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EU Constitution: What's that?

THE SLOVAK public knows little about the European Constitutional treaty and discussion about it is insufficient, Peter Zsapka of the Centre for European Policy told the Hospodárske noviny daily.

Politicians do not feel a need to explain the treaty because it will be ratified by parliament and not put to public vote. However, opinion polls suggest that there is a growing public interest in having a referendum on the European Union Constitution.

Accession to the EU was accompanied by a massive information campaign in Slovakia but for the EU Constitution no such campaign is planned.

"The government will not allocate extra financial resources for an explanatory campaign as was right before and after EU accession," said Martin Urmanič, spokesman for Pál Csáky, the deputy prime minister for European Affairs.

However, the European Commission considers dialogue with citizens about the constitution important. The EC will organize a separate information campaign on that issue.

The cabinet wants to cooperate with non-governmental organizations on the issue. Csáky's spokesman thinks the text of the EU Constitution is too complicated and it would be difficult to explain its core messages.

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