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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Les eurodéputés veulent eux aussi ressusciter la constitution

by By Rosa Moussaoui

Euro-MPs Join Call to Resuscitate Constitution

Translated by Steve Mcgiffen

Translated Tuesday 24 January 2006, by Steve McGiffen

The European Parliament yesterday adopted a resolution advocating the entry into force of the European Constitution from 2009, despite the French and Dutch “no”.

Strasbourg. The European Parliament yesterday adopted by a sizeable majority - 385 for, 125 against and 51 abstentions) a resolution which makes the “salvaging” of the European Constitution a priority.

The text, presented in the name of the Committee on Constitutional Affairs by the British Liberal Democrat Andrew Duff and the Austrian Green Johannes Voggenhubber, advocates quite simply the entry into force from 2009 of the constitution rejected last spring by French and Dutch voters.

Referring to the decision taken by heads of state and government last June, the resolution states that the Parliament “Considers that a positive outcome of the period of reflection would be that the current text can be maintained.” However, the Euro-MPs added, “this would only be possible if accompanied by significant measures to reassure and convincing public opinion.”

For the European Parliament, which approved the proposed constitution in a resolution of 13 January 2005, the consequences of the French and Dutch referenda are not to call the rejected text into question, but were related “to general and specific questions of context” rather “than to the text itself .” The MEPs called on “all civil society associations and organisations to include the entry into force of the Constitution as one of their priorities for discussion and debate” however much it may have been disowned at the ballot box. The resolution further calls on heads of state and government to “accept both individual and collective responsibility for bringing into force a Constitution for Europe” during the European Summit next June.

The adopted resolution repeatedly insists on the role which must be played by the national parliaments in reviving the Constitutional Treaty and on the asset which this would be for its supporters in “changing the context.” This confirms the strategy already sketched out by the European Commission, along with certain member states, in the forefront of which stands Germany, involving waiting for the French Presidential election and the start of a new political cycle in France, before submitting anew the test, and not directly to the citizens, but, as in most countries which have already ratified, to parliament.

“The report submitted to us proposes only to ’reassure public opinion’, it being understood that ’in any event’ the constitution should enter into force in 2009!’ said Francis Wurtz, President of the United Left Group (GUE/NGL), which opposed the report. “From now on it’s no longer a matter of debate, but of a publicity campaign.”

If the right, the majority of the PES and the Greens voted in favour of this resolution to exhume the European Constitution, unease was, on the other hand, palpable amongst French Greens and Socialists, who in most cases abstained. “I profoundly respect the people who have voted for this text. I voted Yes in the referendum myself,” explained PS Euro-MP Pierre Moscovici. “But at the same time we cannot behave as if nothing has happened, as if the vote of the Dutch and French peoples has not changed the situation.”

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