Just ahead of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the document that founded the European Union, there is controversy over how to revive efforts for a new constitution. Members of the European Parliament have been debating plans by Germany, the bloc’s current president, to unveil a new declaration at anniversary events in Berlin in 11 days time.
Germany seems happy with the document, even though some MEPs claim it is too long and bland. “We should use the symbol of this day as a sign of our unity,” said Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. “Europe, we succeed together, is the slogan of our presidency. Europeans expect their politicians to have the will, courage and determination to act together.”
Some MEPs say the declaration needs to be cut back from two pages to one. And Green MEP Daniel Cohn Bendit is one of those who say the public need something inspiring. “The text must be short, but not banal,” he said. “This is the danger of your strategy, that banality ends up being the end result.” One of the first events to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome was a football match between Manchester United and a side of European stars at Old Trafford.