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Space launch for EU constitution

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Space launch for EU constitution

With its future on earth still undecided, the EU Constitution is to be sent into space - carried by cosmonauts to the International Space Station.

A gold-bound copy of the document will go into orbit with a Russian rocket taking off from Kazakhstan in April.

EU leaders hope the trip will help raise the profile of the treaty, after a poll found nine out of 10 EU citizens know little or nothing about it.

British Eurosceptic party UKIP said outer space was the best place for it.

The new constitution, approved by the EU in December, faces referendums in at least 10 countries, including the UK, Ireland, Portugal and Spain.

'Identity symbol'

The treaty must be ratified by every one of the 25 EU member states - by referendum or parliamentary vote - if it is legally to take effect.

EU industry commissioner Guenter Verheugen handed over the bound copy in Brussels to French astronaut Michel Tognini, who will pass it on to Italian Roberto Vittori for his trip to the International Space Station on a Russian Soyuz rocket.

Mr Verheugen said he hoped it would be a "symbol of European identity" as it travelled around the globe.

Commission spokesman Gregor Kreuzheuber said: "This will make it one of the world's most tested constitutions - not just politically but physically."

But UKIP spokesman Mark Croucher told the BBC the move was just a publicity stunt.

"We are completely in agreement with the European Commission that the far reaches of outer space are the best place for the European constitution," he said.

"I only wish there was more space on the craft that will take them into orbit, so all the copies could go."

Story from BBC NEWS:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/worl...ope/4258255.stm

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