Sunday

17th Feb 2019

EU treaty change should be limited, says parliament president

Amid general weariness about the thought of changing the EU treaty once more, European Parliament President Jerzy Buzek has suggested an open-and-shut scenario where any tweaking be kept to the area of economic governance.

Speaking to reporters after addressing the summit of EU leaders, Buzek said telling citizens that treaty change will be limited may make the idea more palatable.

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"We must be rather gentle about (this) and delicate but I think we should start to open the discussion in our constituencies and to say that we can imagine that the treaty changes are not too big, are limited to one area of economic government, which could help to create a more stabilised European economy."

It should be explained to citizens that more "economic union" is needed because EU leaders "forgot slightly" about it when they created monetary union.

Germany has been among those most loudly calling for a treaty change to enable the punishment of fiscally misbehaving states, including possibly having them brought before the European Court of Justice.

The treaty idea, coming with memories of the torturous ratification of the current Lisbon Treaty still fresh, has received a lukewarm response in many quarters, particularly by those governments that will have to put any changes to a referendum.

Ireland's Sunday Business Post reported last weekend that Dublin has already told its EU partners that it is "just not realistic" to think that Irish people - subject to harsh austerity measures in return for an EU/IMF loan - will pass a referendum.

"We could happily agree to a new treaty and a referendum but we could not pass it," the paper quotes a source as saying.

Ireland only passed both the Lisbon Treaty and the Nice Treaty on a second referendum.

Meanwhile, talk of treaty change also comes amid a return of the EU to centre-stage discussion for the ruling British Conservatives.

Tory politicians regularly hit out at what they see as EU over-regulation in the area of social affairs and employment.

A draft new law in the UK suggests that any significant treaty changes of the future would have to be put to a referendum.

Admitting that "there is no positive atmosphere for any referendum in the member states today," Buzek pointed out that treaty change is definitely on the way in any case.

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