On Thursday, Germany and France drew up a controversial declaration outlining what to do if some countries fail to ratify the EU Constitution within two years.
According to the Financial Times, Berlin and Paris met on Thursday to outline a plan for ratifying the EU Constitution if only 20 out of the European Union's 25 members agree. The proposal is being seen as a direct reaction to the recent UK decision to hold a referendum on the Constitution, even though the possibility of a 'no' vote is high. Because similar referendums in other EU countries may also prove difficult, Germany and France are drafting a plan B for the eventuality that not all countries ratify the Constitution. Under EU rules, new treaties have to be unanimously agreed by all member states and then ratified by all, either through national parliaments or by referendums.
The London paper says the German-French proposal has already been dismissed by UK officials as unworkable. However, the contingent plan is a sign of the frustration felt at the possibility that after two years' work drawing up the Constitution, it may be rejected in a referendum. Currently, several EU countries look set to put the issue to their citizens -- among them are the UK, Ireland, Denmark, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, Portugal and the Czech Republic. (EUobserver.com)