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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 October 2006, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Germany plans to revive EU treaty
Angela Merkel and Jose Manuel Barroso
Merkel and Barroso agreed on both the constitution and the economy
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said her government will be "very ambitious" in trying to revive the European Union constitution in 2007.

Germany takes over the presidency of the EU on 1 January for six months, and wants to set a "roadmap" and a "method" for adoption of the constitution.

The charter was rejected by voters in France and the Netherlands in 2005.

However, there is wide support in the EU for efforts to adopt a constitution in some form by 2009.

A leading contender to become French president next year, Nicolas Sarkozy, argued last month for quick adoption of a mini-treaty, incorporating some aspects of the constitution.

Timeframe

Mrs Merkel has made clear that she is against such a plan, and favours an ambitious "Constitution Plus".

The Germany presidency should set the target, the roadmap and the method
Angela Merkel
"We will not be able to close the issue during our presidency but we want to make our contribution, to agree that we need a constitution, and that we need this before the next European elections," she said at a news conference in Berlin with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

"We have given ourselves a timeframe to solve the issue, therefore the German presidency should set the target, the roadmap and the method."

A declaration of the EU's values could be made in the middle of the German presidency, in March 2007, when the EU celebrates its 50th birthday.

The timeframe already pencilled in by European leaders envisages general agreement on how to proceed with the constitution at a summit concluding the German presidency in June 2007.

This would be followed by concrete steps, such as ratification, in 2008, so that the constitution would come into force before the 2009 European elections.

Mentality change

Ms Merkel also said Germany planned to emphasise job creation, and increasing economic competitiveness as well as a "change in mentality" to reduce bureaucracy.

It was important to introduce more competition into Europe's energy markets, and to "integrate the issue of energy into our foreign policy".

Her comments came a day after she held talks focusing on energy with Russian President Vladimir Putin.






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