Thursday

20th Feb 2020

Merkel to travel to Ireland for EU treaty vote

German chancellor Angela Merkel is to travel to Ireland next month to help persuade Irish citizens to vote yes in the country's referendum on the EU treaty.

Irish foreign minister Dermot Ahern on Thursday (13 March) said that Prime Minister Bertie Ahern had asked the chancellor "some time back", with Ms Merkel due to make the visit on 14 April.

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 join as a group

She is expected to make a keynote speech in favour of the EU treaty, which Germany was largely responsible for putting together after its predecessor, the EU constitution, was rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005.

"She's a plain speaker, good at communication. People would listen to her," said foreign minister Ahern, according to the Irish Times.

The chancellor was "a very impressive person," he added, while attending an EU summit in Brussels.

Ms Merkel is expected to speak at Ireland's National Forum on Europe as well as before both houses of parliament.

Ireland is the only country holding a referendum on the EU treaty - it is expected to take place in the second week of June - leading to tremendous pressure from other capitals on Dublin to secure a yes vote.

So far, five countries have ratified the EU treaty - France, Romania, Hungary, Slovenia and Malta. It needs to be approved by all 27 member states for it to come into force.

EU leaders are aiming to get it into place by 1 January next year.

But this timetable may be put into jeopardy by Germany itself as the document is to be challenged in the country's constitutional court.

The German parliament is expected to endorse the treaty on 23 May but centre-right MP Peter Gauweiler, from the governing Christrian Social Union, is to put in a challenge with the country's highest court after a parliamentary vote on national sovereignty

The challenge will mean that the last step of ratification, a signature by the German president to turn it into law, will be delayed.

Neighbouring Poland is also facing ratification problems after it emerged earlier this week that MPs from the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party have threatened to vote against the treaty.

The party, whose leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski negotiated the treaty, wants to ensure that the country's opt outs from the citizens rights part of the treaty are maintained.

The PiS votes will be needed in order to reach the two-thirds majority required for parliamentary ratification.

Exclusive

EU commissioner lobbied by energy firm he owns shares in

EU budget commissioner Johannes Hahn owns 2,200 shares in Austria's largest electricity provider. Those shares have tripled in value since he first declared them in 2014. In January, the firm met his head of cabinet to discuss climate policy.

EU transparency on lobbyist meetings still piecemeal

Small steps are being made to reveal who is lobbying who within the EU. But the approach is basically haphazard and piecemeal - meaning the public remains largely in the dark and unable to truly scrutinise the influencers.

'Top-down' future of Europe conference 'will fail' warning

The new president of the Committee of the Regions has warned the EU Commission that a top-down, centralised, Brussels-driven conference will fail to rebuild trust in Europe. Instead, he proposes a stronger say for local and regional authorities.

'Law of silence' reigns over EESC leaders, says staff union

The secretary-general of the European Economic and Social Committee, an EU institution, has been accused by a trade union representing staff for perpetuating a "law of silence" amid a flurry of abuse allegations against its likely future president Jacek Krawczyk.

Exclusive

Selmayr did not want top job, says predecessor

The controversial Martin Selmayr never wanted the promotion to top EU civil servant, according to his predecessor. That short-lived promotion saw criticism from both the European Ombudsman and the European Parliament as inflicting "reputational damage" on the EU.

News in Brief

  1. EU unveils white paper on AI and data strategy
  2. Dutch court rules against Russia in €46bn Yukos case
  3. Britain to bar 'Polish plumber-type' migrants
  4. Greece seeks EU help to get back classical statues from UK
  5. HSBC to cut 35,000 jobs worldwide
  6. Regions chief appeals against cutting EU cohesion funds
  7. Verhofstadt criticises UK Brexit negotiator
  8. Turkish court acquits Gezi park activists

This is the (finally) approved European Commission

MEPs gave the green light to the entire new European Commission during the plenary session in Strasbourg - but with the abstention of the Greens and a rejection by the leftist group GUE/NGL.

Magazine

Welcome to the EU engine room

Welcome to the EU engine room: the European Parliament (EP's) 22 committees, which churn out hundreds of new laws and non-binding reports each year and which keep an eye on other European institutions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersScottish parliament seeks closer collaboration with the Nordic Council
  2. UNESDAFrom Linear to Circular – check out UNESDA's new blog
  3. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December

Latest News

  1. EU leaders face major clash on rule of law budget link
  2. North Macedonia warns EU on 'dirtiest ever' election
  3. Western 'endarkenment' and the voodoo politics of Europe
  4. Warning of agricultural 'digital arms race' in EU
  5. Cayman Islands put on tax-haven blacklist after Brexit
  6. Boris' Brexit bluff? - UK will resist alignment to the end
  7. US still open to Kosovo-Serbia land swap
  8. EU countries enter final phase of budget talks

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us