Germany ponders EUconstitution referendum

30th August 2004, Comments 0 comments

30 August 2004 , BERLIN - In an apparent policy shift, the German government Monday said it would allow a referendum on the European Union's constitution if a bill expanding use of plebiscites is approved by both houses of the Berlin parliament. Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's deputy spokesman, Hans Langguth, confirmed the centre-left government plans legislation in the autumn aimed at expanding the use of referendums in Germany. "(If it's) approved, then a referendum on the European Union constitution can

30 August 2004

BERLIN - In an apparent policy shift, the German government Monday said it would allow a referendum on the European Union's constitution if a bill expanding use of plebiscites is approved by both houses of the Berlin parliament.

Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's deputy spokesman, Hans Langguth, confirmed the centre-left government plans legislation in the autumn aimed at expanding the use of referendums in Germany.

"(If it's) approved, then a referendum on the European Union constitution can take place," said Langguth.

But he stressed that given the required two-thirds majority required in both chambers of parliament, the legislation was unlikely to pass due to conservative opposition to the bill.
Schroeder has only a slim majority in the lower house and the conservatives dominate the Bundesrat or upper chamber.

Langguth insisted the stance did not mark a change in the German government's policy regarding the European constitution which is strongly supported by Chancellor Schroeder.

Up until now, however, the government has deflected questions over a possible referendum by saying it was not allowed under Germany's national constitution.

But Berlin has come under growing pressure after key European Union (EU) states, including Britain and France, decided in past months to hold referendums on the European constitution.

The EU constitution, which was hammered out earlier this year, must be approved by all 25 EU member states in order to come into force.

DPA

Subject: German news 

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