European Parliament (EP) leaders will, March 25, take part in the 60th Anniversary of the Treaty of Rome celebration in Rome, where its President Antonio Tajani will deliver a speech and sign the Rome Declaration on behalf of the EP.
The declaration is based on a white paper on the future of the EU, prepared by the European Commission and its president Jean-Claude Juncker, which sets out five scenarios for the EU, including the possibility of a 'multi-speed' EU, where some members converge on policy issues faster than others.
However, Greece has hit out at what it calls the "unjustified delay" in signing off the latest phase of the Greek bailout program and Poland is threatening not to sign the declaration unless it contains recommendations to hand back more powers to national parliaments.
"Greece has been in programs of economic adjustment for the last 7 years, in the name of which a situation of exception from our common European acquis, has been implicitly imposed. Most notably this relates to the exception from the European acquis on social rights and specifically the exception from "best practices" on labour relations and collective bargaining," Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said in a letter to EU leaders, sent ahead of the Rome summit.
Greece's creditors have demanded that Athens reforms its labor market — particularly on collective bargaining, which its creditors want abolished, to free-up the labor market. The EU leaders are due to sign off the new European acquis on social rights, designed to harmonize labor markets and social mobility, but there is some doubt as to whether Greece has met the criteria, under current conditions.
"The Greek government, for the last two years, is trying to return Greece to the standards of the European social model and to overturn the status of exception in the case of labour relations. We fully respect the commitments we undertook for the necessary budgetary adjustment and the restructuring of the economy and the labour market which we have followed strictly," Tsipras said in a letter to EU leaders.
"Nevertheless, we cannot understand demands that go beyond these commitments, like the prolongation of the exception of Greece from the European social acquis. This demand, after all, leads to an unjustified delay of the conclusion of the second review of the Greek economic program, denying from the Greek economy its great potential for recovery, at a crucial moment," he said.
explains why Europe is facing an existential crisis today. We want a Europe in the service of human and social needs. #lanostraeuropa 2/2— Alexis Tsipras (@tsipras_eu) March 23, 2017
Meanwhile, Poland has threatened not to sign the upcoming Rome Declaration unless it agrees to give back more powers to member parliaments in the latest standoff between Warsaw and Brussels, which has threatened to take away Poland's voting rights over its constitutional court crisis.