Chirac urges EU to take time to study 'non' shock

1st June 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 1 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac has asked his European Union counterparts to "take the time needed to analyse the consequences" of France's rejection of the EU constitution, in a letter released by his office Wednesday.

PARIS, June 1 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac has asked his European Union counterparts to "take the time needed to analyse the consequences" of France's rejection of the EU constitution, in a letter released by his office Wednesday.  

"It would be appropriate to take the time needed to analyse the consequences of France's vote for the union," Chirac wrote to his 24 EU counterparts, saying the process should begin at an EU summit later this month in Brussels.  

Nearly 55 percent of French voters on Sunday rejected the EU constitution, which aims to streamline decision-making in the expanded bloc. The Netherlands went to the polls on Wednesday, with a "no" vote expected there too.  

"Above and beyond what this decision implies for my own country, I am aware of the consequences that this situation imposes on France's partners and on the Union itself," Chirac wrote.  

"It is up to all the other member states to express themselves on this treaty," the French leader said, suggesting that the ratification process should continue despite France's historic "no" vote.   So far, nine EU countries have approved the treaty - Austria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.   

As the constitution must be ratified by all 25 EU states to take effect, observers suggested that the treaty would stop dead in its tracks following the French rejection, but EU officials insist the process will move forward.  

Chirac insisted that France's repudiation of the EU charter "does not at all call into question France's deep and historic commitment to the construction of Europe," adding: "France is a founding member of the Union."  

The 72-year-old leader - who on Tuesday appointed Dominique de Villepin as France's new prime minister, replacing Jean-Pierre Raffarin in the wake of the EU vote disaster - said Paris would maintain its position within the bloc.
 

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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