Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

European Summit Achieves Compromise on Maastrict Treaty

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

European Summit Achieves Compromise on Maastrict Treaty

Article excerpt

BREAKTHROUGHS achieved by leaders of the European Community at their weekend summit here have put the 12 nations back on track in their quest for unity and expansion after months of uncertainty, some leaders said.

British Prime Minister John Major, who hosted the summit, told a press conference that the EC had "turned a corner" after a long period of internal uncertainty and tension over issues such as the Maastricht Treaty on economic and political union.

Hopes are high among EC governments that the treaty will be ratified by Denmark in a second referendum in April or May 1993, and by Britain soon afterward. Opponents of the treaty, however, are promising to carry on with their opposition.

Danish Foreign Minister Uffe Ellemann-Jensen, whose country plunged the EC into crisis by rejecting the treaty in a referendum six months ago, said he was "confident" that the Danish electorate would approve a special deal worked out at Edinburgh to allow Denmark to opt out of key provisions of the Maastricht Treaty. Under the Edinburgh formula, Denmark would not be bound to accept a single European currency or to join in EC defense arrangements.

There was some apprehension, however, about the mood of Danish voters after they had had a chance to examine the fine print of the opt-out arrangements now being offered their country.

Leo Tindemans, a former Belgian prime minister and current leader of the Christian Democrat group in the European Parliament, said in an interview on British television that the Danish opt-out clauses approved in Edinburgh would be illegal unless they were ratified by all 12 member states.

Mr. Major would not commit to a date for completing the ratification process in the British Parliament. First, British ministers insist, Major will await the outcome of the proposed second Danish referendum. "Obviously if the Danes vote yes, that will improve the chances of British ratification," a British official said. "But if they vote no, the treaty will be dead. …

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