Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Sunday, 29 May 2005

France votes 'no' in its EU referendum

A couple of days ago I risked a forecast that the French would vote decisively in favour of ratifying the EU Constitutional Treaty. I was wrong.

According to the exit poll, just announced, 55 per cent rejected the constitution, and 45 per cent favoured ratification. This is likely to presage a political earthquake across Europe. I hope this particular effort at a constitutional treaty is now dead. One imagines the Dutch vote will go ahead on Wednesday; whether the same can be said of the one in the UK probably scheduled for sometime next year, who can say?

More later ...

UPDATE: (Monday 30MAY05 03.20 BST) A transcipt, in English, of President Chirac's address to the French people, reacting to the referendum result, is here.

2nd UPDATE: (Monday 30MAY05 13.45 BST) Here is the official transcript, in French, of Chirac's address to the French people last evening, on the Elysee Palace website:

"La France s'est démocratiquement exprimée. Vous avez majoritairement rejeté la Constitution européenne. C'est votre décision souveraine. J'en prends acte."

Fair enough, but he also says:

"Des processus de ratification sont en cours dans l'ensemble des pays de l'Union. Neuf pays se sont déjà prononcés pour le oui. Nos autres partenaires s'exprimeront à leur tour."

Well, as for the last sentence, that's entirely up to those other countries, whether to waste money by having a referendum at all. I have changed my view about this in the past few weeks.

He is correct, though, when he says:


"D'ici là , l'Union européenne va continuer à fonctionner sur la base des traités actuels."

In other words, his scandalous suggestion last year that countries which rejected the Constitutional Treaty would have to leave the EU (thinking principally of the UK) is shown up for what it always was - shameless political grandstanding, as is confirmed by his own words last evening, in the wake of the French vote:

"La France, pays fondateur de l'Union, reste naturellement, dans l'Union."

- the fun continues, but I hope this particular Treaty can now be given a quick burial. For a satirical take on yesterday's vote, there's a good post at Liberty Cadre.

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