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Spain PM backs Sarkozy call for limited EU constitutional treaty

[JURIST] Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero [BBC profile] and new French President Nicolas Sarkozy [official website; BBC profile] announced Wednesday that they both back proposals for a limited constitutional treaty [official report, in Spanish] that would amend the organization and powers of the European Union (EU). German Chancellor Angel Merkel [official website], whose government currently holds the six-month EU rotating presidency [German presidency website], has pressed for adoption of a broader European constitution [JURIST report] ahead of an EU summit scheduled for June 21-22. Under the "simplified" treaty backed by Spain and France, a president and foreign minister would oversee the 27-country organization. In addition, veto rights in some areas, including immigration policies, would be eliminated.

Plans for a European constitution have largely stalled since referendum setbacks in France and the Netherlands [JURIST reports] in 2005. Germany has made reviving the constitution a key part of its presidency, but its six month tenure expires at the end of June. Sarkozy has called for a simplified, shortened treaty instead of the longer more comprehensive agreement originally envisioned. Last week, Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi [official profile] said that the European Union should avoid any radical changes to the draft European Constitution [JURIST news archive], and instead proposed the idea of a "two-speed" Europe [JURIST report], in which some nations would not have to proceed with reforms as rapidly as others. Bloomberg has more.

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