PART 1: INTRODUCTION
1. Title VI of the new Treaty, to be entitled
"The democratic life of the Union", contains seven draft
Article 33 The principle of democratic equality;
Article 34 The principle of participatory
Article 35 The European Ombudsman;
Article 35a Political Parties at European
Article 36 Transparency of the proceedings
of the Union's institutions;
Article 36a Protection of personal data;
Article 37 Status of churches and non-confessional
2. The proposed content of this group of Treaty
Articles has therefore changed from that envisaged in the Preliminary
draft Constitutional Treaty,
the skeleton text presented to the Convention on the Future of
Europe last October by its President, Valéry Giscard d'Estaing.
Articles 33, 34, and 36 remain. But Articles dealing with EP elections
and voting rules in Union institutions have been omitted and four
other provisions (Articles 35, 35a, 36a and 37 above) inserted.
One further change has been proposed. Included in the recently
published draft articles for Title IV of the Constitution (those
dealing with the institutions) is an Article X, entitled the Congress
of the Peoples of Europe. The Praesidium has suggested that Article
X be inserted into Title VI on "The Union's Democratic Life".
We comment on the proposal for a Congress in our Report on the
3. The group of Articles (33-37), the subject
of this Report, is intended to "establish a number of principles,
to enable citizens to see that:
they can contribute to the framing of the
they can follow the Union's decision-making
process, and thus assess it".
This intention responds to the need, as expressed
in the Laeken Declaration, to increase the democratic legitimacy
and transparency of the institutions. We have endeavoured in this
Report to assess how far the Articles go in achieving the stated
4. Only Articles 33 and 34 are completely new.
The others can be traced to provisions in the current Treaties
or, in the case of Article 37, Declaration 11 to the Amsterdam
5. This is our fifth
Report on the draft Treaty Articles now being discussed in the
The format of this Report follows that of our earlier Reports
in this series. Each Article is followed by an Explanatory note
(the text of which has been prepared by the Convention Secretariat)
and a Commentary added by the Committee.
6. We make this Report to the House for information.