Germany to repackage EU constitution

15th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

15 May 2007, Berlin (dpa) - The German presidency of the European Union plans to repackage the stalled EU constitution in two treaties in order to salvage as much as possible of the original document, European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering says. Poettering said aspects relating to institutional changes, such as a new EU president and foreign minister, would be detailed in a new fundamental treaty. The part of the original draft dealing with political issues would be treated as an amendment to c

15 May 2007

Berlin (dpa) - The German presidency of the European Union plans to repackage the stalled EU constitution in two treaties in order to salvage as much as possible of the original document, European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering says.

Poettering said aspects relating to institutional changes, such as a new EU president and foreign minister, would be detailed in a new fundamental treaty.

The part of the original draft dealing with political issues would be treated as an amendment to current EU treaties and could be ratified separately from the fundamental treaty, he said.

The conservative politician said this would enable the substance of the original document to be salvaged, as called for by the European Parliament and the 18 nations that have so far ratified it.

The constitution has been on ice since its rejection by Dutch and French voters in 2005.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has promised to present a road map for its revival to a summit of EU leaders in Brussels at the end of June, shortly before Germany's presidency of the EU expires.

Among the contentious points that still need to be resolved is what to do about the section of the original document dealing with a charter of fundamental rights, which is strongly opposed by Britain.

One solution under consideration is a separate article referring to fundamental rights, which in theory would not require acceptance by countries opposed its formal inclusion in the treaty.

But this could run into opposition from supporters of the rights charter who consider such a topic belongs to the substance of any new agreement.

The issues will be further discussed on Tuesday when envoys of the bloc's 27 states meet to iron out differences. Following the talks, Merkel will confer with various EU leaders before putting the final touches to Germany's proposals.

Merkel said Monday that she would look for "a fair way" to resolve outstanding difference that would not place "excessive demands" on EU member countries.

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose country has been sceptical towards the constitution, said after a meeting with his Italian counterpart Romano Prodi in Prague, "We are ready to make compromises, but not compromises on everything."

Merkel hopes EU agreement on a timetable for drafting a new treaty would ensure its completion and ratification in time for elections to the European Parliament in 2009.

DPA

Subject: German news

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