Saturday, June 23, 2007

It Wasn't Supposed To Be Like This

The European Union is no closer to compromising on the EU constitution treaty than they were a week ago. In fact, there are more disagreements now than there was before the summit began.
EU Struggles for Eleventh-Hour Deal

The European Union negotiations on a new treaty have yet to produce any tangible results. While outstanding issues have not been resolved, the EU leaders have managed to create even more points of disagreement.

Everyone had warned that the negotiations at this week's crucial European Union summit were going to be tough. The EU leaders have gathered in Brussels to hammer out a deal to replace the now defunct European constitution. But while some may have been hoping against hope that the posturing at home would give way to compromise in Brussels, it seems that instead most leaders are digging their heels in and are even finding new issues to argue about.

The delegates to this week's European Union summit were told to take an extra shirt -- the talks are expected to go on well into Friday night, and even Saturday morning. Summit host German Chancellor Angela Merkel is reported to have presented a revised draft treaty to EU leaders late on Friday afternoon. Now they are going to have to pull up their shirtsleeves and look for a compromise.

The summit is intended to resolve the issues that divide Europe, but over the course of the last 24 hours it seems that European leaders have failed to make any headway on outstanding issues, but have added more points of division to the pot.

While Poland and the UK had already laid out their opposition to the treaty, French President Nicolas Sarkozy was one of its main promoters. But France's attempt to persuade EU leaders to drop a reference to the goal of "undistorted competition" in the treaty has succeeded in putting another spanner in the works.

Under the original proposal, one of the EU's main objectives was listed as an "internal market where competition is free and undistorted." But France persuaded Germany, current EU president, to put a full stop after "internal market" in the new treaty. This may have intended for domestic consumption, but the UK and the Commission have found it distinctly unpalatable.
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