Auteur: Honor Mahony
EUOBSERVER / NAPLES - The question about whether to include a reference to Europe's Christian heritage in the Constitution has left member states as divided as ever.
EU foreign ministers were once again unable to agree following a debate on the issue on Friday afternoon (28 November) in Naples as part of a wider meeting to discuss the EU Constitution.
And the failure to agree was despite a general suggestion, but no specific text, by the Italian EU Presidency that both a reference to Christian heritage as well as reference to Europe's secular institutions could be included in the Constitution.
Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini defended the idea by saying that there is "no contradiction between the two".
He said the majority of delegations had expressed their "appreciation" for the twin reference but a minority "haven't changed their stance very much" and that this minority had strong reservations.
At the moment the draft Constitution text speaks about "drawing inspiration from the cultural religious and humanist inheritance of Europe ...".
France and Belgium have traditionally objected most strongly to any reference to Christian heritage; they were joined on Friday by Denmark, Finland and Greece.
On the other hand countries such as Poland remain strongly in favour. Speaking to journalists, Polish foreign minister Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz expressed surprise that some countries are against.
He argued that when something is to be said about Europe then Christianity must also be mentioned.