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Slovakia, Austria, Ratify EU Constitution

Austrian parliamentarians stand up as they vote for the European Constitution
Austria's parliament has overwhelmingly ratified the European Union constitution, with only one legislator voting against the proposed text.

Before Wednesday's vote, Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel asked legislators to vote for what he called a peaceful, social and democratic Europe.

Almost all of Austria's political leaders support the constitution which, among other things, aims at simplifying EU decision-making and provides the union with a foreign minister and a president.

In Slovakia, legislators also ratified the constitution by an overwhelming majority on Wednesday.

The German parliament is expected to do the same this week while France will hold a referendum on May 29.

A handful of countries have now ratified the constitution, which requires approval by all 25 EU member states for it to take effect.

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