Thursday, June 18, 2009
The Member States of the European Union (EU) are meeting in a summit today and tomorrow. Two of the main items on the agenda are (1) concluding negotiations with Ireland over certain guarantees in order to pave the way for adoption of the Lisbon Treaty (aka the EU Constitution); and (2) reappointment of Manuel Barroso as European Commission Chief. Readers may recall from earlier posts that Ireland wants three guarantees of independence in the areas of taxation, ethics, and neutrality in order to sign on to the Lisbon Treaty. The Irish would like these guarantees to be protocols attached to the Lisbon Treaty itself, thereby becoming part of EU primary law. Other Member States are resisting the inclusion of these guarantees in the Lisbon Treaty itself because they believe it may reopen debate on the Treaty in countries that have already agreed to it. Instead, these Member States have proposed that the guarantees be tacked onto another international agreement, perhaps one relating to accession of a new Member State. With respect to Barroso's reappointment, he had hoped to be reappointed to another five-year term at the summit, but is facing some opposition from more left-leaning members of the European Parliament (EP), who say that appointment at the summit would undermine the requirement of consulation with the EP. Such a move could alienate the EP and make Barroso's job more difficult in the future.