Germany has rejected suggestions that the EU-25 give up their national vetoes in matters of common police and judicial cooperation. The idea from current EU president Finland is already written into the abortive constitutional treaty. Berlin said it wants the Constitution to move this along. An EU official asked if only a new terrorist attack would spur the Member States into action.
Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini added to that:
“We cannot be paralized till the Constitution will be – as I personally strongly hope – relaunched and finally approved.”
At the ministerial meeting concluding in Tampere, Spain had called for help from its partners in dealing with a surge of illegal immigrants arriving on its shores. The other EU members voiced solidarity without offering financial backing.
Germany said asking for others’ money was too easy.
Recalling the 1990s when Germany had to handle hundreds of thousands of refugees from the former Yugoslavia, Interior Minister Wolfgang Scheuble said:
“We’re giving more solidarity now than we got then.”
Although there was agreement to reinforce efforts to bolster the EU’s new Warsaw-based external borders agency Frontex, which is trying to prevent would-be immigrants into Europe from making it very far from west Afrcian points of origin, little in the way of concrete offers came with this.
It was in Tampere in 1999 that the European Council placed developing the Union as an area of freedom, security and justice at the top of the political agenda.