EU expansion may have to wait, says Moratinos

2nd June 2005, Comments 0 comments

2 June 2005, MADRID — The European Council should think about pressing ahead with EU enlargement after Dutch voters joined the French in voting 'no' to the EU constitution, Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said.

2 June 2005

MADRID — The European Council should think about pressing ahead with EU enlargement after Dutch voters joined the French in voting 'no' to the EU constitution, Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said.

"The French and Dutch votes require a period of reflection and I am certain that will start in very active fashion" with the European Council meeting on 16-17 June, Moratinos said.

But he told Spanish television there was "no alternative" to future enlargement bringing in countries such as Bulgaria, Romania or Croatia.

Following the French and Dutch no votes, Spain remains to date the only country to have backed the treaty via a referendum — seven out of ten voters said 'yes' in February, but only 42 percent of the electorate voted.

Moratinos said that Spain remains "a fervent supporter of the constitutional treaty" and insisted that any idea of watering down the text was "at the moment premature".
 
The constitution aims to prevent decision-making gridlock in the expanding bloc and must be ratified by all EU member states to come into force.

"The process is ongoing in all 25 countries and we will wait to see the result," Moratinos said.

"The difficulty we are going to be confronted with if we do not have a constitution is that the Nice Treaty will continue to apply and that will render difficult the functioning and effectiveness of the European Union," he added.

On Wednesday, Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero warned against criticism of France for its 'no' vote, telling Spanish deputies that France, along with Germany, whose parliament has ratified the treaty, was "crucial to the future of Europe".

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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