Richard North, 14/06/2005  

Commission vice-president Guenter Verheugen has told Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung that the EU needs more time to consider how to proceed and would have to accept a delay in introducing the institutional reforms. "The original goal of bringing the constitution into force in 2007 cannot be reached anymore," he said.

"It would be quite wrong to impose tight time limits at this point. A whole series of countries simply need more time for discussion to restore public trust in Europe."

Verheugen said he was worried by the widespread mood of disillusionment in EU. "The mood has changed everywhere where referendums are planned," he said. "Something really fundamental has happened. A feeling of discontent that has been building up for a long time has spilled over."

"This crisis touches on something quite fundamental," Verheugen added. "We have to see leadership. At the moment, I have the feeling that the ground is shaking beneath our feet."

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