Zeven landen steunen opname christelijke tradities in Grondwet (en)

Met dank overgenomen van EUobserver (EUOBSERVER), gepubliceerd op vrijdag 24 oktober 2003, 16:02.
Auteur: Lisbeth Kirk

The demand to have Europe's Christian values mentioned in a new European Constitution is gaining increasing support.

Now, seven of the 25 countries participating in the negotiations of a new European Constitution support the call, according to the Italian EU Presidency.

The seven countries are: Spain, Ireland, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.

As the current holder of the EU Presidency, Italy is abstaining from taking a stand on the issue. But it is well known that Rome supports the demand as well.

The Convention, which drafted the Constitution, included a reference to the religious heritage of the European identity and civilisation. But the Convention failed to make an explicit reference to the Christian heritage. The seven countries feel this is unacceptable.

The issue might now be up for debate when the next meeting of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) is held on Monday (27 October) in Brussels.

The French President Jacques Chirac has made it clear that he will defend the lay character of the French state and is not going to accept a "religious reference" in the EU Constitution.

Also the majority in the European Parliament has rejected an inclusion of a reference to the "judeo-christian roots of Europe" in the preamble of the new treaty. MEPs were against the proposal by 283 to 211.

Italian treaty draft by the end of November

On the agenda for Monday's meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels are also the rotating presidencies and the use of qualified majority voting in the European Union.

Italy's draft of the future European constitution will be ready by the end of November, said the Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini in the European Parliament's constitutional affairs committee on Tuesday (21 October).

The draft, on which EU heads of state and government are expected to take a final decision in December, will be a global proposal based on a series of bilateral consultations and a summit of foreign ministers in Naples on November 28 and 29, added Mr Frattini.

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