Source: EU Business.com
Wire Service: AFP
On June 20, 2004 Agence France-Presse reported, "Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern stressed on Sunday that leaders of the 28 current and future EU members agreed to include in the preamble that they 'drew their inspiration from the religious inheritance of Europe'. Ahern was responding to a communique by the Vatican saying it regretted that the EU's Christian roots had not been mentioned. 'The vast majority of those religions are based on a belief in God,' Ahern said in a statement. Ireland holds the revolving six-month presidency of the EU and Ahern chaired Friday's meeting that gave the go-ahead for the historic constitution. 'I was particularly pleased that in concluding agreement on the new Constitution, the Irish presidency managed to maintain Article I-51 intact,' [Ahern said.] 'This Article confirms that the Union will respect the status of Churches and that it will maintain an open dialogue with them. Senior leaders of many churches have stressed the importance to them of the inclusion of this provision in the Constitution.'"