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Debate on Referendum Heats up in Germany

Germany is still divided over whether to hold a referendum on the new EU Constitution. The leader of Bavaria is calling for citizens to have a say in the new treaty.

Edmund Stoiber, state premier and the leader of the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), has re-opened the debate in Germany by saying that there should be a referendum on the new EU Constitution, although Germany's own Constitution does not allow for this. "If France, following the UK, is now also going to have a referendum on the Constitution, then the third big country in the EU will not be able to hold out for much longer," Stoiber told Bild am Sonntag.

The government should "finally put aside their mistrust of their own citizens," he added. "It would be best if all heads of state and government of the European Union would fix a referendum on the Constitution."

However, Stoiber's words are at odds with other voices in the CSU's sister party the Christian Democrats Union. Peter Hintze, the spokesperson for Europe in the CDU, said a referendum would be the "wrong path." For his part, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has said there will be no referendum and instead pledged to see the Constitution ratified by German parliament before the end of this year. But Schröder is coming under pressure as some Social Democrats and Greens are also calling for a referendum. (EUobserver.com)

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