Today I came across Honor Mahony’s article on EUobserver, where she presents the German presidency’s timetable for the Sherpa negotiations:
“Until 25 March, the EU’s 50 birthday, all discussion between “focal points” – as the letter describes the member state appointees – is to focus on the anniversary declaration. The first meetings are running already between 23 January to 2 February. The next focal point meeting will take place ten days later between 12-16 February.
On 8 March EU leaders are pencilled in to have their first exchange of views on the declaration. Berlin believes that it is a chance to remind citizens why the EU is a good thing, with a hoped-for knock-on effect of positive feelings for the EU constitution. After this the declaration is to be finalised and translated into all languages before being formally unveiled on 25 March. This day is also when EU leaders are to have their first exchange of views on the constitution itself, a topic that has largely been left untouched since the charter was rejected in French and Dutch referendums in mid-2005.
Bilateral talks at “focal point” level will then take place between 23 April and 4 May with a general meeting of all focal points pencilled in for 3 days later. In the run-up to the June summit where EU leaders are expected to formally sign off a timetable for reviving the constitution, probably by the European elections in 2009, the chancellor will get involved. Mrs Merkel is set to have bilateral talks with the 26 other member states between 21 May and 1 June with the summit to take place three weeks later.”
Speaking to a German journalist from a leading medium the other day, it was clear that there is an immense pressure on Merkel to fix the Constitutional road map. Even though she and Steinmeier are trying to water down expectations, German media will criticise her so heavily after a failure, that she just has to get it fixed. – Let’s hope some French confusion will not stop her.
Picture taken from EUobserver.