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29 October 2004

Another slow step forward

EU leaders sign constitution
Matthew Tempest, political correspondent

The 25 leaders of the European Union today signed the EU's first constitution, in the Rome palace which saw the creation of the original common market 47 years ago. The illustrious ceremony, hosted by the Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, in the Palazzo dei Conservatori, leaves the treaty with two years to be ratified by each member-state, either through their national parliaments or individual referendums - leaving its eventual enactment in doubt.

The 300-page constitution, if ratified, would give the EU a president, a foreign minister and a charter of fundamental rights - all deeply controversial in many EU nations. The foreign secretary, Jack Straw, today confirmed that a UK referendum on the constitution was "likely" to be in spring 2006 - after both a general election and the UK's rotating presidency of the EU.

The new "rulebook" for the EU replaces over 80,000 pages of legal documentation accumulated through a variety of treaties bonding the original European Economic Community of 1957, and was prompted by the accession this year of 10 new member states, mostly from the former Soviet block.

Good News for those, who like me, believe that the future of Europe is Europe.
Problem is getting it ratified by the indivual states when most europeans have lost faith in Europe, or never had it to begin with.

(the same story from

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