Europe needs a simple treaty, says PM

Europe does not need a constitution but a new, simple treaty to fill in the gaps in existing treaties, Dutch prime minister Jan Pieter Balkenende said on Thursday. ‘The European constitution is not the answer. The citizens’ rejection of it in the French and Dutch referenda was crystal clear,’ Balkenende said.

Balkenende, speaking in Eindhoven, said the new treaty must be really different. ‘The new text should simply change and supplement the current treaties where needed. In many fields the national level is and remains the most important level. But in other areas a Europe-wide approach is much more effective.
‘Even many people who said ‘no’ to the treaty agree that it included useful elements,’ he said. ‘Our task is to use the good elements in a new treaty, improve them where necessary, and get rid of the elements that led to the rejection of the constitutional treaty.’
These remarks, made in English, were directed at European Commission chairman José Manuel Barroso, who is visiting the Netherlands today, news agency ANP said.
Earlier this week Barroso said the Netherlands, which convincingly rejected an EU constitution in a referendum two years ago, had to work towards finding a solution for the impasse.

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