EU leaders promise to agree European constitution by June

Heads of state and government have pledged to agree on a constitution for Europe by June and adopted several measures to boost the fight against terrorism.

Heads of states and goverments have unanimously committed themselves to reaching a deal on the Constitution by their next summit on 17-18 June. "We all want to see a new constitution in place as soon as we can," Bertie Ahern, Irish Prime minister and President of the European Council, told reporters after the meeting of leaders of the 25 current and future EU Member States. He set a mid-June deadline for an accord, adding: "It definitely won't be easy." Pledges of agreement on Constitution from the Spanish incoming prime minister, Zapatero, and the subsequently more amenable stance by Poland have galvanised EU leaders into a new spirit of compromise which has revived prospects for the Constitution to be agreed within the Irish Presidency.

The breakthrough on the constitution came after EU leaders had adopted a Declaration on Combating Terrorism. Gijs de Vries, former Dutch interior minister, was appointed as 'Mr Terrorism'. He will co-ordinate EU action on terrorism and make sure that Member States implement what has been agreed, under the responsibility of Javier Solana. The beefed-up Action Plan on Terrorism will be looked at again during the June European Council (see

EURACTIV, 25 March 2004)

EU leaders also underlined the need to ensure that law enforcement agencies (security services, police, customs etc.) cooperate with each other as extensively as possible. High Representative for EU foreign policy, Javier Solana, has been asked to report to the June European Council on how intelligence capacity can be integrated within the Council structure.

 

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