EU can fast-track treaty change for euro bailout, commission says
European Union states can go ahead and use a special fast-track procedure to change the bloc's treaty to set up a permanent bailout system for the eurozone because it will not give the bloc new powers, the head of the EU executive said Tuesday, DPA reported
In December, EU leaders agreed to change the treaty as part of a bid to shore up confidence in the euro. They opted to use a fast-track system, which would avoid the need for long negotiations, but which could only be used if it leaves the balance of power between the EU and its members unchanged.
"As far as the procedure is concerned, the (European) Commission is of the opinion that the conditions for a simplified revision of the treaties have been met," Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.
As the EU's executive, the commission is responsible for drafting the bloc's laws and making sure member states obey them.
The Brussels-based executive's opinion had been widely expected, as EU member states have repeatedly confirmed that their proposals would not give the EU more power.
That insistence had less to do with the desire to launch a fast-track procedure than it had to do with the need to avoid referenda in states such as Britain and Ireland.
In both countries, any proposal to cede further powers to the EU is expected to be put to a referendum. Given the unpopularity of the EU in both countries, it is assumed that such referenda would fail, as two earlier votes on treaty changes were rejected in Ireland.
EU states hope to agree on the treaty change at a summit in late March, with national parliaments expected to back the measure in time to bring the permanent euro rescue system into force by 2013.