Nieuwe Ierse voorstellen om patstelling EU-grondwet te doorbreken: kleinere Europese Commissie, blijvend veto-recht op fiscaal, sociaal en buitenlands beleid (en)

Met dank overgenomen van EUobserver (EUOBSERVER), gepubliceerd op vrijdag 14 mei 2004, 7:41.
Auteur: Honor Mahony

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - Under new plans sent to EU member states on Thursday evening (13 May), the Irish EU Presidency is looking to clinch a deal on the tricky Commission composition question by suggesting it be reduced to 18 members after 2014.

This solution, which the Presidency is hoping will be given the all-clear by governments, would mean that a country would lose their right to have a commission for one out of every three terms.

However, Dublin has shied away from any other major institutional proposals ahead of Monday's meeting of EU foreign ministers - the formal resumption of negotiations following the collapse of talks in December.

Veto rights

Ministers will also discuss the difficult issues of where member states should keep their veto right - tax, social security and foreign policy are the main issues while certain member states are also pushing for governments to have the final say over the EU budget.

An Irish spokesperson said Dublin had "deliberately decided not to put in concrete new proposals as it is "the first relaunch at political level".

Foreign ministers are also expected to discuss the new voting system on Tuesday. This is the most difficult issue of all as it is concerned with the balance of power between member states - and it is over this issue that talks collapsed in December.

EU diplomacy

There are some changes to the less controversial aspects of the text. One proposal includes starting to set up the diplomatic service for the new EU foreign minister as soon as the treaty has been signed - which is set to be this year.

This is despite the fact that the foreign minister post is technically not supposed to come into force until 2009.

The text also proposes simplifying the procedure for revising the constitution in the future. This would mean that instead of going through lengthy inter-governmental consultations to change the text, the process would be eased.

Another innovation is a proposed article on considering the protection and welfare of animals when EU laws are being drawn up.

Leaving everything until the last minute?

But the strategy of not making any concrete proposals on the difficult issues may mean that the list of things that still have to be agreed by EU leaders in June keeps getting longer.

The Irish Presidency strongly denies this saying that it is "expecting results" from next week's meeting.

"By Tuesday, we are hoping we will have the political blessing to continue", said a Presidency spokesperson.

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