GERMAN CHANCELLOR Angela Merkel said recently that Portugal’s Presidency of the European Council in July could redesign a new Treaty for Europe.
The accepted unofficial new leader of the European Council suggested that Portugal would organise a Conference of EU Leaders to redefine and redesign the new Treaty for Europe, which would bring Portugal “an enormous responsibility” in finding a solution to the current stalemate in European policy affairs. Merkel made her suggestion in a press conference following the official 50th anniversary ceremonies for the Treaty of Rome, whose original core members founded the European Union.
Tony Blair joined European leaders declaring the necessity for an EU Constitution Mark II within two years. Now European leaders are expected to hammer out the outline for the new constitution during the Portuguese Presidency with the new Treaty for Europe being adopted in 2009 during the Euro Elections.
The German chancellor said that the current German Presidency would do everything possible to put in place the various steps necessary to arrive at a new Treaty of Rome. The necessity of reformulating a new treaty became apparent in the crisis of 2005 when both the French and Dutch voted to reject the European Constitution in 2005.
Now, Angela Merkel, Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates and other key EU leaders will have to decide what part of the old Treaty of Europe can be kept and what will have to be thrown out without provoking more crises and referendums.
Powers to be kept are likely to be the powers to fight climate change and terrorism, a European foreign minister and an EU President are expected to be voted in.
In various cross-European polls, only 27 per cent of those asked wanted Europe to have more powers while 75 per cent wanted a say via vote on any new treaty giving the European Union more power than it already has.
The President of the European Commission, Durão Barroso, said recently that Portugal’s Presidency of the European Council would mean an enormous opportunity to show her commitment to Europe and the European project.
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