We won't renegotiate, says EU chief

30th May 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 30 (AFP) - France's rejection of the EU constitution poses a "very serious problem" for the bloc but renegotiation of the text is not possible, European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said Monday.

PARIS, May 30 (AFP) - France's rejection of the EU constitution poses a "very serious problem" for the bloc but renegotiation of the text is not possible, European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said Monday.

"There is a very serious problem and we can't really say it's 'business as usual'," Barroso told French news channel LCI.

But the president of the European Union's executive arm added that "according to my contacts with all the governments," there was no willingness to reopen "negotiations that would in any event be very difficult".

French voters overwhelmingly said "no" to the bloc's first-ever constitution, with 54.87 percent of the electorate rejecting the landmark treaty.

Barroso said he had spoken to French President Jacques Chirac late Sunday.

"I expressed to him my solidarity at a time which is undoubtedly difficult," Barroso told LCI, without providing further details.

Explaining that the commission needed to take into account the EU's other 24 member states, nine of which have approved the treaty, he said: "There is no plan B. It's not reasonable to even think of a renegotiation."

"That must be said with great respect for France. There are 25 countries."

Barroso said the constitution would clearly top the agenda at a summit of EU leaders in mid-June in Brussels, given the "new political order" created by the French "no" vote and an expected Dutch "no" vote later this week.

"How can we move forward with a document that has just been refused without giving ourselves the time to reflect?" he said.

Despite Chirac's warnings that a "no" vote would marginalize France within the bloc, the European Commission chief insisted that "France's voice is still very important".

"It's impossible for us to conceive of a Europe without France," he added.


© AFP

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article