Chancery Lane sets out EU agenda

The GENERAL public should have access to European Union meetings on proposed legislation, according to a manifesto issued by the Law Society of England and Wales.

It was prepared by the Brussels office for the 1996 European Intergovernmental Con- ference (IGC), starting in Turin later this month.

The paper claims the public should also have access to all EU documents, including drafts, proposals and minutes, with limited exceptions.

The society's Brussels representative Patrick Oliver said: “We need to move away from the commonly perceived notion of a cumbersome bureaucracy which does not address real concerns, to a union which serves the interests of its citizens.”

The manifesto criticises complexities stemming from the number of overlapping EU treaties and suggests they should be consolidated into a single document. It says: “The treaties are unintelligible and incomprehensible to the average citizen and act as a source of frustration within the EU.”

Other proposed improvements include cutting the EU's legislative procedures from 12 to three, on the grounds that they slow decision making and alienate the public from the EU.

Oliver said most of the society's proposals had “considerable support” throughout the EU. “We hope that we shall see some positive results,” he said.