European Union leaders are to spend another day trying to reach agreement on a new treaty to replace the beleaguered Constitution. A full day of meetings yesterday at the EU Summit in Brussels did not lead to any breakthroughs. But the intense efforts are making inroads into Polish and British concerns over the division of power between Brussels and big and small member states.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters during a break in the discussions: “In terms of good news I can tell you that Cyprus and Malta have been admitted into the euro zone. But there’s not yet any result concerning the European Treaty. However the atmosphere of the talks is good and open, and we are continuing to work on it, but we can’t yet announce that we have an agreement, and we are not even sure we will get one.”
France has said it wants a “mini-treaty” and it is certainly heading that way as the laboriously-drafted original content is cut away. The controversial ‘Charter of Fundamental Rights’ is gone. So too an article asserting EU law over national law. And there’ll now be no EU Foreign Minister.
Polish opposition to the voting rights appears to be softening, at least a little, in the face of a diplomatic barrage, and offers of membership in the EU inner circle of decision making. And so far the omissions are what Britain wanted. The outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair is keen to dispel protestors beliefs that European leaders aren’t listening, and also to avoid a referendum.