The Parliament needs to be involved with Mexico

Article in NEW EUROPE

The “Economic Partnership, Political Coordination and Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the United Mexican States on the other part” entered into force in the year 2000. It aims at the strengthening and widening of the political, institutional and economic relations between the partners.
Therefore it constitutes an important element of the EU’s external and foreign trade relations. In 2005, after the 2004 enlargement of the EU, an additional protocol has been agreed which by which the-then 10 New Member States were included in the agreement. It is more than logical that now, after their accession to the EU on January 1, 2007, Romania and Bulgaria will join, too – again by such an additional protocol.
It has to be noted that the European Parliament is not given much of a say in many foreign trade and external policy issues. But in the case of agreements that constitute “a specific institutional framework by organising cooperation procedures,” it has to be formally asked to give its assent. The concerned procedure is fixed in the second subparagraph of article 300 (3) of the EC Treaty. The implementation of the EU-Mexico agreement Common Council has to be organised a Joint Council which consists of members of the Council (representatives of the EU Member States), of the Commission and of members of the Mexican government. This Joint Council is supported by a Joint Committee. Both are seen as a “specific institutional framework” – which, by the way, need financial support out of the EU budget.
This is why the conclusion of the EU-Mexico Agreement itself required the Parliament’s assent. The same goes for the protocol because it will result in the extension of the Joint Council and Committee. Interesting enough: Neither does the Additional Protocol of 2005 refer to the legal base mentioned above, nor has the draft of the Protocol about the inclusion of Romania and Bulgaria been sent to the Parliament under this procedure, but under simple consultation.
But the Additional Protocols modify the institutional framework of the EU-Mexico Agreement because both the Joint Council and the Joint Committee will be extended through the inclusion of two new Members.
Therefore, basically all political groups in the European Parliament agree that it should be very clear that the decision for the extension should be made under the assent procedure, too.
All this might seem a quite technical, bureaucrat procedure – but in the end it is not: In a democratic system the democratically-elected representative body needs to be involved in fundamental political decisions as much as possible. And as it seems that it is not yet very common in the everyday policy of the EU institutions to involve the Parliament too much in the inter-institutional decision-making – you could tell a long story now about the ongoing process of bilateral and regional trade agreements: the draft text never reached the EU-deputies officially yet – it is the more important that they insist on their rights clearly provided by the Treaty.
Helmuth Markov is a Member of the European Parliament from Germany, the Confederal Group of the European United Left-Nordic Green Left, and the Committee on International Trade