ECR Vice-President Oldřich Vlasák shared his views on the need for institutional reform of the EU in the context of a debate on strengthening democracy in the framework of the Conference on the Future of Europe with Mr Herman Van Rompuy. Referring to a lack of major institutional reform since EU enlargement, Mr Vlasák also evoked the failed constitution referenda and Brexit, which was "due to too much federalisation".
The "old" EU was composed of 15 Member States pre-2004, today 27 countries are members. However, the ECR Vice-President, who also serves as Councillor in Hradec Králové, emphasized that this enlargement process has regrettably not been "accompanied by any major institutional changes".
In fact, for Mr Vlasák, "EU institutions and processes have often been adapted on a mathematical and proportionate basis without functional changes". The ECR Vice-President also lamented that the role of regions and cities in the EU decision-making process are not sufficiently taken into account.
In 2020, when the United Kingdom left the EU, it was a historic milestone that undermined the vision of an "ever closer union". The reasons behind Brexit are manifold but for the ECR Vice-President the "issue of the EU's democratic deficit was certainly a contributing factor".
Mr Vlasák concluded to say that discussions on EU institutional reform have been on the table for a long time, but so far have yielded no results.
"It's time to change this!", he urged to participants of the CoR plenary, which served as the occasion for the debate with Mr Van Rompuy, former Prime Minister of Belgium and former President of the European Council, now serving as the Chair of the CoR High Level Group on European democracy.