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Spain becomes first EU country to say 'Yes' to European constitution

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  • Spain becomes first EU country to say 'Yes' to European constitution

    Spain has become the first European Union (news - web sites) country to agree to the new European constitution in a referendum held Sunday that Spanish and European officials hoped would show the way for other countries with polls to come.

    Figures released by the interior ministry showed the Europhile Spaniards had said a resounding "Yes" to the EU text, with nearly four in five of those casting ballots voting in favour.

    Just over 42 percent of the electorate turned out to vote.

    "Our vote is a message to our fellow EU citizens who were awaiting our decision. Today Europe won, the EU constitution won, Spain won," Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said, inviting neighbouring EU states "to follow Spain's path."

    His optimism was shared by fellow countryman Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy chief and one of the 25-nation bloc's top officials.

    "I am convinced that the results in Spain will have a positive impact in consultations that will take place in other EU member states in the coming months," Solana said.

    In theory all 25 states have to back the text, designed to streamline decision-making in the expanding European Union, before it can come into effect.

    Ten EU countries, including Spain and nations with strong euroskeptic camps like Britain, Poland and the Czech Republic, have decided to put the constitution to a popular vote.

    The remaining 15 member states of the bloc, including the largest nation, Germany, have preferred parliamentary ratification.
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