Schroeder, Chirac meet on constitution
9 December 2003
PARIS – German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder held talks with French President Jacques Chirac Tuesday on the stalled negotiations on a constitution for the European Union.
Speaking after the meeting, Chirac said that France and Germany would reject a constitutional treaty for the EU if it did not meet their expectations.
France and Germany “will not accept an agreement at any price and under any conditions”, the French president said at a joint press conference in Paris with Schroeder.
The two leaders are expected to coordinate their joint position for the difficult negotiations expected in Brussels on Friday, when the leaders of the 15 current and the 10 future EU member states meet.
Also taking part in the talks will be the two countries’ foreign ministers, Dominique de Villepin and Joschka Fischer.
On Monday, during a foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels, de Villepin and Fischer urged that the constitution be ratified as soon as possible.
Responding to a British suggestion that a vote on members’ voting rights – the main sticking point of negotiations – be deferred until 2009, de Villepin said, “Delays in taking decisions will not be satisfactory.”
Poland and Spain are among members taking issue with the current draft of the constitution because of its “double majority” voting system. If adopted, decisions would be taken if half the bloc’s members representing at least 60 per cent of the E.U. population agree on the issue.
Madrid and Warsaw want voting to be based on the EU’s 2000 Nice Treaty, which gives them each 27 votes, compared to 29 votes for the larger states, such as Germany and France.
Subject: German news