The EPP and the EPP-ED Group: Success through Synergy
resulted in cooperation mechanisms that have created and reinforced the strong links between the Party and the Group. Political and substantive coordination, as mentioned earlier, is achieved through the framework of the EPP Political Bureau, the EPP Congresses and the five permanent EPP working groups. A further aspect of our unique relationship deserves special mention. The EPP Summits of Heads of Government and Party Leaders, customarily held in advance of the European Council meetings, are particularly important for the coordination of the political work within our family. Here too, the involvement of the EPP-ED Group in the person of its Chairman and its Secretary-General has proved essential. As the role and rights of the European Parliament progressively strengthen, it makes sense to involve Parliament from the outset, particularly regarding legislative matters and in relation to institutional or budget-related topics. After all, it is Parliament which must ultimately participate in the implementation of the decisions of the European Council in the framework of the legislative process. Concrete examples of successful cooperation between the EPP and the Group Drafting the Constitution for Europe Cooperation between the Party and the Group, and the relationship between these two key pillars of our political family, does not always follow a prescribed or rigid pattern. Therefore, new and innovative ways of cooperating have been pursued. A good example of this was the successful partnership between the Party and the EPP-ED Group on the drafting of the Constitution for Europe in the framework of the European Convention. In December 2000, the Nice European Council agreed to the revision of the Treaties in order to prepare the EU institutions for enlargement. However, in light of past experiences and the way the European Summit in Nice was conducted,
there was consensus in the EPP political family that the existing intergovernmental opinionforming and decision-making process had reached its limits. The 2001 EPP Congress in Berlin took up the proposal, put forward by the EPP-ED Group, that the European Constitution be drafted by a Convention, akin to the successful model previously established to draft the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. The idea gained strength in the political opinion-forming and decisionmaking process across Europe, with the result that in late 2001 the Laeken European Council decided to convene a constitutional convention. In response to this decision, the EPP at its 2002 Congress in Estoril presented a draft constitution for Europe. Entitled A Constitution for a Strong Europe, it was based on a paper produced by Wilfried Martens, President of the EPP, and Wolfgang Sch채uble, with substantial input from a number of Group members. The EPP thus became the first European party to present a comprehensive concept for a European Constitution. In short, the Constitution should aim to clarify in a clear, transparent and comprehensible manner the respective areas of competence of the European Union and the Member States, incorporate the Charter of Fundamental Rights on a legally binding basis, and define a new institutional framework for the European Union. As the national governments prepared for the Convention, the key task became to influence the constitutional proposal, as well as its implementation. It was the EPP which seized the initiative and established contact with the Convention members belonging to or associated with the EPP. In February 2002, before the Convention began its work, around forty Convention members with links to the EPP were brought together under the chairmanship of Elmar Brok, a member of the Convention and the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the European Parliament.
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