5th Feb 2023

Countries that reject Constitution may have to leave the EU

  • Romano Prodi - "It's simply common sense" (Photo: European Commission)

European Commission President Romano Prodi has told the Irish Times that when it comes to ratification of the EU Constitution, one member state cannot be allowed to sink the treaty.

In an interview with the Irish daily, Mr Prodi said "maybe you should have a long waiting period to allow us to find a political solution to solve the problem. We won't say, 'You voted No, now get out', but we have to find a solution that will not permit one country to stop all the other 24. It is clear. This is obvious. It's simply common sense".

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He went on to add: "I think that it's such an important decision that it cannot be taken immediately or simply, but certainly, you cannot ignore the fact that if a country says 'No, No, No, No', then it is a decision of the country to stay out. You don't even need to expel it", he said.

Ratification of the EU Constitution, which is set to be agreed this month, is the next big political hurdle facing the European Union.

The text, which fundamentally alters the nature of the Union, must be ratified either via national parliaments or by referendum in all 25 member states.

It is highly likely that one or more states will reject the Constitution - which will leave the EU in political turmoil.

Ireland has already had experience of this. It rejected the Nice Treaty first time round in 2001 and had to vote on the same issue again the following year - when its citizens then voted yes.

At the moment some six countries are set to have a referendum on the Constitution: Ireland, Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.

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