[JURIST] European foreign ministers meeting in Austria [EU press release] Saturday held out little hope of substantial progress on ratifying the European Constitution [JURIST news archive] next year during Germany's six-month presidency of the European Council, notwithstanding German pledges to move the regional charter forward [JURIST report] if opportunity arises. Danish Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller [official profile] said the constitution could not be considered a dead document as 15 nations had so far ratified it, but that progress would have to await French and Dutch elections next spring. That would leave Germany very little time to do much before giving up its presidency to Portugal in June. Even at that, Dutch Foreign Bernard Bot [official profile] said that the Dutch would not change their minds after rejecting the current draft [JURIST report] last June.
At next month's European Council summit, EU leaders are expected to extend the ongoing "period of reflection" on the constitution through mid-2007. Earlier this week, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso suggested that the constitution should not be reconsidered until 2008 [AFP report]. Reuters has more.