Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

PM Seeks to Block Deal on EU Constitution

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

PM Seeks to Block Deal on EU Constitution

Article excerpt

Byline: BEN LEAPMAN

THE Prime Minister will seek to delay a deal on a new European Union constitution when he meets his French and German counterparts in Berlin next week.

Mr Blair believes little progress is likely until after the European elections in June following the blocking of an agreement by Spain and Poland in December.

France and Germany yesterday made a joint call for a deal before the summer.

But French President Jacques Chirac said he did not want one "at any cost".

British ministers are confident he will be happy to see the issue postponed.

Mr Blair will meet German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder for dinner this week in an attempt to thrash out differences.

The EU needs a new constitution to establish the voting rights of different countries after 10 new members, mostly in eastern Europe, join in the spring.

An agreement brokered in Nice two years ago would have given the four biggest countries - Britain, France, Germany and Italy - 29 votes each, with 27 for Spain and Poland. …

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