Barnier urges simultaneous EU constitution vote

30th April 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 30 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Friday he favoured the simultaneous adoption of the proposed EU constitution in all 25 member and future member states, whether by referendum or parliamentary vote.

PARIS, April 30 (AFP) - French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said Friday he favoured the simultaneous adoption of the proposed EU constitution in all 25 member and future member states, whether by referendum or parliamentary vote.

"The idea that there could be a European debate for the first time at the same moment, the same day if possible but in any case in the same week, is a nice idea," Barnier told France Inter public radio, on the eve of EU expansion.

The minister said the passage of the European Union constitution could take place "through the people or by representatives of the people".

"We know all too well that when there is a European debate in one country alone, the debate is twisted, that it becomes a partisan debate on whether to vote for or against (British Prime Minister) Tony Blair, for or against (French President) Jacques Chirac," Barnier said.

Ten central and eastern European states are set to join the European Union on Saturday, bringing its total membership to 25.

On Thursday, Chirac said agreement on a European constitution was possible by June in order to allow a 25-member union to "operate more effectively."

But the French leader told a press conference that it was too early to decide whether the text should be put to the French people in a referendum or approved only by parliament.

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, announced at a March summit that the EU hoped to wrap up a deal on the constitution before a mid-June meeting of EU leaders.

© AFP

                                                 Subject: French news

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