Sunday

21st Jul 2019

Call for EU leaders not to unilaterally break off ratification

  • Unilateral initiatives would make it even harder to find a common compromise, says Mr Barroso (Photo: European Commission)

The strong "Nee" to the EU constitution from the Dutch has not changed Brussels’ response. Ratification should go on and national leaders should abstain from taking unilateral actions to call off the show.

"Europe no longer aspires people to dream. If it doesn’t what can we do?" the current EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker remarked, in his comment after the preliminary results in the Netherlands were announced.

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"People do not like Europe as it is now and that is why they have voted against Europe as proposed by the constitution", he said as it became clear that around 62% of Dutch voters had rejected the EU charter.

But he pointed out that the debate in the run up to the French and Dutch referendums had proved lively and brought up various arguments.

He said that other countries - there are still 14 member states to decide on the document - and peoples have a right to their own discussion on the issue.

"Ratification should still continue", said Mr Juncker, adding he had heard the same determination from several of his European colleagues.

However, Commission President José Manuel Barroso called on EU leaders to wait for the June summit to discuss the current situation.

He pointed to a declaration annexed to the consitutional treaty, which states that member states should meet up after four fifths of them have ratified the document and if one or more had "encountered difficulties", only then decide what to do next.

"We have reached the collective agreement when we were signing the treaty, and we should prevent unilateral initiatives which would make it even harder to find a common compromise on what to do in future", said Mr Barroso.

Britain suggested earlier it would consider seriously the results of the Dutch vote, and deliver its decision on Monday on whether it would still hold its referendum.

Mr Juncker suggested the Presidency and the Commission would propose possible solutions to the EU heads of states and governments in June.

"If everybody agrees, we will be able to show the outside world that Europe is functioning and knows how to make decisions", said the Luxembourg Prime Minister.

Asked to what extent the European project had been damaged by the double No to the constitution, Mr Juncker replied - although stressing he was not a doctor to judge whether the treaty is "dead" or not - "tonight, the wound still hurts and is a little open, and we can perhaps foresee some long term damage. But who knows what it will mean for the overall state of the patient's body?"

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