Home

Working Groups

To look at issues more closely, the Convention decided to set up working groups on specific subjects which are difficult to go into in depth at plenary sessions. As the work of the Convention progresses, other working groups may be set up.

Each group meets to discuss questions on which it will have to produce a detailed opinion.

At the end of each meeting of the working groups a summary is published.

Group I

Subsidiarity:

The principle of subsidiarity is that - except in areas where it has exclusive competence - the Union should only act when its action is more effective than action at national, regional or local level. This is a basic principle of the Union's operations.

Questions:
How can verification of compliance with the principle of subsidiarity best be ensured? Should a verification mechanism or procedure be introduced? Should such a procedure be political and/or judicial in character?

Working group on the principle of subsidiarity

Group II

Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union:

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, which was drawn up by a convention, was adopted on 18 December 2000. It establishes the moral and ethical values which are common to all the Member States of the Union.

Questions:
If it is decided to include the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the Treaty: how should this be done, and what would be the consequences thereof? What would the consequences be of accession by the Community/Union to the European Convention on Human Rights?

The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union
Working group on the Charter

Group III

Legal personality:

The European Union came into being through the Maastricht Treaty in 1993. It is presented in the Treaty as a "a new stage in the process of creating an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe". It rests on three "pillars", the first covers the Community dimension (common agricultural policy, transport, internal market etc), the second covers the common foreign and security policy, and the third covers police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters.
Nonetheless, the Union does not have an explicit legal personality.

Questions:
What would the consequences be of explicit recognition of the legal personality of the EU, and of a fusion of the legal personalities of the EU and the European Community? Might they contribute to simplification of the Treaties?

For more details about the Union and its policies : 10 leçons sur l'Europe
Working group on legal personality

Group IV

National parliaments:

As stated by the Laeken Declaration, "the European project also derives
its legitimacy from democratic, transparent and efficient institutions. The national parliaments also contribute towards the legitimacy of the European project". The declaration on the future of the Union annexed to the Treaty of Nice had already stressed the need to address the role of national parliaments in the European architecture.

Questions:
How is the role of national Parliaments carried out in the present architecture of the European Union? What are the national arrangements which function best? Should new mechanisms/procedures be envisaged at national or European level?

Laeken Declaration
Treaty of Nice
Working group on national parliaments

Group V

Complementary competences:

Complementary competences cover those areas in which the Union is limited to complementing and supporting the activities of the Member States, or to adopting measures to encourage cooperation and coordination.

Questions:
How should "complementary" competence be treated in future? Should Member States be accorded full competence for matters in which the Union at present has complementary competence, or should the limits of the Union's complementary competence be spelled out?

Working group on complementary competences

Group VI

Economic governance:

The new term of governance brings together several concepts: good management, efficient organisation, transparency and responsibility.
These four concepts, united in one word, are of course essential for the future of Europe.

Questions:
The introduction of the single currency implies closer economic and financial cooperation. What forms might such cooperation take?

Working group on economic governance

Composition of the working groups
Sessions
Key words