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'Action now on EU constitution' but debate first

'Action now on EU constitution' but debate first
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With institutional leaders saying Europe is coming out of its period of reflection on its future, and entering a phase of political action, the European Parliament has been debating the constitution. Its president Josep Borrell broached some of the broad questions up for discussion:

“Today Europe is wondering if the constitution will come into effect, if it needs to be re-written in parts, and if so, which ones and how. Should it be called something else? Some wonder whether it might be better to discard it; Everyone is asking what are the errors we committed, and whether it is possible to reconcile the people of Europe with the project.”

Estonia is completing its ratification of the EU constitution, becoming the 15th member state to adopt the treaty.

Fourteen member states have already ratified the charter: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

The process has been suspended in eight countries, including Britain.

After the French and Dutch rejections of the updated rule-book for an enlarged Union, the 25 member governments called for a cooling-off period.

Some say the constitution is dead; there is no consensus about how to proceed, according to sources in Brussels.

The European Commission is due to outline its ideas on overcoming last year’s setbacks this Wednesday.