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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

German, Polish Leaders Urge French to Vote for EU Treaty

NANCY, France -- The leaders of France, Germany and Poland joined forces Thursday to save the European Union's embattled constitution, meeting in eastern France less than two weeks before the widely watched French referendum.

French President Jacques Chirac hoped his meeting with German Chancellor Gerhard Schr?der and Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski would send a message of European strength and unity to skeptical voters, his office said.

The meeting, the sixth summit of the so-called Weimar Triangle, had previously been planned to discuss a range of EU issues. But the May 29 referendum in France was expected to outweigh other concerns.

Polls have consistently shown that France is split down the middle over how to vote in its referendum on whether to approve the treaty. Among voter concerns are fears that the enlarged EU will hurt France's economy, its job market and French influence on the international stage.

Together, the three leaders hope to convince voters that a larger Europe will bring greater prosperity and economic dynamism to the 25-nation bloc, Chirac's office said. The prospect of a French "no" in the referendum has sent shock waves through the bloc. All 25 EU countries must ratify the constitution for it to take effect.

As voting day approaches, a steady stream of European leaders and officials have traveled to France to support Chirac's campaign for a "yes." Schr?der stood beside Chirac in Paris last month to urge the French to vote for the treaty.

The past four French polls showed that the "no" camp had a slight lead in public opinion, but the vote is considered too close to call.