Postpone EU ratification – Persson

The 2006 ratification deadline for the European constitution should be postponed since reaching an EU-wide agreement on the treaty by that time appears virtually impossible, Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson said on Tuesday.

“The deadline for ratification should be pushed back. It is virtually ruled out that the current treaty can be ratified by (November) 2006,” he told the Swedish parliamentary EU committee, according to the TT news agency.

And the EU should not immediately set a new deadline, since such a move is “neither necessary nor feasible”, Persson said.

The ratification process was thrown into turmoil when French and Dutch voters recently rejected the treaty in referendums and Britain said it would put its planned vote on ice.

If the EU summit this week fails to shed more light on how member states should proceed with the ratification process, Sweden could also push back its planned parliamentary ratification of the charter, scheduled for December.