EU needs ‘pragmatic federalism,’ more integration – POLITICO

Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi on Tuesday urged the EU to embrace a “pragmatic federalism” that would come with ditching nationwide vetoes and will contain treaty change.

“We need a pragmatic federalism that encompasses all areas affected by ongoing transformations — from the economy to energy to security,” Draghi advised the European Parliament in his first speech to MEPs as Italian prime minister. “If this requires the start of a path that will lead to the revision of the Treaties, we should embrace it with courage and confidence.”

In gentle of Russia’s struggle on Ukraine, Draghi referred to as on capitals to provide Brussels extra energy on protection and to desert unanimity, which is required for EU selections on international coverage and different areas.

“We must go beyond the principle of unanimity, which gives rise to an intergovernmental logic of clashing vetoes, and move towards decisions taken by qualified majority,” he stated, prompting applause from MEPs.

Such calls have beforehand run into resistance from different EU governments, notably amongst some smaller international locations, who worry being steamrollered by bigger member states if they don’t have the proper of veto.

To make his case for main reforms, Draghi recalled landmark moments of current Western historical past — corresponding to World War II and the top of the Soviet Union — arguing that new treaties and treaty modifications adopted every of them.

Since he turned prime minister final yr, Draghi has insisted on shut Italian alignment with NATO and the U.S. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Draghi broke along with his nation’s traditionally comfortable stance on Russia, backing sanctions towards Moscow and army help for Ukraine.

While welcoming the EU’s bid to turn into extra autonomous on protection, Draghi additionally referred to as for extra coordination of efforts. “Our security spending is about three times that of Russia, but it is divided into 146 defense systems. The United States has only 34,” he stated.

“It’s a profoundly inefficient distribution of resources that hinders the building of a true European defense,” Draghi added, whereas calling for a “conference to rationalize and optimize … military spending.”

He additionally referred to as for extra EU monetary help for member international locations and firms coping with the financial affect of the struggle in Ukraine, within the type of funds modeled on these used to face the COVID disaster.

Draghi proposed utilizing the blueprint of SURE — a fund used to grant momentary help through loans and keep away from large unemployment — to assist capitals help households and companies. When it involves long-term investments, he proposed following the instance of the post-pandemic restoration fund NextGenerationEU. Brussels can also be contemplating adapting these funds to the brand new disaster.

The speech additionally gave Draghi the chance to repeat that he wished “Ukraine in the European Union” and that, extra broadly, he was in favor of welcoming Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo into the EU.

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