Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist
30 May 2005
Filed under:Current affairs (Europe) at12:11 pm

My (French) wife turned out yesterday to vote for the European constitution but in vain. I can understand the French nationalists opposing it for similar reasons to those of our own anti-Europeans, but the idea among the Left that the constutition should be renegotiated to include more of a “social dimension” is just wishful thinking, and the idea promoted by old Left unions and right wing politicians that we should shut out the workers of the nations of central and Eastern Europe to protect our own jobs is both immoral and wrong-headed. Of course, it goes without saying that voting against the constitution to spite Chirac is equally misguided (since all major parties agree that the constitution should have gone ahead).

The constitution has plenty of weaknesses but if renegotiations did take place and in the unlikely event the result did pull the constitution further in a ‘social’ direction, it would be even less likely to be passed in Britain.

I can’t put things much better than the Guardian’s recent editorial:

For all the anger about liberal Anglo-Saxon economics, the text does not include economic prescriptions that are any different from those in the Treaty of Rome in 1957… the text does improve on the botched Nice treaty and delivers significant improvements to the EU’s rickety institutions. It certainly makes more sense to have a full-time president of the EU, to give it strategic direction and continuity, than to go on with the musical chairs system … It is a good idea to have a foreign minister to boost Europe’s faltering global role. It makes sense to reduce the use of national vetoes to avoid gridlock, to slim down the European commission to streamline delivery and to give more powers to the European parliament. It is good to have a charter of rights.

All of the above seems now likely to be lost or delayed or weakened.

1 Comment »


    Hello, I’m french and I voted no. Because I read parts of the text and from that found a very low quality text. pff.

    But yes, France is suffering this time. We have a strong faschist ground, awakening ?
    In Millau (Aveyron), you have :
    – La police
    – La gendarmerie
    – La police municipale
    – et la BAC = Anti-Criminal Brigad
    And they rode, control, molest the population. Not only delinquants. BUt all people who move during the night.
    Some persons spend the whole night naked in the police station. Precarized people live in fear.
    At 22h00, nobody in the streets. Abusive controls, harassments.
    The BAC has the right to dispose of your person at any time for an unknown reason.
    Then they liberate you at dawn saying “it was a mistake”.
    Sarkozy is behind that, he has more quality than the other french politicians.
    June 2005 : Sarkozy makes ubuesques declarations, like an immature pet.
    A mix of libreal, clanic, and real capacity to listen.
    Authoritary and open. A Kurd friend told me that the situation of the paperless people was bettered since he arrived.
    But Repression is here.
    And miser in the streets of Paris, people who die in the street, unsane habitations.
    And no more money for music, painting, dance.
    At ten, any person walking with 0,5 g of alcohol can spend the night with them.
    Bad for night business (alcohol).

    From my side, I prepare an web application to collective development of a constitution : new-constitution.org, probably ready in summer 2005.

    I’m happy we voted NO : Stop a mediocratic and dishonest text.
    Read article 112 : the articles of part I are subordinated to part III
    We have the possibility to live in a much clever way. Stop the trucks, come back to more local agriculture, offer ourselves domains managed collectively. Free transport, education, justice, right to have a decent environment, base the constitution on respect of all living beings : Respect of human AND his environment.
    We also need a clear description of priorities between principle. Base the systems on human and environmental principles.
    And declare that this principles are prioritary to the financial power.

    That’s a big work to write a constitution, people work on it.

    But the french NO was multiple.

    Comment by tigraff — 26 June 2005 @ 4:46 am

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