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Europe

Incoming Spanish PM Hints U-Turn on EU Constitution

The new Socialist-led government in Spain has indicated an immediate softening of Madrid's tough stance on the draft European constitution.

The new Socialist-led government in Spain has indicated an immediate softening of Madrid's tough stance on the draft European constitution. Speaking on Monday to the radio station Cadena Ser, prime minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said he wants to "speed up" negotiations on the constitution. Zapatero said he believes Europe can quickly come to an agreement on a "sensible power balance" for the enlarged EU. Describing the Europe Union as the natural platform for Spanish foreign policy, Zapatero signaled a dramatic shift in policy from the Aznar administration, which was voted out of power on Sunday. For the past six months, Spain, along with Poland, has been holding out against a proposed new system of voting weights in the constitution. Negotiations over the draft text collapsed in December. The new system proposes that decisions be taken on the basis of a double majority of both EU population (60 percent) and member states (50 percent) - and would leave both Madrid and Warsaw relatively less better off than they are now. ( EUobserver.com)