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2001 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 261 E/189

European Council in the spring of 2001’. On 12 February 2001 the Education Ministers meeting within
the Education Council adopted a report describing the common concrete future objectives of European
education systems for the coming years. This report was based on a draft presented by the Commission to

In the context of inter-institutional cooperation, the report adopted by the Education Council was
subsequently forwarded by the Council to Parliament.

This report was ratified by the Heads of State and Government at the Stockholm European Council on 23-
24 March 2001. In following up the report, the Commission will take account of any ideas that Parliament
would like to share with it in the course of this year.

(2001/C 261 E/214) WRITTEN QUESTION P-0751/01

by Marialiese Flemming (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(7 March 2001)

Subject: The Regions

What view does the Commission take of the demands made by the Committee of the Regions:

 to give decision-taking powers back to the citizens and establish a clear division of responsibilities
between the various levels (EU, the national States, the regions and communes)?

 not to define the EU in a definitive manner, which would lead to an extension of its powers?

 to accept the regions as basic units for free elections to a European Parliament?

 to ensure that the Europe of the regions is not just represented by the Committee of the Regions, but
that new decision-taking forums are set up involving local authorities?

Answer given by Mr Prodi on behalf of the Commission

(30 March 2001)

The Union’s actions are based on powers expressly assigned by the Treaties and exercised in accordance
with the subsidiarity principle defined in Article 5 (formerly Article 3b) of the EC Treaty and in the
protocol on the application of the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality. In accordance with
Declaration No 23 adopted by the Nice European Council in December 2000, a wide-ranging debate at
European level bringing together all the parties concerned should take place in preparation for the Laeken
European Council and with a view to a new Intergovernmental Conference in 2004; the question of the
division of powers should be part of this debate.

The Commission will contribute with specific initiatives in collaboration, notably, with Parliament, as well
as its White Paper on Governance, which will be adopted in the summer. The Commission does not share
the view that defining the Union’s purpose will necessarily mean an extension of its powers.

The Commission has no power of initiative as far as the provisions for elections to Parliament are
concerned. In accordance with Article 190(4) (formerly Article 138) of the EC Treaty, it is Parliament
which is asked to draw up a proposal for a uniform electoral procedure in all the Member States. Its
proposal must be approved by the Council, acting unanimously, receive a favourable opinion from a
majority of the Members of Parliament, and be adopted by all the Member States in accordance with their
internal constitutional requirements.

The Commission endorses the Committee of the Regions’ demands that it should be fully consulted in the
fields provided for by the EC Treaty. Procedures for consulting territorial bodies on initiatives that affect
them are often used, in full compliance, naturally, with the provisions and structures of each Member