Portuguese Presidency positive despite hurdles

During a press conference at the end of the Gymnich in Viana Do Castelo, Luís Amado, Portuguese Minister of Foreign Affairs has said that “the constructive positions and availability shown by all Member States, without exception, in carrying out the mandate received from the June's European Council will allow the Portuguese Presidency of the EU to pursue the ambition of seeing the Reform Treaty approved during the Informal Summit of Heads of State and Government that will take place in Lisbon next October."

However, some major hurdles have not been overcome.

Issues left unresolved include details of the revised voting system, the European Union’s external relations and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

EUObserver reports that the European Commission and the European Parliament fear the they will loose control over the planned EU diplomatic corps.
This service will be set up under the “High
Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy". Although the title "Union Minister for Foreign Affairs" has been dumped, like the Constitution the Reform Treaty still proposes to merge the post of High Representative for the CFSP with the European Commissioner for External Relations.

According to EUObserver, the UK government has furthermore asked for reassurances that the European Court of Justice will not have jurisdiction on foreign policy matters, fearing that its jurisprudence could strengthen the powers of the European Union at the expense of the Member States.

This is despite the Reform Treaty proposing to am
end Art.11 EU Treaty to exclude from the Court's jurisdiction virtually all foreign policy matters, except for sanctions against individuals and the dividing line between foreign policy and review of the EC Treaty/ TFEU.

This is much broader than the amendments proposed by the TECE, where the Court's jurisdiction was only excluded in respect of certain provisions.