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Dutch News
"No talk of a constitution" 6/18/2007
18 June 2007

LUXEMBOURG – The term constitution and all the symbols that refer to a European super-state have been practically dropped from the discussion, Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said on Sunday after meeting with the other EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.

"It looks as if agreement will be possible at the EU summit at the end of this week on the fact that a constitution is no longer up for discussion, but a traditional treaty to bring about certain changes. And we have also agreed that the symbols that refer to a EU super-state are also out of the picture," Verhagen said.

This satisfies two important demands from the Dutch government. Before the meeting Verhagen had already said that the Dutch cabinet was "absolutely opposed to a constitution."

The question now however is what will happen during the negotiations between the EU leaders this Thursday and Friday.

The Netherlands has succeeded in getting rid of the name and symbols of the constitution, but that does not mean that the contents of a new treaty will meet the demands set by the Netherlands.

For instance the Netherlands also wants the Charter of Fundamental Rights scrapped from the text of the EU treaty. But there is still disagreement on this point among EU members.

The Netherlands can accept replacing the Charter with an article that refers to the Charter, but the British do not want even that. Other countries say that the British standpoint on this matter is "unacceptable."

Another Dutch wish is to give national parliaments more opportunities to block proposals from the European Commission using a so-called red card procedure. But the chance of this being included is slim.

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