Written answers

Tuesday, 4 April 2006

Department of Foreign Affairs

EU Constitution

9:00 pm

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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Question 92: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs his strategy for the ratification of the EU constitution; if this is likely to entail a revision of the existing proposal, the existing proposals or a new constitution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13088/06]

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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Question 99: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs if, in view of the declaration by the Dutch Government that it does not intend to have another referendum on the EU constitution, he accepts that a new constitution will have to be drawn up before the EU can have an EU constitution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13090/06]

Photo of John GormleyJohn Gormley (Dublin South East, Green Party)
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Question 274: To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs if, in view of the declaration by the Dutch Government that it does not intend to have another referendum on the EU constitution, he accepts that a new constitution will have to be drawn up before the EU can have an EU constitution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13172/06]

Photo of Dermot AhernDermot Ahern (Minister, Department of Foreign Affairs; Louth, Fianna Fail)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 92, 99 and 274 together.

The period of reflection on the European constitution, which was initiated following the "No" votes in France and the Netherlands, is due for review at the June European Council. Foreign Ministers will prepare this review over the coming months and Ireland will be contributing actively to this work.

Most member states remain firmly committed to the EU constitution, which a majority have already ratified. The Government wants to see the constitution brought into force as soon as circumstances permit. We do not favour either its selective implementation or a renegotiation of the text. Agreement on the European constitution was arrived at following a long and complex set of negotiations. It is highly unlikely that another negotiation would produce a meaningfully different result which would be acceptable to all member states.

There is no doubt that the referendum results in France and the Netherlands have greatly complicated the ratification process and more time is required to sort out the issues raised by these developments. This is the purpose behind the current period of reflection on the constitution and the future of Europe, but it is still too early to draw conclusions on these issues. This means that there is at present little or no scope for pressing ahead with the ratification of the constitution. It is to be hoped that 2007 will bring new opportunities for progress towards the constitution's entry into force.

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