Auteur: | By Honor Mahony
EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - The Irish EU Presidency has unveiled new proposals in a bid to unblock the last sticking points on the Constitution for possible agreement later today at the EU summit in Brussels.
In a change from yesterday, it is proposed that the European Commission be reduced to two thirds of the number of member states from 2014 - this means that as the Union enlarges so will the Commission.
With 27 member states, as is foreseen from 2009, the Commission would have 18 members.
On the new voting system, it has been agreed that for a decision to be taken it must be supported by 55% of member states representing 65% of the population.
However, clouding this system which is more transparent than under the current Nice Treaty, certain restrictions have been added.
These say that at least four member states are needed to form a blocking minority - a clause has also been added saying that if a certain number of member states object to decisions taken by qualified majority voting, then it shall be discussed further.
But the negotiation on the Constitution, which only resumed late on Friday morning, have been affected by a bad-will spill-over from the continued disagreement on who should be the next Commission president.
This discussion has been postponed until this evening.
Meanwhile several names are still being floated. However, deadlock is continuing between France and Germany who support Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt and the UK which is opposed to the liberal politician's nomination.
In the interim, an array of names have come to the fore. But according to sources, the list has been shortened to six names: Mr Verhofstadt, Portuguese Commissioner Antonio Vitorino, former Commissioner Peter Sutherland, outgoing President of the European Parliament Pat Cox and Luxembourg leader Jean-Claude Juncker.
Irish prime minister and current head of the EU Bertie Ahern has not ruled out that discussion on the post could drag into Saturday.
"As some candidates fall out, their support will go elsewhere. Whether that's today, tomorrow or in a while, we'll have to see", said the Irish leader.