Članek je v angleškem jeziku.
EU influence depends on pursuing agreement over constitution
By Janez Drnovsek
Article of the President of the Republic Dr Janez Drnovšek published in Financial Times on 5 November 2005
Published: November 5 2005 02:00 | Last updated: November 5 2005 02:00
From Dr Janez Drnovsek.
Sir, Following the rejections in France and the Netherlands of the European Union constitution proposals and the failure to agree on the next financial perspective, the EU has arrived at an impasse.
How can it move forward? Is the constitution dead? Does that threaten future enlargements of the Union? Has the entire European project come to a standstill?
It is a time for reflection. I offer the following proposals that would keep the developments of the enlarged Union on track.* The ratification of the constitution must continue. Too much of Europe's energy and good will has been invested in this project to abandon it now. Any alternative would involve starting again from scratch and wasting even more time, while the same risks attached to ratification would remain.
The Union needs an institutional framework of this kind in order to function. We still need the future enlargements.
I therefore urge that EU heads of state and government engage in this project with renewed vigour. Let us convince the citizens of Europe that European peace, prosperity and global influence depend on our ability to move forward and take this step. Then let us return to the citizens of France and the Netherlands and find a satisfactory solution through constructive dialogue.* The Common Agricultural Policy is a vital element in reaching agreement on the 2007-13 EU financial perspective. It must be amended to reflect that times have changed and new demands must be satisfied. I am aware this cannot happen overnight, but we can take some important steps.
I propose that we reduce the financing of direct subsidies from Pillar 1 of the CAP from 100 per cent to 75 per cent. Countries that want to retain 100 per cent financing could do so from their national budget. At the same time I propose that some increase be made in rural development funding, especially for organic agricultural products.
That must become the main priority for European agriculture. Alongside that, I think there should be extra funds available to develop non-agricultural activities, such as small businesses in agricultural areas that preserve rural areas and rural employment.* I support the creation of the globalisation fund that the Commission president, José Manuel Barroso, has spoken of, and I support even more funds being allocated to it. The fund would help those European regions particularly affected by job losses caused by the pressures of global competition.
Europe is under pressure from cheaper goods from developing countries that are cheap because employment, social and environmental standards are not respected. The fund is justified as long as these standards do not approach European levels.
The EU should use international forums to persuade these countries to improve their standards to a level conducive to human dignity. This will also reduce migratory pressures from these countries. It is vital in this regard that the Union does everything possible to make global trade and financial relations more balanced so that countries can develop and live with dignity.
The World Trade Organisation is currently at a critical point, with negotiations on the Doha round set for conclusion by the end of this year. The EU must accept the US challenge and support the same reductions or removal of export subsidies, import tariffs and quotas.* Within the next financial perspective the EU must commit more funds to meeting the Lisbon strategy objectives on research, education and promoting competition.* In order to balance financial relations within the Union, the UK must commit to the gradual removal of the British budget rebate over the course of the 2006-13 financial perspective. This, and the reduction in agricultural subsidies referred to above, would provide the EU with the funds needed to finance its current priorities, without having to increase its budget.
President of Slovenia