Throughout my years in the parliament I’ve seen many ridiculous declarations. This tool has clearly lost its meaning, and questioning the use of written declarations is certainly in order. Every day I am bombarded with emails, asking me to sign these written declarations. Just to point to a few examples, these are my favourites:
- Written declaration on the nomination of wine culture as part of the intangible world heritage of humanity
- Written declaration on the establishment of European Artisanal Gelato Day
- Written declaration on declaring a European Year of Wine Tourism
- Written declaration on the proclamation of the European Day of Mayors
I see a trend here. Either the written declarations are the result of the work of lobbyists who want to show their clients that they’ve achieved something without making any political impact whatsoever, or well, MEPs who have their constituency in mind. Which is why I decided to table a declaration to end all written declarations. It is time to put an end to this ridiculous practice.
The written declaration to end all written declarations
1. Since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty the European Parliament has new legislative powers that put parliament on equal footing with the Council of Ministers. Long gone are the days when the European Parliament was merely consulted by the Commission and the Member States. Regardless of that fact we still see written declarations, like this one, being passed around.
2. Written declarations can only be signed, but never amended or debated publicly. They tend to be one-sided and lacking in complexity, instead of broad and inclusive as is the tradition in other decisions by parliament. Written declarations enhances tendencies for populistic simplicity.
3. The written declaration is a remnant from the past, from a time when the European Parliament had little say in the legislative process. It is time to put an end to this. This is the written declaration to end written declarations.
4. We, the signatories of this written declaration, call upon the European Parliament to review the rules for written declarations with the view to amend the rules of procedure and remove the instrument of written declarations.
5. This declaration, together with the names of the signatories, is forwarded to the Council and the Commission.