The EU will only have one month to secure a deal
on the EU constitution. According to the Irish Presidency
formal talks will not restart before 17 May.
Heads of states are set to have only one month to wrap up
the talks on the EU constitution. That will be the
situation according to sources of the Irish EU presidency,
who have stated that the proposed timetable is to formally
restart the talks on 17 May. The plan will be debated at a
Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg 26 April, where the
Irish Foreign Minister Brian Cowen is exepected to propose
a two day IGC session on 17-18 May, the first formal step
to conclude the talks.
At the EU summit on 26 March, the EU
leaders unanimously committed themselves to reaching a deal
on the Constitution by the EU summit on 17-18 June. The new
momentum was created by a change of government in Spain and
of the Prime Minister in Poland. The two countries' refusal
to compromise on the issue of voting weights in the Council
were widely blamed for the breakdown of the Constitution
talks at the EU summit in December 2003. The time it has
taken for the new governments to actually assume office is
the explanation why formal talks have not started
The proposed Irish timetable will leave
the EU with only one more Foreign Affairs council before
the June summit deadline. However, the presidency does not
rule out an extra meeting of ministers if it is called for.
At this stage bilateral contacts are taking place to find a
compromise to pave the way for a final deal.