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EU To Decide On Constitution By 2008


http://gdb.rferl.org/AC8CFA18-20A8-4EFF-9478-7105C208CE9C_w203.jpg --> http://gdb.rferl.org/AC8CFA18-20A8-4EFF-9478-7105C208CE9C_mw800_mh600.jpg German Chancellor Angela Merkel , Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair (left to right) chat at the start of the meeting in Brussels on June 16 (epa) June 16, 2006 -- European Union leaders today formally agreed to decide by 2008 what to do about the bloc's stalled constitution, which was rejected  by French and Dutch voters last year.

The final declaration of a two-day summit in Brussels says the EU presidency will produce a report in 2007 on the state of the constitutional-reform process.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair welcomed the agreement, saying: "I think this allows us now to really get on with the things that the citizens of Europe are really concerned about. And it gives us the chance also, of course, to consider what rules are appropriate in a union of 25 [countries] and, in the time to come, 27, and possibly even more."

EU leaders today also backed bids by Romania and Bulgaria to join the bloc next year, provided they both speed up reforms.

They also endorsed an emergency 100 million euro ($126 million) international aid package for the Palestinians. The aid disbursements would bypass the government led by the militant group Hamas.

Many international donors have frozen funds to the Palestinian Authority until Hamas renounces violence and recognizes Israel's right to exist.

(compiled from agency reports)
EU Expands Eastward



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