Merkel backs Lisbon Treaty ratification, despite Polish doubts

2nd July 2008, Comments 0 comments

The German Chancellor strongly supports the EU ratification process for the Treaty of Lisbon, despite the Polish President's refusal to sign it

Berlin -- German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave strong backing to continuing the ratification process for the European Union's Treaty of Lisbon on Tuesday, in the face of the negative position taken by Polish President Lech Kaczynski.

"The Treaty of Lisbon makes the EU more democratic and strengthens the powers of all member states," Merkel told the Wednesday edition of Germany's mass-circulation Bild newspaper.

"For that reason I will do everything to push forward the ratification process together with the French presidency," the German chancellor said as France took over the six month rotating presidency of the 27-member bloc.

In remarks published by a Polish newspaper on Tuesday, Kaczynski said he would not sign the treaty, saying it was "pointless" after the Irish rejection of a referendum on June 13th.

Kaczynski told the daily Dziennik he would not endorse the treaty until Ireland had changed its stance and had made its decision without pressure from other EU members.

Merkel noted that EU leaders had agreed at their summit in Brussels on June 20th that the Irish government would report back in October on how to proceed following the Irish no vote.

"We are all agreed that Europe must become more effective to act jointly in a world that is growing together. And in my view the treaty forms a good basis," Merkel said.

EU member states, apart from Ireland, are ratifying the treaty through their parliaments, not by referendum.

Nevertheless, the treaty has run into constitutional problems. The Czech parliament is waiting until the constitutional court has ruled on whether it conforms with the constitution.

And in Germany, President Horst Koehler announced on  Monday that he would delay signing the relevant legislation, which has been passed by both houses of parliament, until the constitutional court had ruled on two separate applications.

If finally ratified, the new treaty would end the system of rotating presidencies by appointing a president of the bloc for two years.

The EU's foreign policy head would also receive additional powers to allow the bloc to speak with one voice on key international issues.

And a new "double majority" voting system would come into force, streamlining the EU's cumbersome decision making process.


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