[JURIST] Finland's parliament on Friday voted to approve the stalled European Constitution [official website; JURIST news archive], taking an initial step toward ratifying the constitution. Ratification will occur following the approval of the cabinet and a second formal vote in parliament and would make Finland the sixteenth European country to endorse the constitution. Finland will assume the EU presidency [official backgrounder] for six months beginning in July.
Although the document appeared to be dead after France and the Netherlands [JURIST reports] voted against it last spring, Estonia ratified the treaty [JURIST report] on Tuesday, and the remaining non-signatories may hold referendums in the near future. German Chancellor Angela Merkel [BBC profile] said again Thursday that when Germany takes over the EU presidency after Finland, she will focus her efforts on persuading holdout nations [JURIST reports to ratify the document. Reuters has more.