|The British government has reaffirmed its commitment to changing certain elements of the draft European Constitution and will single out in a forthcoming white Paper due in September certain 'red line' issues that it is not willing to compromise on, most notably regarding tax harmonisation.
The President of the European Convention, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, has warned member states that the constitution will ultimately be doomed if national governments begin to pick away at the elements of the text that they do not like.
However, this is not likely to deflect the UK government from its intended path, and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has described the draft as "a good basis for negotiation." Meanwhile, a Whitehall source revealed to the Daily Telegraph last week that "there is no reason why we cannot keep the good bits and get rid of the bad bits."
Britain is certainly not alone in wanting certain aspects of the agreement to be altered or dropped. Ireland is known to be sensitive to the issue of extending the European justice system, whilst Sweden is one of a number of countries that share the UK's views on retaining the national veto on tax harmonisation.