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BERLIN - German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has spoken out in favor of a referendum in his country on a European constitution, in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
"I hope that we have a real European constitution and that there will also be a referendum on it," Westerwelle, whose small liberal FDP party is a member of the ruling coalition, told the Sunday newspaper.
Other top political figures have also backed this idea, including Bavarian state premier Horst Seehofer, who heads the CSU sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats.
He told the Welt am Sonntag that he saw "three areas where one must ask the German people about it."
He cited a transfer of essential powers to Brussels; the accession of new states to the European Union; and German financial aid to other countries.
In June, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble also spoke favorably of a referendum on revising the German constitution to allow for the transfer of more responsibilities to Brussels.
But back in November Merkel rejected the idea of a referendum in Germany on European policy.
German law calls for a referendum on the national level only in extreme circumstances such as redrawing borders or adopting a new fundamental law.
The reluctance to hold national referendums is due to the historical legacy of Germany's Nazis who used plebiscites to consolidate their power.