Finland ratifies EU Constitution

EU presidency holder Finland has sent out a positive signal for the European constitutional project by ratifying the treaty with an overwhelming majority.

With 125 votes to 39, the Finnish parliament approved the Constitution on 5 December 2006, despite the doubts over its future following the failed referenda in France and the Netherlands. 

Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen said: “My own view is that the Constitutional Treaty is a well-balanced package. Europe needs reform. That is why the Finnish government wanted to push ahead with it, at both national and EU level.”

The symbolic gesture comes just weeks before the takeover of the German presidency, which promised to revive the constitutional project and try to find a solution to the current impasse.

European Parliament President Josep Borrell said: “Finland has set an example. Including Romania and Bulgaria, 18 states out of 27, representing 56% of the population of the EU, will have ratified the treaty by 1 January 2007. This is a symbolic threshold, which in many national democracies would be sufficient for the revision of fundamental provisions such as these, but in the EU, where unanimity is still required, it is not enough.”

With two-thirds of member states now having ratified the Constitution, heads of state and government will discuss a relaunch of the constitutional project when they meet on 14-15 December 2006. 

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