Finland premier backs EU treaty change bid
Finland's Prime Minister Mari Kiviniemi said her country will back a French-German bid to rewrite the European Union treaty at an EU summit starting later Thursday.
"If this new system requires treaty change, then treaty change should be done," Kiviniemi said in a statement released hours from talks that have divided the EU bloc.
Two days talks from 1500 GMT will focus primarily on a package of proposals hammered out over months that aims to strengthen economic governance across the bloc of half a billion people, with the creation of an emergency fund for states that fail to balance budgets.
Germany and France, sources said, would ask partners to agree to a tiny tweaking of the treaty later, but before 2013, a move that requires unanimous support from the 27 states in the union.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Nicolas Sarkozy also want to be able to punish chronic over-spenders by withdrawing their voting rights.
"The euro area needs a credible permanent crisis mechanism to ensure the financial stability of the euro area as a whole," Kiviniemi underlined.
She said that a system for helping states that get too deep into trouble to dig themselves out would also have to make it "clear" that "creditors should carry the burden of any future restructuring together with the member state in question," a key German demand.
A last-minute deal between Berlin and Paris has whipped up a storm, given that the Lisbon treaty took a decade of fraught negotiations before coming into force only last December.
© 2010 AFP