Spain backs EU constitution ahead of French vote

19th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

19 May 2005, MADRID — Spain become the seventh country to ratify the European Union's constitution when a large majority in the upper house Senate adopted the bill.

19 May 2005

MADRID — Spain become the seventh country to ratify the European Union's constitution when a large majority in the upper house Senate adopted the bill.

The move followed an equally strong vote in favour by the lower house of parliament last month.

There were 225 Senate votes in favour and six against with one abstention following the vote in April in the lower house where 331 deputies approved the new constitution with 19 voting against.

Prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told the Senate that the constitution "strengthens the role of national parliaments and does not threaten the cultures or identities of individual members, but is rather the best way to defend them".

The treaty "lays the ground for a more democratic EU that is closer to the citizens," he added.

The parliamentary ratification follows a February referendum where 77 percent of Spaniards approved the European constitution, despite a 58 percent turnout.

However in France, a key country for the approval of European constitution, the lastest polls give the "no" vote a slight lead for a referendum on 29 May.

Mariano Rajoy, head of the Spanish opposition conservative Popular Party, said if the French "no" campaign wins that could require the drafting of a new treaty.

Spain joins Lithuania, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Greece and Slovakia which have approved the European constitution.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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