EU leaders extend deadline on Constitution
16 June 2006, BRUSSELS — EU leaders agreed on Thursday at the start of two-day summit in Brussels to extend the deadline on resolving the impasse around the European Constitution for another two years.
16 June 2006
BRUSSELS — EU leaders agreed on Thursday at the start of two-day summit in Brussels to extend the deadline on resolving the impasse around the European Constitution for another two years.
They promised to use that time to boost public support for the integration of Europe and the continued expansion of the EU.
The decision means EU leaders had agreed that the period of reflection following the rejection of the constitution by French and Dutch voters last year had failed to break the deadlock.
Diplomats have said a report must now be completed in 2007 stating the prospects of the constitution. A final decision must then be made at the end of 2008.
The decision to extend the deadline is indicative of the deep divisions around the constitution, but there is also hope that EU heavyweight Germany will accelerate proceedings next year when it takes over the EU presidency on 1 January.
Earlier, Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt — long a proponent of continuing the ratification process — admitted that the constitution, in its current form, will not prevail.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the decision to extend the deadline period is "clearly a good consensus" adding that now the period should "focus on delivery".
Austrian Chancellor and current EU President Wolfgang Schussel also said "we are moving away from the rhetoric" to concentrate on the "delivery of concrete results".
One phase will involve examining how to proceed with the "reform process" while the second will stress the benefits of the EU which citizens can directly relate to.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news