Zapatero in three-day merry-go-round of summits

30th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

30 May 2007 , MADRID - Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is to hold talks with his Dutch counterpart Jan Balkenende on Wednesday, the first of two top-level meetings to discuss ways to revive the EU treaty.

30 May 2007

MADRID - Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is to hold talks with his Dutch counterpart Jan Balkenende on Wednesday, the first of two top-level meetings to discuss ways to revive the EU treaty.

On Thursday, Zapatero will hold talks with newly elected French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The two meetings are to give Zapatero a chance "to obtain valuable firsthand information" about the possibility of reaching agreement on a new treaty, the Spanish government said in a statement.

The treaty issue will be discussed at a June 21-22 EU summit in Germany, which holds the EU presidency.

The Netherlands and France rejected the draft European constitution in 2005 referendums, leaving it without the required unanimous approval by all EU nations. The treaty aimed to streamline EU decision-making, enhance the bloc's international role and prepare it to accept more member states. Eighteen countries, including Spain, ratified it.

The EU is now seeking ways to revise the treaty in the hope that it can still be adopted.

Spain wants to preserve much of the substance of the original draft of the constitution, the statement added.

Balkenende defends his idea of a scaled-down charter with no constitutional elements, saying said the EU should simply amend its current treaties rather than drafting a new one.

Sarkozy, on the other hand, has been promoting a simplified treaty since taking office earlier this month, with visits to Berlin and Brussels. He is pushing to have the smaller treaty approved by the EU nations by next year.

[Copyright AP with Expatica

Subject: Spanish news

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