French Socialists back EU treaty

7th November 2007, Comments 0 comments

7 November 2007, PARIS (AFP) - France's opposition Socialists have backed "by a clear majority" the new EU treaty in a bid to move beyond disagreements that tore the party apart in 2005, leader Francois Hollande said Wednesday.

7 November 2007

PARIS (AFP) - France's opposition Socialists have backed "by a clear majority" the new EU treaty in a bid to move beyond disagreements that tore the party apart in 2005, leader Francois Hollande said Wednesday.

The party's national bureau endorsed by a vote of 36 to 20 the treaty that is to replace the constitution that was rejected by French and Dutch voters in referendums in 2005.

"A clear majority has said yes," Hollande told France Inter radio. "This issue is now behind us."

European Union leaders are to formally sign the treaty in Lisbon on December 13 and it will then return to the 27 EU member-states to be ratified in each one.

If all goes to plan the treaty will come into force on January 1, 2009, putting the bloc back on track by defining the role of its institutions following its expansion from 15 to 27 members since 2004.

The Socialist leadership took widely divergent views during the 2005 referendum campaign in France, with the euro-skeptic camp led by Laurent Fabius, a former prime minister.

Hollande and his then partner Segolene Royal, who later became the Socialist's candidate for the presidency, backed the constitution.

Hollande said the party must focus on assessing the performance of President Nicolas Sarkozy's rightwing government instead of waging internal battles over the future of Europe.

"I do not want this European issue to be on everyone's mind when the French people expect so much from the Socialist Party from its proposals and its assessments of the government," he said.

AFP

Subject: French news

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