Portugal urges progress on new Treaty at EU ‘mini-summit’

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At an informal EU meeting in Portugal, Prime Minister José Sócrates urged Germany to obtain a ‘precise mandate’ under its presidency in order to advance institutional changes for the enlarged EU.

The present and upcoming EU Presidencies, Germany, Portugal and Slovenia, discussed in “great detail the way forward for the Treaty settlement”, Commission President José Manuel Barroso said, after an informal meeting in Sintra on 12-13 May 2007.

He added: “We hope that by the end of June, under the chairmanship of Chancellor Merkel, we will have made progress on the matter.”

Portuguese Prime Minister José Sócrates made clear that he wants to see progress in negotiations on a new treaty before he takes over the EU presidency on 1 July 2007. “Naturally, what we want is that at the June meeting a consensus is reached so that it is clear what the road map is so that Europe can adopt an institutional treaty as soon as possible.”

Merkel urged the need for a new treaty to make the EU fit to face the challenges of globalisation. She told reporters: “Germany alone cannot bring all these issues to their successful conclusion…But I trust that I have the support of my colleagues here, who will continue to show commitment to our course, to setting Europe on the right track an the right foundation.”

While the newly-elected French President Nicolas Sarkozy supports a quick resolution of the constitutional crisis and favours a “mini-Treaty”, Tony Blair’s successor Gordon Brown may prove to be a more difficult counterpart in the new Treaty negotiations.

At the European Summit on 21-22 June 2007, the German Presidency will present a road map on how to salvage the stalled EU Constitution, following two negative referenda in 2005. The Constitutional Treaty is currently ratified by 18 of the EU’s 27 member states.

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