Barroso invites Balkenende to talk treaties

European Commission chairman José Manuel Barroso has invited prime minister Jan Pieter Balkenende and a number of other EU leaders for a special meeting in an effort to break the deadlock over the EU constitution, the Volkskrant reports.

The meeting will take place shortly after the second round of the French presidential election.
The paper says it is not yet clear who else has been invited, but German chancellor Angela Merkel and Portuguese premier José Socrates will be at the negotiating table. Portugal takes over the EU presidency this summer.
The Netherlands has gathered support from Britain, Sweden and the Czech Republic for its position on the way forward for Europe.
The Dutch, who rejected the constitution in a referendum in 2005, want amendments to be made to existing treaties to improve the running of the EU, not a renewed attempt to introduce a constitution. They also want a clear separation between European and national roles.

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