EU Observer днес за декларацията по случай 50-годишнината от Римските договори.
Баросо предлага пет акцента, Великобритания допълва с шести приоритет – разширяването.
London wants EU to celebrate enlargement in birthday text
29.01.2007 – 09:28 CET | By Mark Beunderman
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS – The UK wants the EU’s 50th anniversary declaration to mark the union’s historic expansion to the East after the fall of communism.
Talking to EUobserver last week, Britain’s Europe Minister Geoff Hoon said London wants to prominently mention enlargement in the EU leaders’ Berlin declaration to be signed on 25 March, commemorating the 1957 Treaty of Rome which laid the foundation for the current EU.
“I think this is an important occasion (…) It is particularly important it should be taking place in Berlin, because key changes in recent times have followed the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Warsaw Pact,” he said, mentioning the reunification of Germany and EU accession of many ex-communist states.
“The EU has provided an important focal point for these countries, it has driven their ambition, they’ve made reforms and changes perhaps more quickly then they would have done [otherwise] in order to become members of the European Union.”
Enlargement was not specifically mentioned by European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso when he recently listed his own top-five topics to be included in the birthday statement – solidarity, accountability, security of European citizens, promoting European values in the world and the fight against climate change.
German chancellor Angela Merkel, who currently chairs the EU, has said she supports Mr Barroso’s five points, with German officials currently holding a round of confidential talks with EU capitals on what kind of declaration they would like to see.
Berlin views the content of the declaration as tightly linked to its efforts to revive the EU constitution, which London has refused to ratify after French and Dutch voters rejected the charter in 2005, seeking a slimmed-down treaty instead.
Croatia joining without treaty?
Mr Hoon’s plea for enlargement illustrates London’s determination to keep the topic on the agenda – despite claims by Ms Merkel that the bloc cannot expand further before it has a constitution.
“Those who are so much in favour of enlargement must know, if at the same time they are sceptical about the constitutional process, that we can not move forward on the present basis,” the chancellor said earlier this month.
But to Britain, this link is not that clear-cut, Mr Hoon indicated, not wanting to rule out Croatia’s future membership without a fully-fledged EU treaty in place.
“There is one obvious area in which Croatia does make a difference and that is the question of the number of commissioners, because the [current EU] Nice treaty said that once the EU went beyond Romania and Bulgaria, there would have to be fewer commissioners than from each member state,” said Mr Hoon.
“What is not clear is how that would be implemented in practice.”
Asked whether he backs Croatian ideas to handle the issue by means of a technical clause in Zagreb’s accession treaty – as an alternative to a new EU treaty – he stated “I know there are people who have suggested that.”
“I don’t rule it out, but I think that given the political importance of the treaty … it is quite important that there should be a discussion more generally than in the context of an accession treaty.”
“There should be a public discussion about treaty amendmends and I think that people might feel that if it were put in the context of an accession treaty, perhaps that would be a way of avoiding that sort of public discussion.”
All options open
Meanwhile London wants to keep its options open also on the question of whether or not to hold a referendum on a newly-styled EU constitution – a pledge it made when it signed the current version of the charter in 2004.
“If we brought back the constitutional treaty in its present form, we’ve made clear that that would require a referendum,” according to Mr Hoon.
“Having said that, in the past, quite far-reaching treaty changes have been carried through the House of Commons without a referendum,” he said referring to the UK conservative government at the time not holding a referendum on the 1992 Maastricht treaty.
“We would obviously make a decision in the best interests of Britain and its people.”