Matti Vanhanen, Speaker of the Finnish Parliament, opened the Meeting of the Secretaries General of the EU Parliaments in Helsinki earlier today. The meeting is part of the interparliamentary programme of the Finnish EU Presidency that ended at the turn of the year.
In his speech, Speaker Vanhanen took part in the debate on the planned Conference on the Future of Europe. He reminded the participants of the Convention on the Future of the European Union held at the beginning of the millennium, as well as of the intergovernmental conferences which resulted in the Treaty of Lisbon. Vanhanen participated in all stages of this process in various roles.
According to Vanhanen, an important question for the Future Conference is how to ensure that the political spectrum of the national parliaments is comprehensively represented.
He emphasised that the title of national parliaments to the EU Treaties is strong and, therefore, they must play a leading role in the preparatory work if the Treaties are to be amended.
Vanhanen also drew attention to the link between the work of the Future Conference and the subsequent intergovernmental negotiations. He pointed out that although after the Convention on the Future of Europe governments took into account the basis prepared in the Convention, in the subsequent negotiations they still prioritised their own national positions in important political issues.