Thursday, January 12, 2006

Dutch FM: EU Constitution "Dead"

Austria, which holds the EU's rotating presidency for the next six months, has pledged to work on reviving the constitution.... However, when Ursula Plassnik, the Austrian foreign minister, flew to The Hague to sound out the Dutch, Mr Bot poured cold water on the initiative.

Mr Bot, standing beside Mrs Plassnik, said: "We have discussed the constitution, which for the Netherlands is dead."

Diehard enthusiasts for the constitution will doubtless point out that Mr Bot's words only hold good until the next Dutch elections, in spring 2007, when his centre-Right coalition is expected to lose office. France will also hold presidential elections in 2007....

However, one EU diplomat said: "It is hard to see any incoming French or Dutch government, in 2007, choosing to swallow the poison pill that is another referendum on the constitution, which they could easily lose."

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