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Martes, 20 de abril de 2004 - 11:57 GMT
Europa: el giro de Blair
Tony Blair
Blair announced a referendum on the new EU constitution.

The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has announced that his government will hold a referendum on the new European Union (EU) constitution.

The EU member states are working towards finishing the constitution by June and until now the British government has been resisting calls for a referendum.

This report from Jon Devitt:

Agreeing to a referendum would mark a complete u-turn in government policy. Until now, ministers have been arguing that the constitution does not make the fundamental changes which would warrant a referendum and that it could simply be ratified by parliament. This has been the procedure in the past with major EU treaties, such as the single European act in 1987 and the Maastricht Treaty in 1992.

But opponents argue that the constitution by its very name is different. They say it's likely to compromise Britain's sovereignty. The strongest opposition has been from the Conservative party, although a significant group within the governing Labour party are sceptical too. There is, though, a broader coalition in favour of a referendum, including some who support the constitution. The third party, the Liberal Democrats for example, believe a nationwide vote would be the best way to make the pro-European argument.

The government will clearly have a struggle on its hands to win over an argument which has been dominated by a Euro-sceptic press and they wouldn't want to lose a referendum shortly before a general election which is expected in a year's time.

Jon Devitt, BBC, London

a referendum
una votación en la que se pregunta a todos los ciudadanos con derecho a voto de un país si están de acuerdo con una política particular

a complete u-turn
abandonar una política previa y adoptar la contraria

warrant a referendum
hacer que un referendo parezca necesario, justificarlo

by its very name
en este caso se refiere al hecho de que una Constitución es por definición un sistema de leyes fundamentales, que expone formalmente los derechos y deberes de los ciudadanos

in favour of
que apoya

a nationwide vote
otra forma de decir "un referendo"

have a struggle on its hands
si tienes un problema en las manos, lo tienes que resolver

win over
en este caso, persuadir a la gente a apoyar su política



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