SUMMERTIME BLUES FOR EU REFORM TREATY?

May 4, 2009

European Union officials are thinking the unthinkable — they could hold a summit in July, during the normally sacrosanct summer break set aside for Brussels’ Eurocrats.

Diplomats say there is mild panic in the EU capital at the thought that the regular June summit — where the bloc is due to discuss the Lisbon treaty reforming the EU — could be chaired by Eurosceptic Czech President Vaclav Klaus.

The idea is that it would be better to postpone the discussions on the treaty until July, by which time Sweden will have replaced the Czech Republic as holder of the EU presidency.

Prague has not yet confirmed which of its officials will chair the June 18-19 Brussels summit after the collapse of the Prague government last month. But Klaus, who has described the Lisbon treaty as an irrelevance, could try to do so.

The aim of the Brussels summit is to agree a set of assurances to Ireland that the Lisbon treaty will not undermine its sovereignty — a move intended to help Dublin win a second referendum on the text slated for October.

Treaty backers say it will streamline the functioning of the 27-nation EU and give it a stronger voice in the world, for example by creating a more permanent EU president. 

Some of them say it would be better not to have Klaus trying to broker a deal to rescue the treaty if the summit talks become difficult. 

Others give the idea of a July summit short shrift. Sweden itself is not keen. Ireland has described the debate as”speculative conversations” and would prefer to get on with it.

“Postponing it until July causes significant difficulties,” Foreign Minister Micheal Martin said of the packed domestic Irish political calendar leading up to the referendum.

It looks like Brussels’ bureaucrats may get their July break after all.

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This again shows how democratic this whole Lisbon treaty is. Countries that have voted against it are simply ignored and if a summit is lead by an Eurosceptic chairman who could threaten the desired outcome, they simply postpone the summit and wait for a Brussels obedient chairman to lead the talks.