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EU Heads: We’ll Fight It Out Another Day

  • June 21st, 2008
  • Posted by 7thmin

council-building.jpgEuropean leaders ended their Brussels conference on Friday (20.6.08) unsuccessful in settling political problems over their governing Treaty, but declaring confidence in being able to find a way in the coming year.

The 27 heads of government and heads of state have also taken up a package of short term measures, to ease crisis brought on in parts of the European Union, by steeply rising prices for foodstuffs and oil.

TIME TO REGROUP

The chairman, Janez Jansa, Prime Minister of Slovenia, confirmed that the summit of leaders had agreed to allocate more time for member countries to ratify a new reform treaty, meant to reorganise their joint decision-making.

The process of putting in place the new law, called the Lisbon Treaty, was set back a week ago, when it was rejected at a referendum in Ireland.

Mr Jansa said the Irish government would be considering alternatives and reporting to the next summit of European leaders, in October.

He said delays were also expected in the Czech Republic, where the treaty would have to be decided on, in a Constitutional Court.

The chairman said moves decided on to reduce hardship in parts of Europe, caused by rising prices, would benefit some 60% of citizens of the European Union, who lived close to, or below a threshold of poverty.

Those measures would include special assistance to the fishing industry and families in distress, and there would be increased aid to agricultural suppliers outside of the EU – for Africa alone doubling to €66-billion a year (A$108-billion; dcerates.com, 20.6.08), by 2010.

MONEY FOR SLOVAKIA, MESSAGE FOR ZIMBABWE

He announced an agreement, that Slovakia would become the sixteenth country admitted to use of the Euro currency, from the beginning of next year; the last two to qualify were Cyprus and Malta, commencing to use Euros on 1.1.08.

The EU leaders, meeting as the European Council, had also sent a “strong and critical” message to the government of Zimbabwe, over violence disfiguring the presidential election campaign in that country.

NO QUICK FIXES

The President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, said the heads of government had “sent out a very clear message there could be no quick fixes”, neither for economic problems caused by the oil prices, nor political stalemate over the Lisbon Treaty.

However he had seen such troubles dealt with in the past.

“On the government institutions, we cannot deliver solutions overnight, but it is important to work in an honest way, and keep moving forward,” he said.

“I believe it is possible to complete this process of ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.

“We are not here just for fair weather conditions.”

Officials from several member countries of the EU said they were determined to keep on with action over the reform treaty.

It would make decision-making les complicated; allocate more authority to the directly elected European parliament; enable more joint action on international relations, and be flexible enough to allow for expansion of the EU by the admission of new member countries.

Picture: European Council building, summit venue in Brussels

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