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27th Nov 2022

Spain against changes in constitution text

  • Spain and Luxembourg adopted the constitution - while voters in France and the Netherlands rejected it (Photo: EUobserver)

The Spanish foreign minister has rejected calls to change the text of the EU constitution, arguing this would be impossible to explain to the Spanish people which already voted on the charter.

Spanish foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos told Austrian daily Die Presse in an interview on Monday (16 January) "How should I explain to the Spanish people that the text that they have already approved, is not valid anymore?"

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A popular referendum in February 2005 saw Spanish citizens voting strongly in favour of the charter, which was put on ice by EU leaders after French and Dutch voters rejected it in June.

Mr Moratinos indicated "Spain will support the process that should lead to the implementation of the constitution. But we are against a debate on a new text. It would be the wrong debate: all EU governments have signed the EU constitution, it is the best text that we could have."

The Spanish remarks come after several interventions by EU leaders on the fate of the constitution in the last couple of weeks, stimulated by the Austrian EU presidency which has re-opened the debate on the charter.

German leader Angela Merkel has proposed attaching a declaration on the "social dimension of Europe" in a bid to save the constitution in its entirety.

French president Jacques Chirac, by contrast, has urged closer co-operation in individual policy areas covered by the constitution.

Dutch foreign minister Bernard Bot has said the constitution is "dead," after the Austrian leader Wolfgang Schussel declared that it is "not dead", but "in the middle of a ratification process."

The European Parliament will this week debate a report that is aimed at salvaging the EU constitution, but the report could also include a call for some modifications of the charter.

But Mr Moratinos warned against hasty moves, saying "final decisions should only be taken when the time is ripe. That is not the case yet. First, we should re-gain the trust of the EU citizens - for example by creating new jobs".

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