Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Germany to dump EU constitution?

There have been consistent murmurings from Germany, suggesting that chancellor Angela Merkel will be using the German EU presidency next year to spearhead an attempt at reviving the otherwise moribund EU constitution.

This was never a likely proposition. French presidency elections always meant that the political classes in France would be far too pre-occupied with domestic matters to give the EU a second thought and without French involvement, any initiative on the constitution was going to be still-born.

However, even if there had been the slightest hope, this now seems to have been dashed by Bavarian Christian Social Union MP Peter Gauweiler (pictured).

At his behest, the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe has been looking at the legality of the EU constitution and it has now announced that it would not rule on it until after there was a final decision on the fate of the EU treaty. High court judges said their decision might be delayed until 2009 because they did not want to influence the ongoing EU political process.

As all 25 EU member state must ratify the constitution for it to come into force and only 14 states have undergone the process, this means that the court will not have ruled before Germany assumes the presidency, leaving Merkel’s plans somewhat adrift.

Furthermore, despite the German parliament's 2005 "yes" vote for the constitution, President Horst Koehler has vowed not to sign the bill until the Karlsruhe court makes its final ruling. This means that, formally, Germany has not completed the ratification process.

Gauweiler is reported to be delighted with the Court's ruling and has issued a statement predicting, "the EU constitution has in all probability also failed in Germany."

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