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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 April, 2004, 12:54 GMT 13:54 UK
EU constitution given txt appeal
European Union flags
Mr Abitbol is campaigning for a referendum on the constitution
A French MEP has translated the draft EU constitution into French text messages, in a bid to highlight what he sees as its use of bureaucratic jargon.

William Abitbol, a Eurosceptic, says he wanted to underline the "Orwellian nature" of the constitutional document.

"The language is obscure to say the least," he told BBC News Online.

EU leaders are set to agree on a draft of the controversial text, which will replace earlier treaties with a single document, by mid-June.

Ironic gesture

The MEP, who is campaigning for a referendum on the constitution in France, said the translation took just 10 days to complete because the text was so repetitive.

Europe: €p
Valery Giscard d'Estaing: valeri Js╝ Dst1
Culture: qltur
DiversitÚ: 10ver6t

He compared the language used in the constitution to Newspeak, the language introduced by the totalitarian ruler Big Brother in George Orwell's novel 1984.

Although originally intended as an ironic gesture, Mr Abitbol says he is pleased his translation - the "Konstitut1 poor l'€p" (Constitution pour l'Europe, or Constitution for Europe) - has gained positive media attention.

It has been suggested that his work, dedicated to the "younger generation", might help make European politics more appealing to young voters.

"This is turning out to be a useful thing in favour of the constitution," he admits.

"It is creating a debate."

The idea came from talking to his "younger" assistants, who are avid users of text messaging.

He was also inspired by the recent publication in France of a novel, a thriller by Phil Marso, written completely in text.

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