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Germany chancellor doubtful of EU constitution progress at summit

[JURIST] German Chancellor Angela Merkel [official website] Thursday told the lower house of Germany's parliament [official website, in German] that she hopes a road map to an eventual European constitution [JURIST news archive] can be achieved at an EU summit in Brussels next week, but expressed doubts [speech text, in German; press release, in German] that any further progress would be made beyond that. Merkel recognized a number of stumbling blocks that have arisen, including calls from France and Spain [JURIST report] for a "mini-treaty" to replace the originally proposed Constitution for Europe [text]. Germany had wished to place the EU back on track towards ratifying the treaty while holding presidency of the EU [official website], but it relinquishes the role to Portugal at the end of the month.

Another key stumbling block involves the voting system proposed in the 2004 draft constitution. Poland has rejected the "double majority voting system", which is supported by 25 member states, because that system diminishes Poland voting power compared to the 2000 Treaty of Nice [text]. Despite Poland's concerns, Reuters has reported that a German report on EU constitution reforms makes no mention [Reuters report] of the voting system. On Wednesday, Poland's Prime Minister indicated that unless negotiations on the voting system were left open, they would not agree [JURIST report] to any proposed treaty. AFP has more. Bloomberg has additional coverage.

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