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Luxembourg sticks to July 10 referendum on EU Constitution
www.chinaview.cn 2005-06-21 06:08:59

    ĦĦBRUSSELS, June 20 (Xinhuanet) -- Luxembourg parliament on Monday agreed to stick to the original plan of holding a referendum on the EU constitution on July 10 despite a decision by EU summit to extend the ratification deadline to no fixed date.

    "All the groups, all the parties represented in parliament, areunanimous in the opinion to continue a referendum to ask the Luxembourgers to vote on July 10 about the treaty," Henri Grethen,floor leader of the Democratic Party was quoted as saying.

    The vote could prove a gamble for Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who overwhelmingly supports the EU charter and has said he will resign if voters reject the charter.

    Following the French and Dutch "no" on the EU charter, a surveyof June 9 showed that opposition to the treaty had risen to 45 percent in Luxembourg from 41 percent in May, while support declined to 55 percent from 59 percent.

    An EU summit last week agreed to extend the deadline for the ratification process from November 2006 to no fixed date. However,Juncker, who chaired the summit as Luxembourg is holding the current EU presidency, the deadline would be postpone until at least mid-2007.

    Denmark, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Ireland decided at the summit to postpone planned referendums in their countries where support for the treaty has also slumped in the wake of the "No" votes in France and the Netherlands.

    On Monday, Polish Prime Minister Marek Belka said parliament should quickly ratify the treaty, the clearest sign yet that Poland may also drop plans for a vote.

    The Grand Duchy -- the richest EU member state per capita -- owes much of its prosperity to being the seat of several of the bloc's institutions including the European Court of Justice, the EU statistics office and part of the European Parliament staff.

    Ten countries representing almost half the EU population have endorsed the treaty -- Lithuania, Hungary, Slovenia, Spain, Italy,Greece, Slovakia,Austria, Germany and Latvia. The German ratification still awaits the president's signature.

    Only one of them, Spain, approved it by referendum. Enditem

    

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