Germany’s upper house of parliament has overwhelmingly approved the European constitution – in a ballot timed to encourage wavering French voters to do the same.While France remains deeply divided over the proposed charter, there has been relatively little debate across the border. Germany did not call a referendum and, with all mainstream political parties backing the constitution parliamentary approval was a foregone conclusion. The lower house voted on May 12. That has now been rubber stamped by the upper house, clearing the way for formal ratification. Former French president and architect of the constitution, Valerie Giscard d’Estaing, was present for this morning’s vote. In a speech he urged France to follow Germany’s lead. Germany is the ninth country to adopt the charter, which has to be approved by all 25 member states to come into force.