Euroconstitution Still Mum on Religion

Final Talks Loom on Document

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BRUSSELS, Belgium, JUNE 14, 2004 ( The latest draft of the Constitutional Treaty of the European Union still does not mention God or the continent’s Christian roots.

This was confirmed in the text distributed by the Irish presidency on Sunday, to prepare this week’s last negotiations on the document.

The preamble keeps the wording «drawing inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe.»

«Dublin’s decision to keep the text free from any specific religious references follows strong pressure from Belgium, in particular, but also France,» reported.

«Both countries are secular states and argue that a separate article in the Constitution establishing the status and role of churches is enough,» it adds.

The decision will be a blow for countries such as Poland and Italy, which along with five other member states, recently sent a letter to the presidency on the issue.

«This issue remains a priority for our governments, but also for many representatives of the European Parliament and of national Parliaments, as well as for millions of European citizens,» the letter stated last month.

Referring to the document, an Irish diplomat said on Sunday that «we don’t believe it will be possible to get a consensus on the issue; that is why we haven’t proposed anything.»

The diplomat did not rule out that the issue will be left to EU leaders to deal with at the end of the week.

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