Commission: deal on Constitution possible by end of 2004

Michel Barnier has said that an agreement on the
EU Constitution should be found during the mandate of the two
upcoming Presidencies.

On 15 December, Commissioner for Regional Policy and
Institutional Reform Michel Barnier was quoted as saying
that an agreement on the EU Constitution was possible by
the end of 2004. Mr Barnier said that the EU's Constitution
should be settled either under the Irish EU Presidency
(during the first six months of 2004), or the following
(Dutch) one.

Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt
has warned that if the Constitution is not adopted soon and
discussions with countries blocking a solution do not lead
to a resolution, a core group of countries should work
toward further integration in a number of domains. These
domains are foreign policy, defence, justice, asylum and
immigration, said Mr Verhofstadt.

Farm Commissioner Franz Fischler has
reportedly warned against the creation of a "core Europe"
saying that this would be "beginning of the end" of the
European community.

Irish government sources have indicated
that in the coming weeks the Irish Presidency will try to
narrow the gaps between various member states. The Irish
government will liaise with the Italian presidency to
identify the most crucial sticking points. After that, the
incoming Presidency will consult with the EU-25 and submit
a progress report to the spring summit in March 2004.

 

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