France to vote on EU constitution 'by summer'

3rd January 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Dec 31 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac said Friday that France would vote on the European Union's first constitution "before the summer".

PARIS, Dec 31 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac said Friday that France would vote on the European Union's first constitution "before the summer".  

"In 2005, you will have the future of Europe in your hands," Chirac said in a televised New Year's address.  

"I have decided that the European Constitution will be submitted to you by referendum before the summer," he said.  

"You, the sovereign people, will be called on to choose your own destiny."  

Chirac said that choice would be "decisive" for the future of France and Europe.  

"For all of us this is a very big responsibility," he said.  

By approving the constitution French voters would "allow Europe to be more democratic, more determined and more powerful," making it capable of faster economic and social progress.  

"And you will allow France to have greater weight inside the Union," said Chirac.  

The French constitutional council decided in November that it would be necessary to revise France's 1958 constitution before putting the European Union's new constitution to a referendum.  

The council said that the aspects of the EU constitution which require a revision of the French constitution are those concerning personal freedoms, security and justice; and the EU's foreign and security policy which transfers competences to the bloc, and therefore imply sovereignty.  

Chirac announced earlier that this revision of the constitution would take place in a meeting of upper and lower houses of parliament at the beginning of 2005.  

The EU constitution, signed by EU government leaders amid huge fanfare in Rome on October 30, faces a series of referendums in different countries which have chosen to put the constitution to a popular vote. A "no" vote in any one could in theory stop it in its tracks.  

The treaty aims to speed up decision-making in the bloc after it was enlarged to 25 nations in May.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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