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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 9th, 2007
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

“Spain and Luxembourg call for ‘pride’ in EU constitution” writes Helena Spongenberg from Brussels
“Those of us that have ratified [the constitution] must be proud of it,” said Spanish foreign affairs minister Miguel Angel Moratinos adding that the ratifiers should not have to justify their choice.

“[We should be] open and constructive but defending our principles and values, and the existence of a treaty that we consider a fundamental element,” he said, according to Spanish daily El Mundo.

The minister was in Luxembourg on Monday (8 January) to meet with the country’s foreign minister Jean Asselborn.

The two are preparing a conference on 26 January for the 18 EU member states that have ratified the constitution – both before and after French and Dutch voters rejected the charter in 2005.

Mr Asselborn said the objective of the conference was to analyse the political situation of the EU and “help” the German EU presidency in the debate on the reform of the bloc’s institutions after it was paralyzed by the votes in France and the Netherlands.

Mr Moratinos said reactions had generally been positive, despite the fact that the plan has received some criticism – EU liberal constitutional spokesman and UK MEP Andrew Duff said last month the initiative “carries the serious risk of dividing the union.”

He added that Ireland and Portugal – countries which have not ratified the constitution – had shown interest in taking part in the Madrid conference.

Mr Asselborn pointed out that at the Madrid conference, it would be decided if a second conference should take place in Luxembourg at the end of February, which would include the seven member states that have not yet ratified the constitution.

He made assurances, however, that the two countries “do not want to constitute a block” against those that have rejected or not yet ratified the constitution. “On the contrary, we try to encourage them to ratify and to help the German presidency to find keys that impel dialogue.”

Spain and Luxembourg are the only two countries that ratified the EU constitution by referendum, with 77 percent of Spaniards and 56 percent of Luxembourgish voting “yes” to the document.

The Czech Republic, Denmark, Ireland, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom parked the process of ratification after it was rejected in 2005.

Bulgaria and Romania which entered the EU in January already ratified the constitution before accession.

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