Spain backs Euro 'compromise' but deal elusive

18th June 2004, Comments 0 comments

18 June 2004, BRUSSELS - Spain backed a compromise formula Friday to change European Union voting rights in the body's first constitution as members struggled to reach a deal.

18 June 2004

BRUSSELS - Spain backed a compromise formula Friday to change European Union voting rights in the body's first constitution as members struggled to reach a deal.

The 25 member states were trying to iron out a new constitution at the first Council of Europe meeting attended by new Spanish prime minister Jose Lluis Rodriguez Zapatero.

They were also trying to reach an agreement on who will lead the European Commission after current president Romano Prodi steps down.

But amid rows between France and Britain, no deals had been reached on either of  these issues Friday.

On the voting rights issue, the EU's Irish president, Bertie Ahern, proposed that new EU laws would have to command the support of at least 55 percent of member states representing 65 percent of the EU's total population.

Spain's junior foreign minister Alberto Navarro - whose country, along with Poland, was blamed for blocking a constitutional agreement six months ago - said the figures were acceptable and "must not be modified" any further.

The agreement, called the double majority principle, has been opposed by smaller countries which claim it unfairly benefits countries with larger populations, like Spain, France and Germany.

The group of about 10 smaller EU states, including Finland and Austria, rejected the new proposals for the EU's system of taking decisions.

This dispute risked becoming a repeat of the stand-off which led to the failure of the constitution talks in December.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

 

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