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Bildt blasé over German EU delay

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Bildt blasé over German EU delay
14:14 CEST+02:00
Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said on Tuesday he was unconcerned about a decision by Germany's top court to delay ratification of the EU's Lisbon Treaty.

Germany's Constitutional Court ruled earlier on Tuesday that the treaty could not be ratified until legislation had been put in place to safeguard national parliamentary powers.

When asked by reporters if the court's decision would delay the ratification of the treaty, Bildt replied: "I don't think so."

"My preliminary assessment is no," he said.

Bildt's comments came at a press conference in Stockholm as Sweden prepares to take over the six-month rotating presidency of the EU from the Czech Republic on Wednesday.

In a keenly-awaited decision, Germany's top court said the document "may not be adopted until the sufficient legal groundwork for parliamentary participation as foreseen in the constitution has been laid."

Nevertheless, Bildt said he was confident that the German political parties would be able to come to an agreement on such a law.

"There is no major dissent on the political scene in Germany on this particular issue," he told journalists.

Bildt even said that he understood the concerns highlighted in the court's decision.

"In Sweden, we have a strong role in the parliament in the procedure for taking the decisions inside the European Council."

"What might be happening now is that Germany is going to move in that direction, it is not necessarily a bad thing that states involve their national parliament in the European decision making process," Bildt said.

The Lisbon Treaty -- which aims to streamline decision-making in the EU and create the positions of an EU president and a foreign policy supremo -- must be ratified by all 27 member states before it can come into force.

That process was hampered last year when Ireland rejected the treaty in a referendum over fears that it could affect the country's neutrality policy and abortion.

Following the shock 53-47 percent vote against the reforms, opinion has swung in favour of Lisbon as the global financial crisis has hit the former "Celtic Tiger" economy harder than most and Irish voters are set to vote again in October.

The eurosceptic presidents of the Czech Republic and Poland are refusing to sign the treaty until the Irish vote has been completed.

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