Chirac wishes 'Happy New Year' to Europe

9th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 9 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac for the first time has addressed his new year wishes to the 456 million residents of Europe's 25 member countries.

PARIS, Jan 9 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac for the first time has addressed his new year wishes to the 456 million residents of Europe's 25 member countries.

In an Internet statement Monday in the 20 official languages of the European Union, the centre-right president expressed optimism that the bloc could overcome the fiasco of last year's failed constitutional referendum.

The 54.7 percent 'no' vote in France's May 29 poll was seen as a body blow to the 73-year-old political veteran who campaigned hard for the charter setting benchmarks for democracy and human rights, and streamlining decision making in the enlarged 25-member grouping.

The treaty was effectively killed off by Dutch voters who voted 61.6 percent against the document three days later.

Chirac expressed hope "that 2006 should be a great year of European progress" in the message carried by his office's website and by French embassies in the other 24 EU countries.

"Europe has always progressed by overcoming the difficulties with which it was confronted," he said, referring to the task of institutional reform facing the 25 member nations this year.

"Once again we will do it together. Because we are aware of the progress that it brings us. Because we are proud to be citizens of Europe," Chirac said.

However, he made no reference to the declaration of "ambitious" proposals for relaunching the union he made after European leaders finally broke through deadlock on December 17 last year to approve the EU's 2007-2013 budget.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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