Just as the contentious issue of voting rights in EU constitution talks seemed to be overcome, Poland has now tabled a new demand which is set to further complicate talks.
Just as the contentious issue of voting rights in EU constitution talks seemed to be overcome by the widely agreed formula of a "double majority," Poland has now tabled a new demand which is set to further complicate talks. The Polish interim Prime Minister Marek Belka told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung newspaper on Sunday that Poland has "in principle" accepted the double majority system, but that this should be complemented by the possibility of a veto of EU decisions by states representing one-fifth of the EU population. The double majority system requires a majority of both the 25 EU states and of their total population for EU laws to pass -- the percentages of countries and people needed to form the majority of votes still being under discussion. The draft constitution proposes that a decision should be taken when supported by 50 percent of member states representing 60 percent of the EU population. However, Belka said this would not be enough for Poland. "A minority of countries should be able to raise an objection in important matters." He added: "This is not only about Poland. This is about a minority which would comprise -- let's say, 20 percent of the EU population." As Belka's proposal would make it much easier for Poland -- a country of 38 million inhabitants -- to block EU decisions, it is unlikely to be endorsed by Germany and France. (EUobserver.com)