EU abandons constitution deadline
17 June 2005, BRUSSELS — European leaders agreed overnight to put the Constitution on hold by scrapping the November 2006 deadline for ratification.
17 June 2005
BRUSSELS — European leaders agreed overnight to put the Constitution on hold by scrapping the November 2006 deadline for ratification.
The decision was prompted after French and Dutch voters shocked the continent by rejecting the treaty in recent referendums.
Denmark immediately said it will postpone its referendum. Several other countries, including Ireland and the Czech Republic, quickly followed suit.
EU President and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said the constitution will not be re-negotiated, but instead European leaders had agreed on "a period of discussion, clarification and discussion".
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barrosso said the French and Dutch no votes must be examined, but that it was too early to abandon the treaty entirely. He noted "concrete answers to some concrete problems" must be found.
Some 10 nations have already approved of the constitution and most member states want the ratification process to continue, newspaper 'De Standaard' reported.
Prior to the summit in Brussels, Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstad said the ratification process should continue. On the verge of ratification, Belgium had only been waiting for its regional parliaments to give formal approval.
Meanwhile, EU leaders are meeting again on Friday to discuss the union's 2007-2013 budget, but talks are not expected to meet with success.
Britain is warning to use its veto to block any cut in its rebate without a reform of farm subsidies — something that France is opposed to.
And as a net contributor to the EU budget, the Netherlands has rejected the budgetary proposal drawn up by Luxembourg, saying its contributions are still too high.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: Belgian news