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EU asks top diplomat to stay on with treaty under cloud

07 October 2009, 16:42 CET
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(BRUSSELS) - Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt asked the EU's top diplomat Wednesday to remain in his job until the end of the month, amid doubts over when the bloc's reform treaty will enter force.

"I spoke this morning to Javier Solana," Reinfeldt told reporters in Brussels, "and asked him to stay on until the end of October in his capacity."

Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief and also top international nuclear negotiator with Iran, was due to step down on October 17, with his post to disappear once the Lisbon Treaty enters force, possibly next year.

The treaty is meant to ease decision-making in the expanding European Union and create new posts such as a longer-term president and a new foreign policy supremo.

But a legal challenge to the treaty in the Czech Republic and threats by that country's eurosceptic president not to sign the text mean the whole process is under a cloud.

The mandate of the EU's executive arm -- the European Commission -- also ends on October 31, and Reinfeldt said Wednesday that he was heading into "unknown territory" by being forced to take decisions with an outdated treaty.

Under the existing Nice Treaty, at least one country would have to give up its coveted EU commissioner job, while under the new package no one would be forced to do so.

"When we have the clarity on when the Lisbon Treaty will come into force, I will begin the consultations" on the new jobs, he said. "But we do not yet know enough."

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