The 18 EU member states that have ratified the stalled European Constitution meet in Madrid on 26 January 2007 in an attempt to save the substance of the text. But the initiative has already met with widespread criticism.
Ministers and secretaries of state from the EU-18 member states are meeting in Madrid on 26 January to put new impetus to stalled EU constitution talks. The “friends of the Constitution” will argue that more than two-thirds of member states have already ratified the existing treaty in an attempt to preserve the substance of the current text.
The Spanish and Luxembourg initiators claim that they want to “assist the German Presidency in steering the debate on the Constitutional Treaty”, but some fear that the initiative may sideline the German plans.
Foreign Ministers Jean Asselborn of Luxembourg and Miguel Ángel Moratinos of Spain argue in a Communication that the main achievements of the current text in the areas of external action and establishing an area of freedom, security and justice, should be maintained. “The Constitutional Treaty is the best instrument at hand to consolidate the project of European integration,” the pair claim.
Portugal and Ireland, as well as an observer from the Commission, will also be present at the informal gathering.
External Affairs and Co-operation Minister Miguel Ángel Moratinos will open the meeting, which will be chaired by Spanish Secretary of State Alberto Navarro and Luxembourgish European Affairs Minister Nicolas Schmit.