Tuesday

18th Jan 2022

Lisbon treaty would have helped in Georgia crisis, says France

  • President Sarkozy's words of support for the Lisbon Treaty come amid doubt that it will ever come into force (Photo: Portuguese EU Presidency)

French president Nicolas Sarkozy has used the ongoing crisis between Russia and Georgia to put the case for the EU's new treaty, currently facing ratification difficulties.

In an opinion piece in Monday's edition of French daily Le Figaro, Mr Sarkozy, who currently holds the EU's six month presidency, wrote that the Lisbon Treaty would have given the bloc the tools it needed to handle the Moscow-Tbilisi war.

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

"It is notable that had the Lisbon Treaty, which is in the process of being ratified, already been in force, the European Union would have had the institutions it needs to cope with international crises."

He named the most important innovations as being the "stable" European Council President - instead of the current half-yearly system - " a High Representative endowed with a real European diplomatic service and considerable financial means in order to put decisions into force in coordination with member states. "

The short pitch for the Lisbon Treaty also revealed a little how the French president views the role of the EU's first longterm president of the EU - a post that can be held for up to five years.

The treaty itself is ambiguous about the president's exact role with the potential for conflict rife with member states and EU officials divided about whether the position should be ceremonial or have real teeth.

Entwined in this question is how much the president should represent the EU in external policy, a policy area that is foreseen for the EU's foreign policy chief.

In the Figaro article, Mr Sarkory suggests that the president's position in such crises as the Russia-Georgia one would be one of "acting in close consultation with the heads of state and government most affected."

This would very much put the President in the foreign policy field. It would also foresee a formal hierarchy among member states as it would give priority to those considered most affected.

This kind of scenario has been predicted by some smaller member states who fear that the president would have an all-powerful role, reducing the say of certain governments, although the working principle of the bloc is that member states are equal.

But Mr Sarkozy's words of support for the Lisbon Treaty come amid doubt that it will ever come into force. Although ratified by the vast majority of national parliaments, it was rejected by Irish voters in a referendum in June.

All member states need to ratify the document for it to go into place.

At the moment, Dublin is considering its options. It could either put the treaty to another referendum or try and figure out a legal contortion allowing it to use parliamentary ratification only. But the January 2009 deadline by which governments had hoped to have the treaty in place is certain to be missed.

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. Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola elected EU Parliament president
  2. Swedish MEP wants fines for EU carbon villains
  3. One year on: EU urges Russia to free Navalny
  4. EU bids farewell to late parliament president Sassoli
  5. Sweden investigates drones over nuclear plants
  6. Argentina, Australia, and Canada face EU travel restrictions
  7. German minister takes EU message to Moscow
  8. Djokovic now also at risk of missing French Open

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. 'Hundreds' of Russian mercenaries in Mali, EU confirms
  2. Euro countries start haggling on fiscal rules
  3. New doubts raised on tracking ads ahead of key vote
  4. Time to stop China's economic hostage-taking of Lithuania
  5. James Kanter, Shada Islam are new editors at EUobserver
  6. The loopholes and low bar in Macron's push for a global tax
  7. No love for Russia in latest EU strategy
  8. New EU Parliament chief elected This WEEK

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us