Monday

25th Mar 2019

Prodi favours two-speed EU if mini-treaty adopted

  • Italy won't sign up to just anything, says Mr Prodi (Photo: European Commission)

Italian leader Romano Prodi has said his country will not "sign up just to any compromise" on the revised EU constitution, adding that a minimalist solution - emerging as the most likely deal ahead of EU talks in June - should prompt member states which favour deeper integration to go ahead on their own.

"For us, the voice of citizens from the countries that ratified the treaty in 2004 has to be valued the same as those from countries that have not. And that's why Italy is not ready to pursue minimal common denominations at any cost," Mr Prodi said on Wednesday (2 May) in Lisbon, according to Italian press.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The EU constitution, largely ratified by 18 member states including Italy, was rejected by French and Dutch citizens in 2005. The European Union's German presidency is currently preparing a roadmap for adopting a revised version.

Speaking at a debate about the future of Europe at the Portuguese parliament - Lisbon is set to chair the EU from July - Mr Prodi said "we don't necessarily have to proceed all together at the same speed."

"Already now, some significant European projects, such as the euro or the Schengen zone, have been realized by only some member states," he added, referring to the 13-nation strong common currency area and the 13-member EU borderless travel zone.

Mr Prodi's comments come in the context of increasing support for a pared-down EU treaty.

Recently, the Czech Republic, which was previously reluctant to back Berlin's attempts to save the draft EU charter, has confirmed its willingness to accept a short and simple version of the text and to see it ratified by 2009.

With the UK and the Netherlands voicing support for a similar solution, which is to be adopted by parliaments rather than referendums, analysts suggest the EU could strike an important deal on the treaty at its 21 June summit in Brussels.

Question marks still remain over the positions of two of the biggest EU states, France and Poland, however.

The French position will only become clear after the final round of presidential elections this Sunday (6 May), with leading candidate Nicolas Sarkozy favouring a mini-treaty adopted by parliament and Segolene Royal calling for a new referendum on any revised text.

Meanwhile, Poland has warned that it may veto talks on the new treaty if other states are unwilling to explore changes to the proposed EU voting system.

The proposed new rules would see Poland lose power vis-a-vis Germany compared to the current provisions of the Nice treaty.

EU on path towards whistleblower protection

EU lawmakers and member states have struck a political deal on the first-ever EU-wide directive on whistleblower protection - following years of big tax-evasion revelations and the laundering of dirty money in European banks.

Germany's CDU lukewarm on Macron's EU vision

Germany's anointed new leader has echoed France in calling for EU reform to combat populism - but with a stronger role for national governments and with little prospect of sharing German wealth.

Exclusive

Sefcovic campaign videos feature fellow commissioners

Maros Sefcovic, commission vice-president in charge of Energy Union, is running to be president of Slovakia. Now two of his fellow EU commissioners have endorsed him - raising questions about their independence.

EU college defends Saudi-style visits, attacks 'sloppy' media

College of Europe rector Jorg Monar says the surplus money made from setting up closed-door meetings between the Saudi government and EU officials, including MEPs, "would barely cover the replacement costs of a beamer in a College seminar room."

News in Brief

  1. May admits 'not sufficient support' for third Brexit vote
  2. Orban vows more EU 'information campaigns'
  3. May 'effectively out of power', says Scottish leader
  4. May under pressure to resign over Brexit endgame
  5. Million march against Brexit, five million sign petition
  6. Italy first G7 country to sign China Belt and Road deal
  7. EU leaders at summit demand more effort on disinformation
  8. Report: Corbyn to meet May on Monday for Brexit talks

Magazine

The changing of the guards in the EU in 2019

The four most powerful EU institutions - Commission, Parliament, Council and Central Bank will all have new leaders in the coming ten months. Here is an overview.

Magazine

Explained: What is the European Parliament?

While domestic political parties often use the European Parliament as a dumping ground for unwanted politicians - and a majority of citizens don't bother to vote - the parliament, over the years, has become a dominant force in the EU.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  5. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  8. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID

Latest News

  1. Romania presidency shatters EU line on Jerusalem
  2. The Spitzen process - a coup that was never accepted
  3. Russia and money laundering in Europe
  4. Italy takes China's new Silk Road to the heart of Europe
  5. What EU leaders agreed on climate - and what they mean
  6. Copyright and (another) new Brexit vote This WEEK
  7. EU avoids Brexit crash, sets new date for 12 April
  8. Campaigning commissioners blur the lines

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us