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Last Updated: Thursday, 12 May, 2005, 16:26 GMT 17:26 UK
Greece fully ratifies EU treaty
EU flag at Parthenon temple
MPs rejected a motion for the public to have their say
Greece has completed its ratification of the European Union constitution after an opposition bid to hold a public referendum failed.

MPs overwhelmingly backed the treaty by 268 votes to 17 last month, but opposition leaders said a referendum would raise public awareness.

The motion failed and Greece joins Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, Lithuania and Slovenia in completing ratification.

So far, only Spain has backed the constitution with a referendum.

It then passed again in a vote in the Spanish lower house of parliament and is due before the upper house later this month.

French vote

The text, signed by EU leaders in Rome last year, must be backed by all 25 member states - either by public referendum or parliamentary vote.

The Greek opposition's motion to hold a referendum was supported by only 123 MPs in the 300-member parliament, with 151 against, so the original ratification holds.

The vote comes ahead of a crucial 29 May referendum on the issue in France - one of the founding states of the EU.

A string of opinion polls there have continued to cause concern for the government in Paris, by showing that a majority are against the constitution.

Correspondents say that is largely a reaction to the record of Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

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