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Cyprus News Agency: News in English, 07-06-23

Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Cyprus News Agency at <>




    After marathon negotiations, the 27 EU leaders agreed in the early hours in Brussels the contents of a new reform treaty, while preparations for the intergovernmental conference to prepare the legal documents of the treaty will begin around the end of July.

    Cyprus was represented at the European Council by President of the Republic Tassos Papadopoulos.

    The EU leaders clinched the agreement to overhaul the 27-nation bloc after persuading Poland to end a disagreement that nearly brought the summit to a collapse.

    The leaders agreed to negotiate a reform treaty by the end of this year, to be ratified by mid-2009, replacing the EU constitution rejected in 2005 by French and Dutch voters.

    "If we had not achieved this today, we would have ended up in a rather disastrous situation because many would have felt they were pushed too far," German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a news conference after the deal was achieved.

    The deal opened the way for further enlargement of the Union, she said, which would be impossible without reformed institutions. Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, who takes over the EU chair in July, said he hoped to have the treaty agreed as early as October.

    Leaders of several countries convinced Polish President Lech Kaczynski to back down after weeks of resistance and accept a compromise on voting rights in exchange for a long delay in their introduction.

    Chancellor Merkel fought to break Polish opposition to the treaty which it complained would cut Warsaw`s voting power and give more say to big countries, especially Germany.

    She eventually threatened to launch treaty negotiations without Warsaw`s consent, prompting a final effort for compromise.

    Poland settled for a deal that put off full application of the new decision-making procedure until 2017.

    The treaty will preserve key features of the constitution such as the creation of a long-term president of the Union and a foreign policy chief with increased powers.

    London secured an exemption from the application in Britain of a legally binding EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, as well as the right not to join police and judicial cooperation.

    The leaders also agreed on a new position to run EU foreign policy, but without the constitution title of foreign minister. This will combine the existing jobs of foreign policy chief Javier Solana, who does mostly crisis management, and External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, who controls the executive European Commission`s big aid budget.

    Cyprus News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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