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Last Updated: Friday, 25 March, 2005, 17:37 GMT
French 'oppose EU constitution'
French President Jacques Chirac at a news conference in Brussels
Jacques Chirac has been urged to explain the constitution to voters
A public opinion poll in France suggests opposition to the proposed EU constitution is growing ahead of a referendum on the issue in May.

The poll of just under 900 people suggested that 55% of those who intended to vote would vote "No".

It is the third survey in less than a month to show a majority of French against a constitution.

President Jacques Chirac has said that France's standing in Europe could suffer if voters reject the text.

Blank ballots

The poll was carried out by the CSA firm for the magazine Marianne. Margins of error were not given.

Half the 856 people questioned said they would abstain or submit a blank ballot.

Previous polls have indicated opposition running at 51% and 52%.

Polling was carried out on Wednesday, during an EU summit at which President Chirac urged voters to judge the text on its own merits rather than linking it to other issues.

The text is designed to streamline institutions to make decision-making easier in an enlarged union of 25 countries.

A "No" vote in a large member state would throw the EU into crisis.

On Tuesday, EU Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said France needed to explain the constitution to voters.


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