EU leaders set 2009 deadline for institutional reform

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Celebrating the EU’s 50th anniversary at an informal summit in Berlin, EU leaders on 25 March 2007 vowed to have a new treaty in place by 2009.

“We are united in our aim of placing the EU on a renewed common basis before the European Parliament elections in 2009,” the text of the Berlin Declaration reads.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants to present a road map for a new treaty at the end of her presidency at the EU Summit on 21-22 June 2007. Speaking at a press conference, she said that she hoped an Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) could take place under the six-month Portuguese EU Presidency, which begins in July 2007.

However, not all EU leaders share Merkel’s ambitions. Polish President Lech Kaczynski called her timetable “unrealistic”, while Czech President Vaclav Klaus, who had criticised the Berlin Declaration ahead of the Summit, made clear that for him a new treaty was not a priority.

In an interview with German TV channel ZDF, Merkel warned: “The situation is very serious.” In order to be able to act, she said, the EU needed a new treaty.

And in her speech she urged: “[The EU] must ensure that even with 27 or more member states its institutions function efficiently, democratically and in way that citizens understand. Much is at stake.”

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