Chirac, Ahern see EU constitution deal by July

22nd March 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 22 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said Monday they saw a possible deal emerging on the European Union's stalled draft constitution by the end of June.

PARIS, March 22 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac and Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said Monday they saw a possible deal emerging on the European Union's stalled draft constitution by the end of June.

Chirac said he was "determined to do everything" to find an agreement on the document before an EU summit on June 17-18, in the final weeks of Ireland's six-month presidency of the bloc.

"We think it is possible to reach a conclusion by that date," Chirac told a joint news conference with Ahern.

The Irish prime minister agreed that such a deal was possible.

A push to create a first-ever EU constitution was stymied in December when EU member Spain and incoming member Poland refused to give up generous voting rights allocated to them under a 2000 treaty. This was despite fears that the bloc - which expands from 15 to 25 countries in May - will become unworkable without a common basic law.

An annoyed Chirac said in the wake of the failure that France and some other EU countries might decide to move forward with a unifying document regardless, leaving other countries behind.

But the door to negotiations has reopened, following the election defeat of Spain's conservative government on March 14. The incoming Socialist Party has pledged to work towards agreement on the EU constitution.

© AFP

                                                              Subject: France news

 

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