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Germany

Germany's Left Party Takes Lisbon Treaty to Constitutional Court

Germany's Left Party intends to apply to the Constitutional Court to have the European Union's reform treaty, the Treaty of Lisbon, declared unconstitutional, the minority socialist party announced Thursday, June 27.

Delegates vote at a Left Party meeting

The Left party claim the Lisbon Treaty is unconstitutional

The announcement came a month after the upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, passed the legislation ratifying the treaty. The lower house, the Bundestag, passed the necessary legislation in April.

The Left said in Berlin its twin applications, placed before the court on Wednesday, were based on the grounds that the treaty infringed the principle of democracy and the rights of members of the German parliament.

The first related to the division of powers between the main organs of state, the upper and lower houses of parliament, the Constitutional Court and the president.

Some see parliamentary power at stake

Left parliamentary caucus head Gregor Gysi said parliamentary powers were at stake, along with those of the court itself, although he said he was a "firm supporter of European integration."

The Left sees the treaty as giving too much power to the European Council, the council of the heads of state and government, at the expense of national parliaments and the European Parliament.

In the second, Left member of parliament Diether Dehm applied to the court on the grounds that the rights of members of parliament were infringed.

"This false, soulless and militaristic treaty will endanger the EU," Dehm said.

A maverick member of parliament, Peter Gauweiler of the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU), has applied to the court to strike down the Treaty of Lisbon on similar grounds.

Treaty's future in Germany rests on high court

Members of the German constitutional court

The German constitutional court will rule on the Treaty

Although both houses of parliament have passed the treaty, President Horst Koehler has delayed signing it into law pending a decision by the Constitutional Court.

The treaty streamlines the workings of the EU, establishes the office of a president and enlarges the powers of the EU's foreign policy chief.

It also provides for a new double majority voting mechanism seen as essential if the 27-member bloc is to expand.

The Irish electorate rejected the treaty in a referendum earlier this month. The other 26 members aim to ratify through their parliaments, and 18 have done so, but the treaty faces a constitutional hurdle in the Czech Republic.

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