Further German challenge to Lisbon


GERMANY’S FINAL ratification of the Lisbon Treaty may be further delayed after another legal challenge, the fourth, was lodged at the country’s highest court.

Those behind this latest challenge include Franz-Ludwig Graf von Stauffenberg, a former German MEP whose father headed the 1944 Hitler bomb plot.

Officials at the constitutional court in Karlsruhe said yesterday that the latest challenge was unlikely to be included in oral hearings on the other three challenges beginning on February 10th.

The constitutional court, which usually holds brief public sittings, has announced a two-day sitting for the challenges, a reflection of the complexity of the issues.

Germany’s two houses of parliament have passed the treaty ratification Bill, but the court has asked President Horst Köhler to postpone the final stage of ratification until it delivers a verdict, expected in the summer at the earliest.

Ratification may be delayed further if the court decides to include the latest challenge.

“Our challenge addresses areas not covered by the others, in particular the economic aspects of the ever-increasing centralisation tendency of the European Union,” said Joachim Starbatty, professor emeritus of the University of Tübingen, one of the applicants.

The 200-page submission argues that the Lisbon Treaty must be rejected by the constitutional court because it “strengthens the current practice of dismembering the division of powers and mixing of competences . . . We argue that it is increasingly difficult to define the ‘European interest’ in an EU of 27, where, because of diffuse interests, the weight of the central principal agent, in this case in Brussels, automatically grows.”

The other challenges argue that Lisbon undermines the German constitution and the parliamentary approval of military operations.