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Germany

Germany Signals Compromise on EU Voting Rights Issue

Germany hinted on Monday that it might be willing to compromise in the heated debate on European Union voting rights in a move that could help restart stalled talks on a new EU constitution. Berlin signaled it was prepared to consider a new voting proposal floated by the EU's Irish presidency that would reduce the power of big member states to block EU initiatives and increase the clout of smaller member states, thus making it easier to reach decisions. Berlin's initiative is also expected to prod other key members -- notably Spain and Poland -- to move from their entrenched positions. Talks on a new EU constitution collapsed amid acrimony last December mainly over the question of new voting arrangements in the Council of Ministers once the EU enlarges to 25 members. Rainder Steenblock, European affairs spokesman of the Green party, the junior member of Germany's ruling coalition told Financial Times, "We cannot hope to persuade Spain and Poland to accept this constitution if we are completely inflexible. If the Irish put such a proposal on the table, it will not be rejected because of Germany."