Sunday, May 29, 2005

Goodbye EU?

French voters decisively rejected the proposed EU Constitution today by a 57-43 margin. This doesn't mean the EU is dead, but it does probably mean that the EU Constitution, which was a treaty intended to push Europe into an "ever closer Union" is probably dead, at least in its current incarnation.

We haven't blogged much about the EU here, but I would only say that this result, while it may be a bad thing for President Chirac and maybe the EU's short-term prospects, might end up being a healthy thing for the EU project. Up to now, the EU has been a strange amalgamation of an international organization and a budding superstate, with very little direct democratic input. This vote was one of the first attempts to put the EU on a more solid democratic footing. The EU Constitution was mailed to every French voter. Even Paris Metro riders were spotted reading their copies on the way to work. This result is probably a useful wake-up call that will help ensure that any future strengthening of the EU will stand on solid democratic footing.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Julian that the underlying problem here has been that no one ever quite decided who was trying to achieve what and why. If, as I rather suspect, that now happens -- slowly, messily, but in a way that achives widespread political support from the affected constituencies -- then in the long run today's result may actually be seen as the birthday of the oft-proclaimed "New Europe."
Eric M. Freedman
Hofstra Law School

5/29/2005 8:04 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Generally, I agree. But I think it is also a warning shot as to the real strength of France's mass delusion. The common wisdom is that the majority of the 'non' was informed by fears that this would be a less 'social' Europe - which bodes very ill for the survival of France's economy and (quite young, less than 50 years old) fifth republique.

Not to mention a healthy dose of racism.

Of course, with any luck, it might just be a desire for more representation, such as Euro reps by region, which would be good. But I wouldn't bet on it.

5/29/2005 8:06 PM  
Blogger KA said...

I take heart in the irrepressible Mark Steyn's one-line take on the referendum:

"Commies, Fascists, racists, eco-nutters, union thugs, subsidised farmers, middle-aged "students", Trotskyite professors and welfare spongers win one for the, er, good guys."

Kenneth Anderson

5/30/2005 4:56 PM  
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