[JURIST] British EU Minister Geoff Hoon [official website] said Sunday that the term "constitution" may be to blame for the slow progress of an official set of EU operating rules. Speaking to ITV, Hoon said "It seems to me much better, instead of talking about details of alleged constitutions, that we actually concentrate on what the European Union does for its citizens and make sure that that is the debate we have." The minister cited the term's overuse as a large reason for the rejection [JURIST report] of an European Constitution [JURIST news archive] by France and the Netherlands in 2005. Britain favors the adoption of a more simple term and a simpler document, such as the treaty proposed [JURIST report] by French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy [official profile, in French]. Other European leaders have similarly blamed terminology some for the troubles encountered by the proposed European charter; in October European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso suggested in a speech delivered in the UK that a different name be used to enact the proposed institutional reforms, echoing a similar notion advanced last May by EU foreign ministers [JURIST report].
The originally proposed constitution provides for a simpler voting system, a longer term for EU president country, and the appointment of a foreign minister to deal with the newly enlarged union. EU leaders are meeting in Brussels later this week but the revision of the constitution is not slated for discussion. Reuters has more.