Merkel reiterates Lisbon Treaty change.
Germany and France launched their bid yesterday to convince the rest of the European Union member states that the bloc’s main treaty should be changed to help avert new financial crises, Irish Times reports. The Franco-German plan, which proposes changing the Lisbon treaty to create a permanent system for handling problems like the Greek debt collapse, faces strong opposition from many EU member states at a two-day summit in Brussels. The chancellor phoned a number of EU leaders on Wednesday, among them Taoiseach Brian Cowen, in attempt to win support for this proposal and for the creation of a permanent rescue mechanism for any distressed euro country. Although Dublin believes measures to deprive a country of its voting rights would necessitate a referendum, Minister of State for Europe Dick Roche has argued in recent days that a permanent mechanism could be set up within the bounds of the Lisbon Treaty. While the Government does not object to the creation of a permanent rescue mechanism, diplomatic sources say Dublin has yet to adopt a position on Berlin’s demand for such a mechanism to include new procedures for “orderly” national insolvencies. Several other member states are similarly opposed to the suspension of voting rights, among them the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Portugal and the Czech Republic.
The summit is expected to sign off on a new set of EU budget rules, including tougher sanctions on member states that fail to keep their deficits and debt levels in check. Romanian president Traian Basescu attends the autumn Council meeting.