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Europe's treaty nightmare

brussels bureau

Europe's treaty nightmare


In order to make sure greater fiscal discipline is set in stone, Germany and France want treaty change. That is what has to happen they argue, even if both countries know that they are opening a Pandora’s box.

There are two options. Immediately incorporate the new text into the existing treaties, making ratification by all 27 member states essential. Or option two: a partial deal, restricted to the 17 countries in the euro zone, leaving the door open for others, if they wish, to join later.
If the first option appears a little unrealistic it is because it runs a high risk of being blocked. To ratify the Lisbon Treaty, Ireland held two referendums to win the approval of its citizens.
In the UK, the Eurosceptic wing of David Cameron’s party would be sure to present him some difficulties. Hence the idea to stick with 17 euro zone members and leave the door open. Limiting agreements to a certain number of member states has been done in the past, although it can present some legal problems.
President of The Institute for European Studies Marianne Dony said:“If we take a totally independent treaty, as was the case with Schengen in the beginning, these treaties are completely independent of the Treaty of the European Union. They need their own institutions, their own bodies, they can’t just borrow the institutions of the European Union, to the extent that they are treated separately, and this is obviously the biggest drawback. “
EU Council President Herman van Rompuy has proposed a third way, via a legal loop hole, that might avoid full treaty change and painful individual referendums. Whether that would be enough to satisfy Berlin and Paris, however, is still unclear.

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