Institutional Affairs

France says no to Christianity in Constitution

14.09.03 @ 20:17

  1. By Marcin Frydrych

Despite strong lobbying from the Vatican and representatives of the Orthodox Church in Europe, the preamble of the draft treaty establishing the Constitution for Europe - produced by the European Convention in June - has resisted any reference to Christianity.

France along with Turkey are the main countries contending such a reference.

"France is a lay state and as such she does not have a habit of calling for insertions of a religious nature into constitutional texts", the French President told reporters at a visit in Quintos de Moro where he met Spanish Prime Minister, José Maria Aznar.

"The lay character of French institutions does not allow them to accept a religious reference" in a domestic or EU constitution, Mr Chirac concluded.

Several countries, Italy, Spain and Poland among them, have backed the idea of having a reference to Christianity included in the Constitution.

Warsaw intends to raise this issue in its four-point strategy for the Intergovernmental Conference which begins next month in Rome.