Monday

26th Sep 2016

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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"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.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Brexit: preparing for a bitter divorce

Conservatives Brexiteers and Labour leadership are increasingly leaning away from the Norwegian-style deal with the EU, towards a UK-specific arrangement.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleBringing Education to Refugees in Lebanon With the Clooney Foundation for Justice
  2. HuaweiAn Industry-leading ICT Solution Provider and Building a Better World
  3. World VisionUN Refugees Meeting a Wasted Opportunity to Improve the Lives of Millions of Children
  4. Belgrade Security ForumCan Democracy Survive Global Disorder?
  5. YouthProAktivEntrepreneurship, Proactivity, Innovation - Turn Ideas Into Action #IPS2016
  6. GoogleTrimming the Waste-Line: Weaving Circular Economy Principles Into Our Operations
  7. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeDon't Miss the Mega Conference to Master Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  8. Martens CentreFighting Terrorism: Do we have what it takes? 26 September, Brussels
  9. ACCAKaras Report on Access to Finance for SMEs in a Capital Markets Union
  10. Centre Maurits Coppieters"I still believe we can change Europe" Said David Grosclaude
  11. World VisionThe Child Protection Index to be Launched in Brussels on 28 September 2016
  12. HuaweiDigital Transformation: Unleashing Europe’s Potential