Sarkozy gets 'competition' reference deleted from EU treaty

22nd June 2007, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, June 22, 2007 (AFP) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy has convinced the European Union's German presidency to drop a reference in a new treaty to "free and undistorted competition", his spokesman said Friday. At the French leader's request, the reference to competition as an EU obective was deleted from an outline of the treaty, which German Chancellor Angela Merkel was trying to draft at an EU summit in Brussels, Sarkozy's spokesman David Martinon said.

BRUSSELS, June 22, 2007 (AFP) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy has convinced the European Union's German presidency to drop a reference in a new treaty to "free and undistorted competition", his spokesman said Friday.
 
At the French leader's request, the reference to competition as an EU obective was deleted from an outline of the treaty, which German Chancellor Angela Merkel was trying to draft at an EU summit in Brussels, Sarkozy's spokesman David Martinon said.

The issue is highly contentious with many other member states such as Britain and the Netherlands deeply attached to idea that Europe's markets should be free from state meddling.

French fears that the EU fuels unrestrained, free-market competition boosted opposition to the bloc's doomed constitution, which French voters rejected in a referendum two years ago.Although successive EU treaties have stated free competition as one of the main objectives, French opponents seized on a reference in the charter to help mobilise voter opposition.

"There was a massive no in the referendum, the message of the people must be heeded," Martinon said.

The proposed new treaty, which is supposed to replace the constitution, now says simply that "the union offers its citizens a space of liberty, security and justice without internal borders and an internal market."

Martinon said that France "is not against competition, but just not as an objective. The objective is prosperity, growth."

France has frequently clashed with the European Commission over Paris's intervention into corporate affairs, which the top EU competition regulator frowns upon, fearing that it would give unfair advantages.

"It's out of the question that the Commission accepts to give up even part of its competencies," a source at the EU executive said.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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