7th Aug 2020

Berlin starts talks over Lisbon treaty law

  • The Bundestag: Germany's ratification of the Lisbon treaty was suspended by its top court (Photo: Wikipedia)

Leading representatives of the German governing parties will meet on Monday (3 August) in Berlin to formulate legislation on how to implement the EU's Lisbon treaty, as requested by the country's constitutional court.

A new deal is needed after Germany's highest court on 30 June ruled that the Lisbon treaty can only be ratified if the national parliament's role is first strengthened.

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The 147 page-long ruling suspended the ratification process of the treaty until the new provisions requested by the court come into force.

Time is short for Berlin as the German parliament will soon be dissolved due to general elections on 27 September.

On 2 October the Irish are to vote in a second referendum on Lisbon, with German clarity over the treaty seen as important for securing a Yes-majority.

Germany's centre-right CDU and CSU parties are expected to work out a deal at a meeting on 21 August, with a first reading in the parliament expected on 26 August. The fast-track plan is to have the law adopted on 8 September.

The legislation could then be approved by the German upper chamber, the Bundesrat, on 18 September. Constitutional court judges in Karlsruhe could only then decide if their concerns have been met.

The Christian Democratic parties are internally split on how far-reaching powers the German parliament should have over EU lawmaking, with the Bavarian CSU faction of the party being the most keen to curb Brussels.

The constitutional case was brought by CSU MP Peter Gauweiler and the left party, Die Linke. According to German media reports, Mr Gauweiler hs already prepared a new legal complaint if he deems the implementation of the Lisbon treaty into German decision-making structures unsatisfactory.

The CSU party has formulated 14 guidelines on how to strengthen the German parliament's influence over EU legislation. The party's support is needed to reach a two-thirds majority in parliament to have the Lisbon deal approved, in reality giving the CSU a veto power.

Representatives of the German regions are also to get involved in Monday's talks, but it is no secret that in the end a deal must be reached between chancellor Angela Merkel from the CDU party, the Social Democrat foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the Bavarian minister-president Horst Seehofer from the CSU.

At the regional level, Hessian Europe minister Hahn representing the liberal FDP party has said Hessen would only approve the package provided the regions' influence on EU law-making is "fully" secure.


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