Saturday

22nd Jan 2022

Germany to make EU constitution a priority next year

Germany's foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said that reviving the EU constitution will be one of the priorities of his country's EU presidency next year.

Speaking before a gathering of German diplomats on Monday (4 September), Mr Steinmeier said "We need a constitution as soon as possible."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"We need this constitution so that we can benefit from better representation in foreign policy and security issues. The constitution will improve the EU," he suggested.

His French counterpart Philippe Douste-Blazy, who was present at the meeting, gave his backing to the document as well.

According to Reuters news agency, Mr Douste-Blazy told the group that France also wants to see the constitution project relaunched.

The EU charter was rejected by both French and Dutch voters in referendums last year putting the bloc into a conundrum about how to solve the political tangle – as 15 countries have already ratified the document.

Meeting in June after a one-year period of reflection, member states avoided taking any concrete decisions and instead set out a timetable.

Under this timetable, Germany will during its presidency present a report on the constitution based on "extensive consultations" with other member states.

The report should contain an "assessment of the state of discussion" and "explore possible future developments."

Afterwards EU leaders should examine the report using it as the basis for "further decisions."

However member states have not committed themselves politically much further than this with the June statements concluding in a woolly manner that it is "understood that the necessary steps to that effect will have been taken during the second semester of 2008 at the latest."

In the second half of 2008, France will have the presidency of the EU and will be under new leadership following elections in 2007.

The Netherlands, facing elections in November this year, could have a new leader with analysts suggesting that only after elections in these two countries can a constitution revival be spoken about in any real sense.

However, others are taking a more practical approach. EU commission president Jose Manuel Barroso has made it clear that he thinks the bloc should stop navel-gazing over its constitutional tangle and should rather focus on concrete things that it can achieve using its internal market.

Catalan MEPs lose immunity, slam 'political persecution'

Catalan separatist MEPs Carles Puigdemont, Toni Comín and Clara Ponsatí lost their parliamentary immunity - a result they have hailed as a "political victory" for bringing the conflict between Catalonia and Spain closer to the heart of Europe.

12-month Future EU Conference is 'impossible', expert warns

The debate about the much-delayed Conference on the Future of Europe so far has been locked in endless institutional infighting over who should lead the event - lowering the expectations about what can be achieved in the coming months.

Future of Europe: Nearly half of citizens want reforms

European Parliament president David Sassoli called for the Conference on the Future of Europe "to start as soon as possible". Meanwhile, nearly half of EU citizens would like to see reforms to the bloc.

EU parliament snubs anti-corruption researchers

Transparency International carried out three separate studies on integrity, of the European Parliament, the European Commission, and the Council (representing member states). The European Parliament refused to cooperate.

Cyprus: a heavy caseload for new EU prosecutors office

The new European Public Prosecutor's office will become operational in March. It is tasked to carry out criminal fraud investigations of the EU budget. But of the 140 required European delegated prosecutors, only nine have so far set up office.

News in Brief

  1. 'No embargo' on meetings with Putin, EU says
  2. Austria to fine unvaccinated people €3,600
  3. MEP: Airlines should start paying for CO2 sooner
  4. Twitter forced to disclose what it does to tackle hate speech
  5. EU watchdog calls for ban on political microtargeting
  6. MEPs adopt position on Digital Service Act
  7. Blinken delivers stark warning to Russia in Berlin
  8. Hungary's Orbán to discuss nuclear project with Putin

MEPs chide Portugal and Council in EU prosecutor dispute

The Belgian and Bulgarian prosecutors who were appointed had also not been the experts' first choice. Belgian prosecutor Jean-Michel Verelst has challenged the council's decision at the European Court of Justice.

Latest News

  1. Lawyers threaten action over new EU gas and nuclear rules
  2. MEPs urge inclusion of abortion rights in EU charter
  3. EU orders Poland to pay €70m in fines
  4. Dutch mayors protest strict lockdown measures
  5. Macron promises strong EU borders
  6. MEPs to crackdown on digital 'Wild West'
  7. Macron calls for new security order and talks with Russia
  8. Macron's vision will hit EU Council veto buffers

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us