The Berlin Declaration has set out a timeline for an institutional renewal of the EU by 2009. However, opinions differ as to what should be included in the new EU Treaty.
In view of the tight timeline that EU leaders have set, the new treaty is likely to take over the main institutional changes of the EU Constitution agreed in 2004. On the policy side, there may be some new proposals on what to include in the treaty.
The Berlin Declaration text mentions as main future challenges:
- Energy and climate change;
- the fight against terrorism, organised crime and illegal immigration, and;
- more co-operation in the area of Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) in order to promote peace, freedom and development in the world.
The text also stresses the “social responsibility” of the European model and makes references to solidarity as one of the EU’s key values. Some member states, led by France, have declared that they want more ‘Social Europe’ included in the Constitution.
Merkel also said that she would continue her often-criticised strategy of holding secretive consultations with member states to shape the new treaty. Speaking at a press conference on 25 March 2007, she said: “Not everything can take place in the public domain. There will have to be many consultations, including bilateral ones. This is by nature of the subject matter not possibel to do in public.” Merkel referred to the Rome Treaties, which were negotiated “behind closed doors”. She said: “That’s the way you have to do it.”