Berlin identified seven outstanding problems to be discussed at next week's EU
leaders’ summit on a new treaty for the bloc. These are: the question of symbols
(such as the flag, motto and anthem) and whether they should be included, and
whether it should be explicitly stated that EU law has primacy over national
law; "possible terminological changes"; the treatment of the Charter of
Fundamental Rights; the "specificity" of the common foreign and security policy;
the "delimitation of competences" between the EU and the member states and the
role of national parliaments."
Open Europe Director Neil O'Brien Open Europe Director Neil O’Brien has an article on Conservative Home...
“The mood in the UK embassy in Brussels must be pretty dire… it looks like the revised constitution might be more radical than we expected.” He notes “a legal personality was thought to have been killed off. It would mean that for the first time the EU, not the member states, could sign up to international agreements on foreign policy, defence, crime and judicial issues. That would be a huge transfer of power and make the EU look more like a country than an international agreement…the last time round the UK gave way on the issue. But this time round there is no way Gordon Brown will sign up to such an overt transfer of power. Nonetheless, the Merkel memo will be depressing reading for the UK team because it makes it clear that the UK will have to fight a number of battles which everyone thought were over - and that will make it more difficult to get on the front foot on other subjects.”
Open Europe say: "There was no concession in the Merkel text on London's opposition to moves to abandon national vetoes on justice and home affairs issue. Furthermore, Germany insisted on a "single legal personality" for the EU yesterday and called for a legally binding Charter of Fundamental Rights across Europe. According to the Guardian,
Both demands are anathema to the British government.” Legal personality would allow the EU to join international organisations, or sign international agreements. Those opposed to including the full text of the Charter of Fundamental Rights “could however accept it, provided that the legally binding character of the Charter is preserved by means of a cross-reference in the body of the Treaty."
As I wrote HERE in an article for CommentIsFree today...
The only reason these proposals are being described as a "treaty" is to avoid the need for a referendum. The trouble is, if it looks like a constitution, reads like a constitution and quacks like a constitution, most reasonable people will see it for what it is.