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Europe

Spain Maintains Hardline on EU Constitution

Spain continues to talk tough on an EU constitution despite an apparent concession by Germany on the contested issue of voting weights.

Spain continues to talk tough on an EU constitution despite an apparent concession by Germany on the contested issue of voting weights. Spanish diplomats rejected a compromise proposal currently doing the rounds as a "non-starter," the Financial Times reported. The proposal suggests that decisions in the future could be made by 55 percent of member states representing 55 percent of the EU population. The compromise would mean that a the EU's biggest countries could not block a decision without the backing of other member states. But Spain maintains that the compromise does not go far enough because it does not allow Madrid, as a middle-sized country, to easily form a blocking minority of its own. Spain's unequivocal answer comes after Germany struck a more conciliatory note on the so-called double majority system. Chancellor Gerhard Schröder said while the principle of double majority should be kept, "we are open to proposals from the (EU) presidency that are based on this principle, and which would bring movement on this issue." Talks on the constitution collapsed last December over this very issue, which pitted Spain and Poland against Germany and France. (EUobserver.com)

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