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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 June 2005, 17:24 GMT 18:24 UK
German president halts EU backing
President Horst Koehler
President Horst Koehler must sign the bill to make it law
The German president has said he will wait for a court ruling before completing his country's ratification of the European constitution.

The German upper and lower houses of parliament both backed the treaty, leaving President Horst Koehler to sign it into law.

But the German constitutional court is still to rule on an MP's complaint against parliament's approval.

The president's signature is required for German ratification to take effect.

The treaty was given overwhelming support in the upper house of parliament, the Bundesrat, on 27 May, two days before the French referendum on the text.

But France, and subsequently the Netherlands, both voted "No", plunging the EU into turmoil.

Crisis fear

German conservative MP Peter Gauweiler wants the Federal Constitutional Court to decide whether the charter conforms to Germany's own constitution.

An earlier attempt by Mr Gauweiler to use legal means to stop parliament ratifying the constitution was rejected.

A statement from Mr Koehler's office said: "The federal president will not process the corresponding ratification law until the Federal Constitutional Court has decided."

Nine of the 25 member states - not including Germany - have fully ratified the constitution, with only Spain doing so through a referendum. Approval by all members was necessary for the charter to become law.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso warned EU leaders meeting in Brussels this week that the bloc faces "permanent crisis and paralysis" if it cannot resolve differences over the constitution and budget.

He recommended a pause for reflection following the rejection of the constitution by Dutch and French voters.

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