Germany wants new debate on EU constitution: minister

COPENHAGEN Fri Mar 9, 2012 3:26pm EST

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses a news conference at the end of a European Union leaders summit in Brussels March 2, 2012. REUTERS/Eric Vidal

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses a news conference at the end of a European Union leaders summit in Brussels March 2, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Eric Vidal

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COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Germany wants to reignite a debate over creating an EU constitution to strengthen the bloc's ability to fight off financial troubles and counter-balance the rising influence of emerging economies, Germany's foreign minister said on Friday.

Guido Westerwelle said the bloc's Lisbon treaty, drafted after Dutch and French voters rejected a proposed constitution in 2005, was not enough to keep European decision-making structures effective.

"We have to open a new chapter in European politics," Westerwelle told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Copenhagen. "We need more efficient decision structures."

The German minister presented the idea to his counterparts at the Copenhagen meeting, during which they also discussed plans to run foreign policy more cheaply. He said discussions on the issue of a new constitution should continue in Berlin.

"I think we have to reopen the debate about a European constitution again," he said. "We have a good treaty, but we need a constitution ... There are new centers of power in the world."

German government sources said representatives of several EU member states would likely meet in the next few weeks for talks.

Driven by public frustration over financial bailouts for debt-stricken states, Germany has fought hard over the last year to amend the EU's Lisbon Treaty, a watered-down version of the 2005 constitution proposal.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble had said in November that his country wanted to see changes to the EU's Lisbon Treaty by the end of 2012 in order to lay the foundation for a common fiscal policy in the bloc.

Germany argued that change was needed to enshrine tougher fiscal discipline and safeguard the bloc from further financial troubles.

For example, it wanted an amendment to incorporate tighter regional oversight of government spending and allow the European Court of Justice to strike down a member's laws if they violated fiscal discipline.

But Britain vetoed the plan in December in a row over safeguards for its financial sector.

(Reporting by Ilona Wissenbach, Justyna Pawlak and Sebastian Moffett)

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Comments (5)
tommhan wrote:
Constructing a constitution will not change the large debt by some of the European countries. I wonder how much they are spending on creating one? The strong countries are out of their minds to stay in the EU since they will eventually drag them down too.

Mar 09, 2012 7:09pm EST  --  Report as abuse
theagitator wrote:
Multi national corporations and banksters desperately want to have open borders and no to zero sovereignty because it benefits their profits, and maximizes their ability to control our government.

Most of us do live in countries that want closed borders and sovereignty, and not the opposite.

We need to ensure that banks and their international corporate puppets understand that we want the control over our country to rest with our citizens.

Strong countries are inevitably going to be sacrificed for the meek and the greedy.

Mar 09, 2012 8:46pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Harry079 wrote:
Germany would be better off to show a little humility for the last time they thought they were a superior breed that nearly destroyed Europe and their own country along with it.

Mar 09, 2012 10:10pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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