Polish obstacles, but no UK referendum

European Union foreign ministers gathered yesterday in Viana do Castelo, a port town in northern Portugal (pictured right and above), to discuss the Reform Treaty and other matters. During this press conference (opens in Windows Media Player), the “positive atmosphere” was stressed, inter alia by Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado. Nevertheless, some obstacles are emerging.

EU observer for instance reports that Poland wants to join the United Kingdom in the EU rights charter opt-out (protocol 7 of the Reform Treaty). Poland also wants to see the Ioannina compromise, whereby a member state can delay the EU’s decision making process if its vital interests are at stake, explicitly mentioned in the Reform Treaty text.

Furthermore,
this Czech news site reports that the Czech government has some questions about the time table of the Reform treaty’s ratification, as it would rather not, holding EU's presidency in the first half of 2009, have the responsibility to solve arising disputes among the Member States. As agreed under the German Presidency, the Reform treaty is to be ratified by June 2009 when the next EP elections will take place.
On the other hand,
AFP reports that the UK government apparently has no intention to hold a referendum on the Reform Treaty, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband stating that "parliament historically has always played the role of addressing institutional reform of the sort that we are now discussing ... and that parliamentary process is the right way of doing it rather than through a referendum."