Spain to hold Euro referendum within year

23rd June 2004, Comments 0 comments

24 June 2004, MADRID -José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said Thursday the referendum on the European Constitution will be held within a year.

24 June 2004

MADRID -José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero said Thursday the referendum on the European Constitution will be held within a year.

The Spanish prime minister told the Spanish parliament it should be held within six or 12 months.

He added that Spain should "be among the first in this crucial phase of European integration".

The new constitution, agreed by 25 EU leaders last week, must win approval in each member state either by a vote in parliament or by public referendum.

Zapatero said the issue would go to a referendum Wednesday.

The constitution sets out the powers of the national governments of the member states and the EU's various institutions as well as a charter of fundamental rights.

It also details how the union will conduct a wide range of internal and foreign policies, especially since the EU grew to 25 members when 10 new countries joined on 1 May.

Zapatero said: "My intention, as we set out in the election manifesto... is to hold a referendum so that all Spanish citizens can express themselves about the new text of the constitution."

"I hope this referendum takes place as quickly as possible and that Spain will be among the first EU countries to ratify the constitution."

Commentators believe Zapatero's pro-European stance reflects popular opinion as many Spaniards support Spain's position in the EU.

Most other EU countries have yet to decide.

Portugal said it would hold a referendum.

Among the other states likely to go to a referendum are the UK, Denmark, Ireland and Luxembourg.

[EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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