Germany's Westerwelle calls for EU treaty changes - report

LONDON Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:53am BST

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the 63rd Frankfurt Book Fair in Frankfurt October 11, 2011. REUTERS/Alex Domanski

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of the 63rd Frankfurt Book Fair in Frankfurt October 11, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Alex Domanski

LONDON (Reuters) - German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle believes changes to the European Union's underlying treaty are necessary within the next two years, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

Berlin wants to push draft changes to the bloc's founding treaties at a new 27-nation convention that would take place in 2012, according to the article.

The newspaper cited Westerwelle as saying the convention should be given a clear mandate and a one-year time limit to deliver results by mid-2013, when the eurozone's permanent 500 billion euro rescue fund -- the European Stability Mechanism -- is supposed to come into effect.

Germany is trying to persuade its European partners to agree to economic reforms it believes are necessary to ensure eurozone stability.

"We need treaty changes to overcome the shortcomings of (European) construction. We must develop Europe as a union of stability. Whoever breaks the rules must know that in the future sanctions will follow: not just on paper, but in practice."

The convention should consider whether the European Court of Justice would be used to enforce budgetary discipline, and if a "stability commissioner" for the euro should be appointed, he said in the article.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this month proposed modifying the EU treaty and give the bloc's highest court the right to sue member states that break its fiscal rules.

However, the plan has run into resistance from other member states that fear a political backlash.

(Reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by Gary Hill)