Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Montenegrin independence

The Daily Telegraph - May 25th 2006

Sir

Your leading article on probable Montenegrin independence ("Montenegro must clean up before it joins the EU'', May 23) did not mention the potential problems posed by the proliferation of mini-states in a future enlarged European Union. If countries in the western Balkans, such as Montenegro and Kosovo (also demanding sovereignty), not to mention future possible extension to tiny EEA states such as Iceland and Liechtenstein, join an enlarged EU under the current Nice formula, each with its own commissioner, minimum of six MEPs and disproportionate votes in the Council of Ministers, this will cause a serious political imbalance unfavourable to large member states such as Britain.

It is also clear that a state the size of Montenegro will be severely administratively stretched to hold the six-month rotating presidency.Once the EU has finally abandoned the unlamented constitution, and given that the Nice Treaty is inoperable beyond 27 states (ie, after Romanian and Bulgarian accession), the EU will need to consider adopting a new, slimmed-down, consolidated treaty that will better reflect the relative powers according to the size of the member states by introducing a population-based veto in the Council of Ministers.

Dr Charles Tannock
Foreign Affairs Spokesman, Conservative Party,
European Parliament
Brussels