[JURIST] Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi [official website, in Italian; BBC profile] is calling for a renewed effort to pass the European constitution [official website; JURIST news archive] after next year's French elections. Prodi spoke in Vienna on Tuesday during a meeting with Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel [official website; Wikipedia profile] to kick off a tour of EU capitals. The constitution is on hold indefinitely after France and the Netherlands rejected it last year [JURIST reports]. Last month, German Chancellor Angela Merkel [official website, in German; BBC profile] said she plans to revive the constitution [JURIST report] when Germany takes over the EU presidency from in 2007. Austria, which holds the six-month EU presidency until the end of June when the role transfers to Finland, made reconsideration of the constitution one of its goals [JURIST report] during its term as the EU president.
Prodi also repeated a call by Austria that all former Yugoslav states have the opportunity to join the EU, saying EU engagement is critical to reaching a political solution in the Balkans. AFP has more.