Thu Mar 29th, 2007 at 07:39:14 AM EST
Is there an official name for the replacement for the badly named EU Constitution yet?
EU Observer reports that Merkel is going to ask the European Parliament to debate the treaty:
Greens co-chairman Monica Frassoni urged the German chancellor to "have courage to take a risk at democracy" by involving both parliament and wider public in debates about the revision of EU constitution, with Danish eurosceptic Jens-Peter Bonde calling on her "not to take away power from European citizens."
In her reply to deputies, Ms Merkel repeated the argument used previously that not all of Europe's deals can be "achieved out in the open marketplace" and publicly reported at every stage.
But she admitted that "European public must be stakeholders in what we are doing" and suggested that the European Parliament could organise a debate for civil society representatives in May on what should be in the revised EU constitution.
This public debate could be used as an "input" ahead of fast-track negotiations among member states in the second half of 2007, according to the likely scenario Ms Merkel plans to unveil in late June.
The Parliament is probably the most representative body available, so it's a good place to have the debate, if it is taken back to the voters at home.
Meanwhile, the zero-sum thinking Polish government wants to change the voting system to give them more power:
Poland plans to propose a new voting system in the upcoming EU treaty talks that will be based on square roots of populations instead of simple populations. The so-called "Penrose square root law" would give Warsaw more say against Berlin, with one Polish official already talking about potential Polish vetoes.
The plan was confirmed by Poland's lead negotiators on the new treaty, Marek Cichocki (a historian) and Ewa Osniecka-Tamecka (a senior Polish official), to Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza on Wednesday (28 March) - three months before the June EU summit hopes to clinch agreement on a "roadmap" for a new text.
"If other countries do not want to discuss our proposal, we will take the last resort," Ms Osniecka-Tamecka said, on the possibility of a Polish veto on constitution talks. The new voting plan would be a "Polish historical rebate" for the fact that "for 50 years Poland for no fault of its own was outside EU integration," Mr Cichocki added.
The current draft constitution has a so-called double majority system, which requires at least 15 out of 27 EU states which represent at least 65 percent of the total EU population to get a decision through. Similar rules exist for establishing "blocking minorities" to stop reforms from going ahead.
By the by, apparently Turkey's enlargement talks have restarted after the general annoyance at their not being invited to the birthday party.