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House president calls on EU not to ditch members’ veto power

Annita Demetriou, European conference of speakers of parliaments
House president Annita Demetriou

House President Annita Demetriou on Tuesday implored the European Union not to abolish member states’ veto power in the bloc’s collective decision-making process.

“The decision-making process by unanimity, as it applies today, and where each member state retains the right of veto, has been proven in practice to maintain a balance between member states while at the same time acting as a protective measure for smaller countries such as Cyprus,” she said.

To this end, she warned that “any elimination of the right of veto may lead to the creation of a two-speed Europe with unfavourable results.”

“This is something that the EU itself has systematically avoided through its policies, so that it may function on the basis of equal participation,” she added.

She said, “it is for this reason that we believe that the principles and values of the EU must continue to be based on unity and solidarity. Small member states must not end up at the tail end of decisions which may run counter to their vital interests.”

Demetriou’s comments come after the European Parliament marginally voted in favour of abolishing the veto last week. Loukas Fourlas and Eleni Stavrou of Disy, the party Annita Demetriou leads, both abstained on the vote.

“Cyprus is an EU member state which faces its own particularities, in relation to the Cyprus problem and the migration issue. We should therefore protect the right to veto as a means of intervention and influence,” she concluded.

For the changes agreed by the European Parliament to take place, they must be agreed by the European Council. To this end, the Spanish presidency of the European Council has agreed to table the proposals at the next European Council meeting, which is set to take place in December.

However, given the current state of European treaties, the planned changes would require unanimity among the EU’s 27 member states.

 

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