9th Apr 2020

France and Germany positive on EU Constitution

France and Germany have given positive signs about the Constitution just ten days before a crucial meeting of EU leaders to decide whether there is enough political will to revive negotiations.

A meeting between German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and French President Jacques Chirac in Paris on Tuesday (16 March) saw the two leaders agree that the Constitution must be wrapped up quickly.

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Mr Chirac said that France and Germany favoured finishing negotiations on the new Constitution "as soon as possible and certainly by the end of 2004".

Mr Schröder was more optimistic about the timing.

"I believe that we have the chance to secure a deal under the Irish Presidency [which runs until the end of June]. France and Germany will work for this", said the German Chancellor.

Their positive tone follows an about-face by Spain under its new socialist leader elected on Sunday.

Madrid is now much more conciliatory and prepared for a deal on the Treaty blueprint.

However, Poland has still to publicly make a concession on its hard-line position on the Constitution.

Together with Madrid - before Spain's elections - the two countries had staunchly opposed the proposed new voting system which would alter the balance of power in the EU.

Poland alone on the battlefield

Poland's prime minister Leszek Miller has acknowledged that he is now more isolated. He said on Tuesday "It appears that we are standing alone on the battlefield".

Following the meeting between France and Germany, the next important step will be a meeting between Irish prime minister and current head of the EU Bertie Ahern and Mr Chirac on Monday (22 March).

This will set the tone for the meeting of EU leaders later in that week where the Irish will present a progress report on the Constitution negotiations.


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