EU 'at risk' without constitution: Barnier

22nd October 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 21 (AFP) - The political vision driving the European Union is at risk if a constitution for the 25-member bloc is not adopted, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier warned Thursday.

PARIS, Oct 21 (AFP) - The political vision driving the European Union is at risk if a constitution for the 25-member bloc is not adopted, French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier warned Thursday.

"If we don't have a constitution, the (EU) project will become fragile and perhaps fall apart," he told the French senate in a speech on Franco-German cooperation between local authorities.

"We will not be able to give the economic dimension - the common market, the (single) currency - the extra dimension it needs, which is the political dimension: a common foreign policy and a defence policy. The political capacity to play a role in the world alongside the Russians, the Chinese and the Americans," he said.

"If we aren't able to do that, then everything we have already achieved will be threatened," he said.

The European Union, which accepted 10 new members early this year, "is fragile," he added.

"On top of the internal challenges - those of economic management, unity, our institutions, our very functioning - there are also the external challenges of security: ecological security, security against terrorism."

More has to be done to implicate European citizens with the bloc's development, Barnier said, otherwise they will switch off.

France plans to hold a referendum on an EU constitution in mid-2005.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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