France and Netherlands agree on EU treaty

17th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 17, 2007 (AFP) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende largely agree on how to reform the EU's institutions, a French official said Saturday following talks between the two.

PARIS, June 17, 2007 (AFP) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende largely agree on how to reform the EU's institutions, a French official said Saturday following talks between the two.

The leaders "agree to favour the solution of a simplified (EU) treaty that would not have the characteristics of a European constitution", Sarkozy's spokesman David Martinon said.

"They also equally agree on the necessity of keeping the main institutional advances proposed in the (rejected) constitution, notably the strengthening of the role of national parliaments under the subsidiarity principle, the double majority principle, and the extension of qualified majority."

A double majority, vehemently opposed by Poland, implies that resolutions by the Council of Ministers would not prevail unless they were backed both by 55 percent of the EU members as well as a bloc of nations representing 65 percent of the EU population.

The spokesman stressed that Sarkozy and Balkenende, who held talks at the presidential residence in Versailles, "were convinced of the necessity of finding agreement at the next European council, which must take the form of a clear-cut and comprehensive mandate for calling an intergovernmental conference as soon as possible".

"They agreed to stay in direct contact to work towards a resolution of the institutional crisis," he concluded.

Voters in France and the Netherlands rejected the draft EU constitution in referenda two years ago.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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