Thursday

9th Jul 2020

German constitutional court to decide on EU treaty complaint

Germany's highest court is to decide upon a complaint brought by a German MP against the EU's latest treaty.

Peter Gauweiler, who hails from the Christian Social Union (CSU) - part of the governing coalition, wants the country's constitutional court to decide on the legality of the Lisbon Treaty, currently undergoing ratification across the 27-member European Union.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or subscribe as a group

"This treaty weakens democracy in European politics, especially national parliaments' right to have a say," Mr Gauweiler's lawyer told this week's edition of news magazine Focus.

The decision to bring a case to the court may mean that Germany does not approve the treaty in time for it to enter into force by the 1 January 2009 deadline agreed by EU leaders, with full ratification by all member states needed to bring the document into being.

The German parliament is due to ratify the treaty in May and is likely to approve it, however the final act of ratification requires the country's president, Horst Kohler, to sign off the document.

Mr Kohler may decide to wait for the court to reach a decision before putting his stamp under the treaty.

Formally, the president may decide to go ahead before the court has reached a verdict but this would be a politically difficult decision to take.

A similar scenario took place in Germany during the ratification of the EU constitution - the current treaty's similar-looking predecessor - but the process was stopped when French and Dutch voters rejected the constitution in referendums, effectively shelving the document.

The Irish vote

Meanwhile, another country in the ratification process that is set to provide for plenty of discussion is Ireland, the only member state to have a referendum.

Likely to take place on 5 June, the run-up to the small country's vote is to come under even more scrutiny since a bid to have a referendum in the UK was last week rejected by the House of Commons.

A leader in Saturday's edition of business daily the Financial Times noted that while in the UK "the chances of a plebiscite on Lisbon are now close to nil. The issue could be reopened if Ireland (...) votes it down."

Marc Mardell, the BBC's Europe editor, remarked on his blog last week that "while European politicians were most nervous about the prospect of a British referendum, an Irish "No" is not an impossibility."

Several of Britain's more eurosceptic newspapers commented that Ireland represents something of a 'last chance' for the treaty to be rejected.

Organisations in other countries are also galvanising themselves. Team, an umbrella organisation for eurosceptic organisations across the EU, sent out a press release over the weekend saying:

"Ireland's referendum probably represents the last chance to halt the centralising, undemocratic impetus of the EU."

Within Ireland itself, the population is perceived as being generally pro-European, while the government and the main political parties are in favour of the treaty.

But the fight ahead of the vote is already tough. A new group called Libertas is campaigning against the treaty on purely economic grounds, saying the document will make the EU less competitive affecting business-friendly Ireland.

This is a new approach and comes on top of other arguments, previously heard when Ireland was voting on the EU's Nice treaty, that the country's neutrality will be undermined.

In addition, ongoing investigations into the finances of prime minister Bertie Ahern by a tribunal and fears about an economic downturn may also affect the vote.

Last week, the government passed its referendum bill which, amongst other things, emphasizes that Ireland cannot take part in an EU defence policy.

So far the government has refused to name a date for the treaty referendum, with anti-treaty campaigners saying it is a political move designed to stifle debate.

Commission chief under fire for Croatia campaign video

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen recorded a video in support of Croatia's ruling party, which the EU executive said was in her "personal capacity" - and admits it was a "mistake" that this was not made clear.

Parliament vaping booths 'too confidential' to discuss

The European Parliament is refusing to disclose documents on an internal debate on whether to set up e-cigarette smoking booths at its premises in Strasbourg and Brussels, posing questions on how it handles transparency on relatively minor issues.

EU parliament chairs explain missing lobbyist meetings

MEPs in January 2019 agreed to a rule change in a bid for greater transparency. The rules included requiring committee chairs to publish their meetings with registered lobbyists. EUobserver spoke to six chairs, who haven't done so yet.

News in Brief

  1. Rushdie, Fukuyama, Rowling warn against 'intolerance'
  2. Clashes in Belgrade after new lockdown measures
  3. US passes milestone of 3m coronavirus infections
  4. France wary of any future lockdowns
  5. Lithuania bans Kremlin-linked Russia Today programmes
  6. UK nominates Liam Fox for WTO top job
  7. Italy supports Spain's Calviño for Eurogroup job
  8. France and Germany warn Israel on annexation 'consequences'

Commission chief under fire for Croatia campaign video

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen recorded a video in support of Croatia's ruling party, which the EU executive said was in her "personal capacity" - and admits it was a "mistake" that this was not made clear.

Parliament vaping booths 'too confidential' to discuss

The European Parliament is refusing to disclose documents on an internal debate on whether to set up e-cigarette smoking booths at its premises in Strasbourg and Brussels, posing questions on how it handles transparency on relatively minor issues.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. Five ideas to reshape 'Conference on Future of Europe'
  2. EU boosts pledges to relocate minors from Greece
  3. Hydrogen strategy criticised for relying on fossil fuel gas
  4. Merkel urges EU unity to hold off economic fallout and populism
  5. The opportunistic peace
  6. EU mulls new system to check illegal pushbacks of migrants
  7. EU forecasts deeper recession, amid recovery funds row
  8. Revealed: fossil-fuel lobbying behind EU hydrogen strategy

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us