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Chirac Urges EU Authorities to Make New Start after Defeat of Constitution


French President Jacques Chirac has urged the European Union to make a new start following last year's rejection of the grouping's draft constitution by French and Dutch voters.

The French leader told foreign ambassadors gathered at the Elysee Palace the union must act to deal with the inertia that overtook it after the votes.

Mr. Chirac said to face up to world problems, the union must become more democratic, more effective and more transparent. He called for better cooperation in such areas as justice, security and defense, and he urged a bigger say for national parliaments in EU decision-making.

Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency, told reporters Monday he will try to revive the constitution. But he said EU officials must first address the concerns Europeans have about the document.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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