Spain's PM to discuss post-Lisbon plans with EU leaders
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will meet various European leaders to discuss the possible coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty.Madrid – Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero embarks this week on a round of meetings with European leaders ahead of Madrid's EU presidency, with the Lisbon reform treaty topping the agenda.
Key among the meetings will be that with French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday.
Spanish government sources said Tuesday that the two will discuss the "nominations" that would follow the possible coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty, in particular that of the overall EU president.
Zapatero will have already taken up the issue with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi during a bilateral summit in Sardinia on Thursday.
The Lisbon Treaty is designed to replace the current Nice Treaty, drawn up when the bloc was around half its current size.
If it comes into force, the EU would do away with the present unwieldy system of the rotating presidency in favour of selecting a leader for a limited term. A powerful foreign policy supremo would also be appointed.
But Ireland threw the EU into chaos in 2008 by rejecting the reforms in a popular vote.
The country is set to vote again on 2 October, and the treaty has also still to be ratified by Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.
Spain recently said it has no "plan B" if Irish voters next month again vote against the treaty, when Madrid takes over the rotating six-month presidency of the European Union on 1 January.
Zapatero and Sarkozy will also discuss the Group of 20 summit in the US city of Pittsburgh on 24-25 September, as well as recent joint French-Spanish operations against the Basque separatist group ETA and the situation in Afghanistan, the sources said.
The Spanish premier will emphasise that relations with Moscow will be a "priority" under Spain's EU presidency, when he meets with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday in the Russian city of Yaroslavl, the sources said.
And the Socialist Party leader will also discuss the EU in a meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on 29 September, after attending the annual conference of Britain's Labour Party in the southern English town of Brighton.
Zapatero already held talks late August in Sweden, which holds the current EU presidency.
He told Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt that he wants the European Union to lead the global economic recovery, "and to do that, we support Sweden's efforts to obtain a ratification of the Lisbon Treaty."
AFP / Expatica