May 29, 2005


What is the only body which asks questions which if you get the "wrong" you can be asked again until you get it right?

Some of you in exam time may find this idea appealing however I am not talking about exams. The answer is the EU and referenda. France will today probably vote no to the constitution and the Netherlands similarly on Wednesday. Now before Ireland voted no to the Euro before being asked to please think again and similarly Denmark with Maastricht. However this time I think that as France is a big enough country and also a founder member of the European Project that the commission cannot force another referendum and will have to accept the no vote and find that elusive "Plan B".

But the real question is should they? The French are voting against the treaty because it is too Anglo-Saxon and free market, however Eurosceptics in this country argue against it for being not free market enough. Both sides cannot be right, but who is? Perhaps it is because this treaty, originally to bring EU democracy closer to the "citizens", is written in legalese hence is utterly incomprehensible to just about every person in the EU. Is this the message Europe needs to reform?

- 5 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Hello Justin!
    Well, these are interesting matters. I myself have not read the constituion, so find it hard to judge. The French opposing it for opposite reasons from the British is something not many have picked up on, and makes the whole EU issue even more complex.

    Anyway, I haven't got enough time to leave a proper comment, so I'll just say bye, and see you later at the quiz.

    Bye, and see you later at the quiz.

    29 May 2005, 18:28

  2. The main question is are these the real reasons, or just the media's handy reasons, in the same way as using voter apathy as the excuse for us not voting, rather than most people not really seeing a difference between candidates positions?

    Could it just be that both sides are against further integration because they don't like the way it's all going?

    If France vote NO, you're probably right that they won't just be told to do it again, but I think it likely that most of the provisions of the constitution will just be introduced piecemeal in smaller pieces of legislation, as has the 70% or so that's already law.

    I read the constitution yesterday (rather than revising) and it's no wonder most people haven't read it. It's way, way, way too long, and covers a vast range of areas that are not what a constitution should be about, namely a declaration of founding principles and that's it!

    29 May 2005, 19:11

  3. Yup, I was going to make Andrew's last point that the reason most people haven't read it is that it's so long and overinvolved. It's full of all sorts of big aspirational ideals rather than principles – it's got something like 490 Articles, while the US constitution has something around 40–50.

    29 May 2005, 22:42

  4. There are numerous points that need to be made on this. Firstly, your statement that "they cannot both be right" when discussing how socialist/free market the constitution is is inaccurate. It's too free market for France, too socialist for the UK. Fundamentally we are quite different countries politically, and thus the whole concept of an integrated Union is flawed from the start anyway. Things like a common foreign policy are simply ridiculous! Second, yes it is entirely ludicrous that this will be thrown at the voters again and again until the politicians get their answer. Presumably they will also continue to ask the population if they want out once they are signed up periodically?!? I rather think not. Personally I hope that the French rejection does spell the beginning of the end not just for the constitution but for the entire EU, and we can go back to a common market (the EEC) which was much more workable.

    31 May 2005, 01:05

  5. Very interesting points in the Telegraph today.
    About how we're going to get half of it forced on us anyway, because "those are the bits that don't need to be agreed on by everyone".

    Democracy. I love it.


    07 Jun 2005, 11:23

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