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EU in impasse over treaty four days before summit

EU in impasse over treaty four days before summit
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EU foreign ministers leave a top-level meeting in Luxembourg without having resolved their differences over the bloc’s proposed new treaty. It comes four days ahead of a summit which could either lift the EU out of two years of political stagnation – or equally plunge it deeper into institutional gridlock.

The issue of voting rights is proving to be one of the most contentious. Poland wants the EU system to be re-weighted, arguing it accords big states like Germany too much power and smaller ones like Poland too little. Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga: “We are ready for compromise but our proposal regarding the voting system was already a huge compromise. and on this issue we are bound by a parliamentary resolution tabled by opposition parties”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted negotiations with Poland on the issue have reached a deadlock. Warsaw threatened yesterday to veto any deal perceived as reducing its voting rights.

But, speaking after meeting Polish President Lech Kaczynski at the weekend, Merkel insisted the issue would be resolved at the summit: “I think it is clear that there are more possibilities than problems and I cannot imagine that the problem of one member state will stand as insolvable and all the others wash their hands. “

Merkel will chair the Brussels summit on Thursday and Friday under Germany’s EU Presidency. The aim is to lay the political foundations for a new treaty revamping EU institutions to replace the defunct constitution rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005.