Presenting the presidency programme to the Parliament, German Chancellor Angela Merkel also made clear that institutional change was necessary before further enlargement.
Speaking to MEPs on 17 January 2007, Chancellor Merkel presented a working programme for the next 18 months, under the German, Portuguese and Slovenian “presidency trio” and pushed to find an answer to the constitutional impasse in time for the summit on 21-22 June 2007.
Merkel made her opinion clear: “The period of reflection is over. Until June, we now have to come to new decisions.” She said that the German Presidency would lay out a road map for the further constitutional process, in order to adopt a Constitution before the next European elections in 2009. Merkel warned that “a failure would be a historical default.” She stressed that institutional changes should be made before any further enlargement.
She also underlined the need for a comprehensive trade agreement with Russia. Merkel is to discuss the issue on her visit to Russia on 21 January 2007.
Commission President José Manuel Barroso said that the presidency had his “full support”, but also added some concrete proposals for the Berlin declaration on 25 March 2007, which will lay out the path towards an institutional settlement. He said: “The Berlin Declaration must look forward and deliver a political statement about the Europe we want for the next fifty years.” In particular, Barroso pointed to the issues of social and economic cohesion, energy and climate change, transparency and information, security and the spread of European values.