The Council of Ministers – II part
The constitutional Treaty introduces some important amendments as far as concerns the function of the Council. Only two configurations of the Council are mentioned: the General Affairs Council, which has a coordinating task within the European Union and all the other council configurations and the External Relations Council, which is the Foreign Affairs Council. The latter represents an important innovation, because the constitution introduces a new figurehead within the European Union: the Foreign Affairs Minister, which is the Minister that represents the Union in the international relationships. In this way, we answer the question that Kissinger had made many times: if I have to contact someone in the European Union to speak about foreign policy, what telephone number do I have to dial? Now there is a telephone number, and it is the Foreign Affairs Minister’s number, that in this moment is Javier Solana, the High Representative of the European Union, but who, when the constitution comes into force, will be Foreign Affairs Minister. Another important innovation introduced by the constitution is the voting system. As I mentioned before, the voting procedure in the Treaty of Nice is quite complex and it makes the decisions of the European Union unclear. Now the voting system in the European Union changes as follows: we have the so-called “double majority” system, in which a decision taken by qualified majority needs the majority of the population and the majority of the member states’ votes to be adopted. It is a very simple and clear system that allows the citizens to understand whenever a decision is taken. Actually, they use 55% of the member states’ number, which today corresponds to 15 member States, and 65% of the population. When these two percentages are achieved, we have a decision that is effectively adopted. Three big member states plus a small Member state can always block a decision of this kind, but in this way we have a balance, since in most cases they must achieve the majority of States. Today the States are 19 which are medium-small and only 6 which are the big States. So we can see how the constitution has managed to find a certain balance between small, medium and big States. This is a very important innovation that allows the Council to work more effectively, to better coordinate its activities and to take all a series of initiatives in certain fields, such as foreign policy, that are determining for the European Union. In fact, having achieved a series of objectives, such as the realization of the big internal market, the implementation of the Euro- a complementary tool to the internal market- which are the areas that mostly need an integrated Europe? They are the foreign policy and security areas, which are the two fields that mostly need Europe and that is why the constitution, anticipating some fundamental citizens’ needs, has created the figurehead of the Foreign Affairs Minister and has created some pecific structures that can satisfy these citizens’ needs more effectively.
UNINETTUNO s.r.l. - Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 39 - 00186 Roma - Phone : +39 0669207671 e-mail: