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Germany

Schröder Defends EU Constitution Draft

The chance must not be "gambled away," Chancellor Gerhard Schröder appealed to members of the Bundestag's parliamentary committee on European Union affairs during a special session on Monday to discuss the draft EU constitution. Schröder called for debate about the current draft to be completed in time for it to be passed in December at the next EU summit in Rome. "It allows the enormous chance to make Europe -- divided for so long as a result of Fascism and World War II -- into a place that jointly allows the possibility of peaceful development for the good of Europe's people on a continuing basis," Schröder said. He acknowledged that Germany would also have appreciated changes to the draft, but he stressed that it would be too difficult to reconcile all the issues that would arise if the draft was tampered with now. The majority of the Bundestag committee supports the current draft. Only the opposition Christian Democrats have called for changes, including mentioning God in the future constitution. Schröder has categorically refused the suggestion. Both chambers of Germany's parliament, the Bundestag and the Bundesrat, must approve of the draft constitution for Germany to be a party to it.