Spain sets example with first ever European Constitution
28 April 2005, MADRID-The Spanish parliament has ratified the treaty establishing the first-ever European Union constitution.
28 April 2005
MADRID-The Spanish parliament has ratified the treaty establishing the first-ever European Union constitution.
Voters in Spain resoundingly approved the proposed EU Constitution in a referendum in February.
Spain was the first EU state to give the treaty popular backing in a referendum, setting an example for other countries submitting the constitution to the approval of the electorate.
"The result of the (Spanish) referendum is the best example and a sign of invaluable involvement in the process of ratification and popular consultation for other member states," said Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
The 350 deputies of Spain's lower house of parliament ratified the treaty with an overwhelming majority vote and without a single amendment.
The treaty will then be passed to the upper house, the Senate, in about two months and if approved without amendments as expected, the ratification will take effect.
The treaty has the backing of Spain's ruling Socialists as well as the main conservative opposition Popular Party.
"The government has taken the lead in the ratification process because it believes this reflects Spain's role in the European bloc, and it has been supported in this action by the majority of the groups in this chamber" of parliament, a Popular Party statement said.
It also reflects Spain's "gratitude for all it has received" since joining the EU in 1986, the statement added.
In the referendum on 20 February, 77 percent of voters were in favour of the treaty, compared with 17 percent against it. However, turnout was low with about 58 percent of eligible voters staying away from the polls.
The EU constitutional treaty was designed to overcome decision-making gridlock in the expanded 25-member EU.
France will be the next EU member state to hold a referendum on 29 May.
Other countries expected to hold referendums include Britain and the Netherlands.
Since mid-March, nearly two dozen surveys have indicated that a majority of French voters will reject the proposed constitution, with opposition hovering between 51 and 58 percent.
But those same polls reveal that most of those opposed are voicing general discontent with the centre-right government of President Jacques Chirac.
[Copyright EFE with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news