|Vol.7, No.29, 19.7.01, p4
BELGIAN foreign minister Louis Michel has said he supports plans to make meetings of EU ministers more accountable by opening them up to the public.
Speaking to MEPs at a meeting of the Parliament's constitutional affairs committee Michel said he "liked" the idea of ending the Council of Ministers' behind-closed-doors policy.
Allowing journalists and the public to observe ministerial discussions could be one outcome of the upcoming talks on the future of Europe and the next round of treaty reform scheduled for 2004, he said.
And as a first step he pledged to make the general affairs council meetings that he will chair during the Belgian presidency more open. "At every GAC council I will try to make sure that there is a part of the agenda that can be made public," he said.
But Michel believes it is not necessarily a good idea to open up "technical debates" because "they wouldn't really reassure the public".
At the same meeting Michel defended the work of the team of five wise men, set up by Belgian premier Guy Verhofstadt to help prepare the Laeken summit discussions, against claims that it is too secretive. "It's not an official group," he said. "It's a group of people who will allow the presidency to get some practice before Laeken," he said. "It's a kind of warm up. Like you do before a sports match, it's the same thing for the brain."
Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel has said he supports plans to make meetings of EU ministers more accountable by opening them up to the public.
|Politics and International Relations