Merkel offers new treaty concessions to Poland, UK

22nd June 2007, Comments 0 comments

22 June 2007, Brussels (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday offered important new concessions to Poland and Britain as European Union leaders entered a decisive end-game at summit talks in Brussels. Jo Leinen, chairman of European Parliament's constitutional committee, said Merkel had told the Polish delegation that application of the EU's "double majority" system for decisions would only be introduced in 2014, instead of in 2009 when the new "reform" treaty is expected to come into force. Pol

22 June 2007

Brussels (dpa) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday offered important new concessions to Poland and Britain as European Union leaders entered a decisive end-game at summit talks in Brussels.

Jo Leinen, chairman of European Parliament's constitutional committee, said Merkel had told the Polish delegation that application of the EU's "double majority" system for decisions would only be introduced in 2014, instead of in 2009 when the new "reform" treaty is expected to come into force.

Polish opposition to the "double majority" voting scheme, requiring that EU decisions have the support of 55 per cent of member states, representing 65 per cent of the population, is one of the key stumbling blocks in efforts to strike a treaty deal.

Poland sees it as less favourable to medium-sized nations than the current voting share-out under which it has 27 votes, almost on a par with big EU states Germany, Britain, Italy and France, which have been accorded 29 votes each.

Leinen said Merkel, who is chairing the EU summit, was also seeking to ease Polish concerns through the introduction of a mechanism allowing a small group of countries to stop unfavourable decisions - even if they do not meet current EU criteria for forging a so-called "blocking minority."

Poland may also get more seats in the European Parliament.

In a concession to Britain, Leinen said the German compromise meant the EU's charter on fundamental rights would only be legally binding in areas covered by EU laws. This means it would not apply to Britain's labour legislation.

In addition, as demanded by Britain the treaty will not refer to the appointment of a first-ever "foreign minister" but to a "high representative for foreign and security policy."

Britain claims that the title of foreign minister would give the impression that national governments were ceding sovereignty on foreign policy to the EU.

If agreed, the new EU rulebook will replace the draft constitution rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005.

DPA

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article