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Dutch Lawmakers Consider Aftermath of Defeat of EU Constitution

Dutch Foreign Minister Bernard Bot (l), Deputy Minister for European affairs Atzo Nicolai and  Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende (r)
Netherlands Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende says the overwhelming rejection of the European Union constitution by Dutch citizens was not a vote against Europe.

Mr. Balkenende called the vote an expression of fears about the entire EU reform process and urged leaders of other EU countries to pay attention to these issues.

He spoke as Dutch lawmakers considered the aftermath of the referendum in which voters Wednesday rejected the constitution, three days after voters in France also turned down the document. Meanwhile, the Dutch government withdrew its motion on ratifying the charter.

In Brussels, EU leaders expressed respect for the French and Dutch decisions, but urged member states not to give up on the proposed constitution.

All 25 EU members must ratify the pact before it takes effect. The document got an overwhelming "yes" vote in Latvia's parliament Thursday.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.

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