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The Content section will provide news, quotes and background materials refering to the topic of the EU Constitution. The time-table will give you an overview about the current status concerning the referendums on the Constitution.


No sound of Europe

Finland's Prime minister Vanhanen with Austrian chancellor Schuessel at the conference

At the end of January Austria invited EU leaders to a big, big conference. The “Sound of Europe” conference –where unfortunately the sound of the video link to EU citizens didn’t work. But anyway: “What is the sound of Europe today” asked Margot Wallstroem. “Is it the sweet music of players in perfect harmony? Or the discordant noise of uncoordinated instruments? Would Mozart like it, if he were here?” Maybe it is just a clear no, but that still needs to be interpreted.

EU leaders –at least those who came- talked about a “Europe of projects” (Dominique de Villepin) or either a “Europe of results” (Jose Barroso), but apart from flowery quotes there hadn’t been much output. Alfred Gusenbauer, leader of the Austrian Social Democratic Party called the event “elitist” and “absurd theatre”. Former Danish Prime Minister and MEP Poul Nyrup Rasmussen said he was “unimpressed by the Mozart jolly. The sound of Europe should be the voices of its citizens. It was ordinary citizens who vote no to the constitution, and it is ordinary citizens that Europe should be listening to”.

But listening to ordinary citizens can be so frustrating when you want to make perfect politics. The Financial Times reports that EU leaders are frustrated by “clunky decision making” and that they will push for a slimmed down treaty in 2008.

“The Austrian EU presidency is preparing the ground” said president Heinz Fischer. He already plans an EU-wide referendum.

Finland will be next in line. Finnish EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn has said that Finland should ratifiy the EU Constitution before the country’s EU presidency starts. But Matti Vanhanen, Finish Prime Minister doesn’t want to ratify the treaty before the elections in France and Netherlands. As former Convention member he is in favour of the text, but he doesn’t want to start debates again that could unlace the treaty. So he waits for the German presidency to start. Germany’s big coalition already determined they want to support the EU Constitution and Angela Merkel is still keen on adopting the treaty, maybe with a little extra part. Le Monde reports that the French and the German will rescue the treaty.

eu observer
die presse
financial times deutschland