Relaymedia

Delegates Negotiate on Including Reference to Christian Heritage in the EU

( [email protected] ) May 27, 2004 08:08 AM EDT

Inserting a new reference regarding Christian heritage into the new EU Constitution is still on hot debate across Europe. The 25 EU foreign ministers gathered for a new session of negotiations on the EU Constitution in Brussels, Belgium.

France expressed objection to including a new reference to Christian heritage in the EU Constitution. The French Foreign Minister, Michel Barnier said, "I think the text as it stands, is a balanced one. The text already includes a mention to heritage."

The current text says that the EU draws, "inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe" and doesn't have further mention on Christianity.

France, so far in negotiations, has been rejecting the Christian reference in the Constitution along with Belgium, while Italy and Poland are among countries that are for the new reference.

Foreign ministers from Poland, Italy, Portugal, Lithuania, Malta, Slovakia and the Czech Republic proposed "further attention to be given to a reference to the Christian roots of Europe," at an EU meeting to overcome differences on the constitution.

The statement that they announced states, "The amendment we ask for is aimed to recognize an historical truth... We do not want to disregard neither the secular nature (of the EU) ... nor the respect of any other religious or philosophical belief."

The opinion about inserting Christian heritage in the European Union constitution has been divided among countries since negotiations on the constitution began in early 2002.

The final decision regarding a reference to Christian Heritage should be made by the June 17-18 Summit of government leaders.