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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 December, 2003, 12:44 GMT
Can an EU constitution be agreed?

European Union foreign ministers are meeting for two days in Naples to try to pave the way for an EU constitution.

But fierce divisions remain over issues such as control of foreign policy, the relative weight of various countries, and even the place of Christianity.

On Tuesday, the UK government signalled for the first time that it may reject a new European Union constitution.

It hinted that it is ready to veto the idea unless it gets its way on issues like tax, social security and defence.

Can an EU-wide constitution be agreed? Is the UK right to use its veto powers?


The following comments reflect the balance of views we have received:

This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

Your reaction:

If the veto is removed it proves without doubt that the EU is aiming to be a superstate
Mike Hall, UK
If as we are led to believe the EU is an association of Sovereign states then a veto must be in place to protect that very sovereignty. If the veto is removed it proves without doubt that the EU is aiming to be a superstate and constituent parts like the UK becoming a simple province without meaning or influence. But as long as Blair makes EU President why would he care an EU standard fig?
Mike Hall, UK

Since we the people seem to have no way of electing/ de-selecting any of the Euro Ministers why commit ourselves to a foreign government
David Gameson, United Kingdom

I believe that if there is any one continent that is capable reaching such a significant change it is the EU. History shows the willingness of European countries to make advancements in international issues. And yes the UK has its own right to veto any agreement reached if it does not agree with it however this should be based on internal interests of the UK and not transatlantic issues (defence).
Victor, Australia

A simple answer. Hold a referendum on whether we stay in the EU, accept the constitution as written, etc or pull out completely. One way or another the issue is sorted out.
Kev, UK

There are some serious human rights and racial issues starting to crop up in parts of the EU
Jasper, Wales
All Europeans need to think seriously about what an EU Constitution would mean before voting on or for it. There are some serious human rights and racial issues starting to crop up in parts of the EU. Bringing more countries in and attempting to unify the EU further with a Constitution only throws a blanket over a growing pile of problems. Deal with the problems first. When all member countries are on a more level playing field, then and only then should there be a vote on any kind of Constitution.
Jasper, Wales

No! It cannot be agreed The amount of movement required by UK would be enough to trigger civil unrest if it was attempted. Why don't the politicians listen to the grass roots of the country? Such action could see the most right-wing government in over a hundred years swept to power.
Stan Cooper, UK

The UK should veto. Otherwise, it won't be long before 10 Downing begins to take its marching orders from Paris or Berlin. As an economic alliance, the EU might have been beneficial (and still can be). However, the EU's expansion into other areas infringes upon the national sovereignty of the United Kingdom.
Shawn, United States

I don't think so and I sincerely hope, my former birthplace and home, the UK remains a separate and complete sovereign nation. The UK has no greater and closer ally than the USA. It's clear the French and Germans have a "do as we say not as we do" mentality and have an opposing agenda to the US as we've seen in the last year or two. Blair is wrong if he does not call a referendum - I get the feeling the majority would be to leave the EU.
Tony Martin, USA

I think it is time that the UK decided whether it is part of Europe or not. Talk to your average Brit and they will always refer to Europe as foreign countries. This has nothing to do with geography - the only reason that they prefer to be more associated with the USA is simply because they do not trust anyone who speaks a different language than their own. This kind of simplistic sectarianism has got to be seen for what it is; anti - European.
Tom Stephens, Spain

I do not think that EU constitution will be agreed, Because some countries in the Union especially UK, seem to reject a new EU constitution.
Erdem ÖZLÜK, Turkey

The EU has interfered with our affairs long enough
Ed Morrison, United Kingdom
The EU has interfered with our affairs long enough. It's time to pull out of this bureaucratic, unnecessary and expensive organisation and leave. I agree that it is just a means for France and Germany to gain some sort of power in the world, and send out a false picture of their 'influence.' Some influence they had over the Iraq War!
Ed Morrison, United Kingdom

It's interesting how two of the biggest proponents of the Euro - France and Germany - are quite prepared to break its rules when it suits them, any yet seemed quite happy to force Italy to toe the line when it had difficulties. Does this mean that a European Constitution will only be honoured when it suits member nations?
Jamie, UK

For the government to claim there is no need for a referendum on this issue is absurd. Our European "partners" are all having votes. Could it be that Tony thinks he'd lose a vote? Surely not!
Mark, England

That's the problem, nothing gets agreed, nothing really gets done. There to much horse trading. We should either merge together like the United States so the petty bickering is stamped out or we completely break the union up. This half way house is costly and pointless.
Steve, England

Strange thing is, even the supporters of the EU don't seem to be supporting it because they like it, they support it because it's 'going to happen anyway' or because they think we are controlled by the USA. Both poor arguments for signing away part of British sovereignty.
Dave, UK

If the stability and growth pact and the Constitution have been such a dog's dinner until now, why were they ever voted into effect? The time to rubbish the original constitution was before it was adopted, not years afterwards! If European politicians were leading us up the garden path then, who is to say they have stopped doing so now?
Relton, Denmark

Once again a common consensus by mature and consenting partners is abandoned in favour of draconian intransigent 'rules'. Why bother? The EU experiment has failed, killed by extremists.
Anon, UK

Unions, alliances, even nations can only be held together by substance, not words.
Alister M, Great Britain

Could we stand back and look? We can not close our eyes and ignore Europe, of which we are part. However, the ramblings of a 'vacant' and dispute group have no significant benefit for these Isles. There needs to be a common currency, so introduce the Euro along side of the pound and become a virtual European.
Brian C, England




SEE ALSO:
EU nations set for thorny debate
28 Nov 03  |  Europe
UK 'could veto EU constitution'
25 Nov 03  |  Politics
Blair and Chirac defend EU force
24 Nov 03  |  Politics


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