EU charter ‘good for Europe and France’: Chirac

21st June 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 19 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac of France said Saturday the European Union's "historic" new constitution is "good for Europe, good for France."

PARIS, June 19 (AFP) - President Jacques Chirac of France said Saturday the European Union's "historic" new constitution is "good for Europe, good for France."

Comforted by an opinion poll that indicated 66 percent of the electorate would support the charter if it was put to a referendum, Chirac said the document would enable the EU to take decisions quicker and more efficiently, and make its weight felt in the world.

At the same time, he told reporters, it would give France more weight within Europe and enable citizens of the country to make their voices heard.

"That is why this agreement is very important, and that is why I call it historic," Chirac said.

The constitution was adopted by a summit meeting of the 25-nation EU in Brussels Friday, and now has to be ratified by all member states. Chirac said earlier it could take him a year or more to decide whether to hold a referendum or seek parliamentary ratification instead.

Chirac said the constitution provided for a European president and foreign minister, an enlarged role for the European Parliament, a renewed European Commission and a voting system that would better reflect the reality of Europe.

He regretted that the summit meeting had not gone further toward harmonizing fiscal and social policies. But he said the 25 nations had put in place mechanisms that would enable groups of states to progress more quickly in these areas without being blocked by others who want more time.

© AFP

Subject: French news

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