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Nordgau
Monday, June 6th, 2005, 01:14 PM
Britain shelves plans for vote on EU constitution

Monday, June 6, 2005 Updated at 6:53 AM EDT

Associated Press

London —

Prime Minister Tony Blair's office confirmed Monday that Britain has put off a referendum on the European constitution, following its rejection in France and the Netherlands.

Mr. Blair's official spokesman said the results of the French and Dutch referendums had to be discussed at the European Council summit later this month.

“Given that, it does not make sense to proceed at this point,” said the spokesman.

He insisted that indefinitely shelving the referendum did not send a message that Britain thought the constitution was dead.

“What we are doing is reflecting the fact that we are in uncertain times, and in uncertain times you should not just give a knee-jerk response,” the spokesman said.

Confirmation of the government's decision came hours ahead of Foreign Secretary Jack Straw's statement to the House of Commons outlining the government's position.

French President Jacques Chirac and German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder have reaffirmed their commitment to the document and called on other member states to press ahead with ratification. Britain does not want to be seen publicly to be killing off the treaty by scrapping plans for a referendum, and Mr. Straw's statement is likely to stress the need for a period of reflection.

Poland's President Aleksander Kwasniewski was meeting Monday with a group of advisers to discuss whether his country should hold a referendum.


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