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'Doctor! A pulse! The EU Constitution lives!'

brussels bureau

'Doctor! A pulse! The EU Constitution lives!'


It is not ready to run yet but at least it is sitting up in bed. The European Union constitution and Luxembourg’s ratification by referendum. The patient — the charter that is — is now in stable condition. Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker’s promise to quit if it died was safely neutralised. In Sunday’s vote the duchy’s people backed the constitution by around 56.5 percent to around 43.5 percent. Juncker says this should allow it to move forward somehow.

The charter’s future is still in doubt though, after the rejections in France and the Netherlands. Luxembourg brings the ratification tally up to 13 approvals. Belgium and Estonia say they will hold polls this year. But eight other countries have postponed their decision, Britain suspending it. The difference is: postponement hints you are actually going to have the thing. Suspense is more suspenseful. Torn by differences over EU economics and future funding, the EU leaders called a ‘time out’ on the constitution last month. The worry is that if they do not start the clock again quickly then presidential elections in France in 2007 could provide the last nail.
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