Written Answers - EU Constitution.

Thursday, 29 June 2006

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 622 No. 31

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  42.  Mr. Hogan  Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan   asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern   the timeframe for the extension of the EU Constitution period of reflection; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25143/06]

  64.  Mr. Naughten  Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten   asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern   the most realistic timescale for the possible ratification of the EU Constitution, following the recent European Council meeting; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25131/06]

  79.  Mr. McGinley  Information on Dinny McGinley  Zoom on Dinny McGinley   asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern   the timeline for the ratification of the European Constitution throughout the European Union; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25121/06]

  118.  Mr. P. Breen  Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen   asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs  Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern   the position with regard to the proposal that a deadline for the ratification of the EU Constitution by all Member States be [1676]imposed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25145/06]

Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  I propose to take Questions Nos. 42, 64, 79 and 118 together.

The European Council on 15/16 June accepted that more time and further work are needed before firm decisions can be taken on the future of the EU Constitution, which has now been ratified by 15 Member States. The European Council expressed the hope that the ratification process will be completed.

There is no specific deadline for the ratification of the European Constitution, and I do not think that setting a strict deadline would be helpful. Clearly, the original target date of November 2006 for the entry into force of the Constitution will not now be met.

The European Council Conclusions envisage extensive consultations with Member States culminating in a Presidency report in the first half of 2007. The Council Conclusions mention 2008 as the date by which the necessary steps will have been taken to allow the process advance. This represents a shared commitment to take the necessary decisions by that time.

Ratification of the Constitution is a matter for each Member State. In Ireland, ratification will, of course, be by referendum. Following last year’s “No” votes in France and the Netherlands, the Government decided that no date would be set for the referendum until the overall situation becomes clearer at the European level.


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