Beginning in 2006, Austria will preside over the European Union after the super-European Luxembourg and the Euro-skeptical British. Austria will face a commitment and it will not try to impose its national interests; it will serve Europe. But it could not be achieved with super-Europeanisms or national vetoes but with constructive initiatives and a sustainable consensus. The cards are on the table; only political willingness is necessary. I am absolutely convinced that the Constitution is good; otherwise, I would have not participated for years in its preparation. I hope all countries will approve it. However, it is clear that the initial - and also ignored - proposal of organizing a general referendum in Europe would have been something intelligent to do. There is no sense in making speculations. I hope France will vote for this Constitution as it contains more social elements than previous ones, a lighter institutional body and clearer voting methods with a doubled majority. That is what the French wanted.

Many of their arguments have nothing to do with the Constitution: unemployment, guidelines about services. All those problems are the result of the current legal structure. This new treaty should be approved instead of speculating about its terrible consequences. The Austrian Parliament has ratified the Constitution although Jörg Haider had demanded a referendum and had asked the presidents of the different regions not to sign the law. We have all won the votes in Parliament. Those who worry about the stability of the government of national unity to which they belong (BZÖ, Alliance for the Future of Austria) should concentrate more on our results than in the existing conflict. The referendum is not necessary as neutrality has been respected.

Source: Die Welt (Germany) Reference: “Ich halte die EU-Verfassung für gut”, by Wolfgang Schüssel, Die Welt, May 23, 2005. Text adapted from an interview. Only excerpts related to the European Constitution have been included.