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Last Updated: Friday, 20 June, 2003, 18:23 GMT 19:23 UK
In quotes: EU constitution
Comments by key officials of the European Union and its member countries about the new EU draft constitution.

Valery Giscard d'Estaing, president of the Convention on the Future of Europe:

Our text must be adhered to as closely as possible. Europeans expect a constitution, so let's give it to them.

European Commission President Romano Prodi, 28 May:

Despite all the hard work we have put into this, the text that is now before us simply lacks vision and ambition.

20 June:

We will have a clearer, simpler Union which citizens will be able to understand.

Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, holder of the rotating EU presidency

Despite the uncertainties, doubts and questions... the result is here in front of us all today. It is true that the result is built on compromise, but it is an excellent compromise.

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair:

Of particular importance to us is the recognition... that what we want is a Europe of nations, not a federal super-state.

Peter Hain, UK government delegate at the convention:

The constitutional treaty will be simpler and clearer for everyone. It will help us run a more efficient, effective Union after 10 more countries join next year. This will be a good foundation for final negotiations.

David Heathcote-Amory, UK delegate from the opposition Conservative Party:

This text will create an even less democratic EU, full of politicians and even more remote from the ordinary voter.

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer:

For me, the constitution is the most important treaty since the foundation of the European Economic Community.

French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin:

We are setting up a new political age, more efficient, more democratic, assuming Europe's full role on the world stage.

Spanish Foreign Minister Ana de Palacio:

This text is an unprecedented legal revolution. It is not pure rhetoric and it puts an end to 19th Century diplomacy where agreements are signed behind closed doors.

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen:

The EU's constitution is so new and large a document that it would be right to hold a referendum on it.

Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson:

Great care is needed when changing the text because many cards in the house may start falling down.

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