Steinmeier: June Summit will be ‘solidarity test’

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier pleaded for more solidarity within the EU ahead of the European Summit, as the Czech government teams up with the Poles to open up the voting-rights issue in the new treaty.

Speaking at the WDR Europe Forum in Berlin on 9 May 2007, Steinmeier made clear that with a view to renewing the current treaties, the June Summit will be “the next test of our mutual solidarity”.

Urging member states to stick to the current text, he said: “The Constitution will make the EU more efficient, more transparent and more democratic.” But he also acknowledged that some changes to the draft Constitutional Treaty would be inevitable.

Steinmeier added that he would welcome climate protection and energy security being included in the new treaty.

Meanwhile, the Czech government has joined forces with the Poles, asking to open up institutional issues, such as voting rights, which the German Presidency is eager to leave unchanged.

In the meantime, Socialist MEP and Constitutional Affairs Committee Chairman Jo Leinen put forward his proposals on how to solve the Constitutional crisis.

He proposes to split the Constitutional Treaty into two parts: a Fundamental Treaty, consisting of 70 articles and based on part I of the Constitutional Treaty and a Treaty on the EU’s policies, based on part III of the EU Constitution and adding protocols on climate change and Social Europe.

Leinen said: “This separation between the founding principles of the EU and the functioning of the different EU policies has several advantages.” He added: “The treaty will become clearer and more understandable. The division into two parts also opens up better possibilities for their ratification and revision.”

Institutional reform will also be on the table when the presidencies gather to discuss current issues with Barroso at an informal meeting in Sintra on 12-13 May 2007.

Issues on the agenda for the meeting are the Constitutional Treaty, climate change and energy, as well as transatlantic and EU-Russia relations.

The presidency-trio, including Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, Portugal’s Prime Minister José Sócrates and Slovenia’s Janez Jansa, as well as Parliament President Hans-Gert Pöttering, have confirmed their attendance at Barroso’s “brainstorming meeting”.

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