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EU constitution needs time, Merkel says

Published on 09/05/2006

9 May 2006

BERLIN  – Germany will continue to look for ways to revive the dormant EU constitution, but will give priority to research when its assumes presidency of the European Union in January 2007, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Tuesday.

Merkel told a conference of European leaders that time was needed to revive the treaty and warned against taking “hasty action” that could result in setbacks.

The draft EU constitution was rejected by voters in France and the Netherlands last summer. Most governments have since put the charter in cold storage.

Merkel said the EU needed to pay more attention to its neighbours who wanted to join the 25-nation bloc, but had to be firm in saying which countries met the criteria for membership.

Some aspirants would have to be told that there was no chance of them gaining full membership in the near future, she said, without naming names.

Merkel was speaking at the opening of a forum attended by Polish Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, Finnish Premier Matti Vanhanen and Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel.

Merkel, a physicist by training, said that Germany would make research, innovation and reducing bureaucracy the main themes of Germany’s six-month EU presidency.

She said research institutes would receive grants based strictly on performance, and not linked to any national interests.

EU foreign ministers are due to meet in Austria at the end of May for wide-ranging discussions on the future of the 25-nation bloc.

Discussions will also focus on Europe’s specific social values and the bloc’s future frontiers in view of the growing number of countries seeking to become EU members.


Subject: German News