UK relief at French referendum decision

15th July 2004, Comments 0 comments

LONDON, July 14 (AFP) - Britain hailed French President Jacques Chirac's announcement Wednesday that Paris would hold a referendum next year aimed at ratifying the first EU constitution.

LONDON, July 14 (AFP) - Britain hailed French President Jacques Chirac's announcement Wednesday that Paris would hold a referendum next year aimed at ratifying the first EU constitution.  

"I am pleased at the courage of the president," Britain's minister for Europe, Denis MacShane, told AFP.  

"Now all those in favour of our Europe, in Britain and France, must work and join together to convince our populations that the Union is good for our two countries," he said in French.  

"The anti-Europeans from the extremes of left and right on both sides of the Channel will fight a populist campaign but it is right and in the national interests of Britain and France that we say yes to our Europe."  

Chirac, speaking as France celebrated its national Bastille Day holiday, said the referendum would be held in the second half of 2005 and urged the French people to vote in favour.  

France thus joins Britain, Denmark, Ireland and Luxembourg in announcing a popular vote on the issue and other countries have said they may follow suit.  

The constitution for the European Union was agreed at a historic summit in Brussels last month.  

The text, which is designed to prevent decision-making deadlock in the now 25-member bloc, must be ratified by all EU member states before it can come into force.

© AFP

 

Subject: French news

 

 

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