[JURIST] A German Presidency policy paper proposing that European Union nations abandon talks on a constitutional treaty [JURIST news archive] circulated Wednesday, just prior to Thursday's summit meeting of European Council [EU Council press release] in Brussels. Last week German Chancellor Angela Merkel [official website], the summit chair, expressed doubts [JURIST report] that the meeting would see any progress beyond a road map to an eventual European constitution. The Wednesday paper, which said that the treaty concept was "abandoned," conceded several key points of dispute, including a provision allowing nations to decline to enforce EU criminal law policies. Germany also proposed having no EU foreign minister and increasing the ability of national parliaments to overrule EU laws.
A number of stumbling blocks have arisen during the treaty talks. France and Spain have called [JURIST report] for a "mini-treaty" to replace the originally proposed Constitution for Europe [text]. UK Prime Minister Tony Blair outlined four non-negotiable issues [JURIST report] for the UK, including opposition to the German-backed proposal to give legal effect to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union [European Parliament materials]. Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski said last week that Poland will not agree to any proposed treaty [JURIST report] unless negotiations on the EU's voting system remain open; the latest German proposal acknowledges this point in a footnote. BBC News has more.