Luxembourg 'yes' important for Europe: France

11th July 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, July 11 (AFP) - Luxembourg's approval of the EU constitution is important for Europe and shows that plans for closer European Union integration are not dead, France's European affairs minister Catherine Colonna said Monday.

PARIS, July 11 (AFP) - Luxembourg's approval of the EU constitution is important for Europe and shows that plans for closer European Union integration are not dead, France's European affairs minister Catherine Colonna said Monday.

"This is a remarkable result because beyond Luxembourg, it's important for all of Europe. It shows that we're not in a 'no' phase," Colonna told private radio RTL.

She added that the victory for the 'yes' camp in Luxembourg in a weekend referendum "shows that the European project can still convince people".

Approval of the landmark EU treaty in Luxembourg on Sunday, by a vote of 56.5 percent to 44.4 percent, raised hopes across the bloc that the charter could be revived after its rejection by France and The Netherlands.

French President Jacques Chirac, who was dealt a crushing blow when French voters rejected the EU constitution in May, called Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker late Sunday to congratulate him, the Elysee Palace said Monday.

Colonna said she did not believe the text was "dead" following the French and Dutch rejections, but ruled out any revote in France.

"I can't imagine how it would be possible to have the French vote a second time on the same text," she told RTL.

EU leaders decided at a summit in Brussels last month to extend the deadline for ratification of the embattled constitution beyond November 2006, in the wake of the French and Dutch votes.

Former French foreign minister Michel Barnier, who campaigned for a 'yes' vote and lost his job in the government reshuffle that followed the French referendum, urged EU leaders to preserve the constitutional treaty.

"The constitution is not dead," he told France 2 television. "This proves that this text has been received in a much more positive light in other countries."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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