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Old 05-30-2005, 07:53 AM   #1
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Normal the french say 'non'

so the french said no to the european constituition, and it seems like the dutch will do so too. the rejections in two of the original member states could cause turmoil in the union. what do the europeans here think? how would you like to see EU progress over the next decade? constitution, yes or no? why?


PARIS (Reuters) - France and Europe reeled on Monday from a resounding French "No" vote that could sound the death knell for a proposed constitution for the European Union.

Defeated in one of France's biggest referendum turnouts for years, President Jacques Chirac hinted he could replace Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, who told reporters after meeting Chirac to expect unspecified political developments by Tuesday.

In a turnout of 69.7 percent, many voters used the poll to punish Chirac's conservatives over France's fragile economy and high unemployment. The 72-year-old leader promised changes but ignored calls from some opponents to step down.

The charter, designed to ensure smooth decision-making in the enlarged bloc, requires the backing of all member states to enter into force. EU leaders said the treaty was still alive but acknowledged the French result hit its chances elsewhere in the 25-nation bloc, notably in Wednesday's vote in the Netherlands.

"There is a risk of contagion,"
European Commission President Jose Manuel Durao Barroso told French LCI Television after results of Sunday's referendum showed 54.87 percent of French voters voted "No," a higher margin than most expected.

A Dutch rejection is seen making it harder for EU leaders to call repeat votes in countries that turn down the charter.

"It's always been said in the Netherlands we should not become Europe's village idiot by voting 'No'. This will give the Dutch more confidence to say 'No' to this constitution," Dutch Socialist Party member Harry van Bommel told Reuters.

KNOCK FOR INVESTOR CONFIDENCE

The result drove the euro down half a percent to $1.2505 in European trade. With markets closed for a holiday in London and the United States, the full impact could be felt on Tuesday.

While the outcome was not seen jeopardizing the monetary union that underpins the euro, leaders feared the expected political uncertainty could hit investment and reform efforts.

"It cannot be positive for the economy of Europe," Jean-Claude Juncker, prime minister of current EU presidency-holder Luxembourg, told French RTL radio.

Nine countries representing nearly half the EU's 454 million citizens have approved the constitution and leaders from Greece, Poland and Denmark said the process must continue as planned.

With a renegotiation of the charter seen impossible, Barroso said EU leaders would study options at a June 16-17 summit. EU rules leave open what would happen in the event of one or more rejections, and EU officials stress they have no "Plan B."

British Prime Minister
Tony Blair told reporters on a visit to Italy the EU needed "time for reflection," adding it was too early to say whether Britain would proceed with its referendum.

The outcome resonated as far as EU-hopeful Turkey, where the government said the vote was a French matter. The EU's executive Commission in Brussels said there was no link to plans to open entry talks with Ankara on Oct. 3, but others were less sure.

"The French result shows that European public opinion is not ready to welcome Turkey as a partner," said Emin Sirin, an independent member of the Turkish parliament. The Turkish lira was steady, with a French "No" already factored into prices.

LAME DUCK?

The heavy defeat leaves Chirac appearing a lame duck two years before presidential and parliamentary elections and speculation grew that he would announce a cabinet shake-up.

Raffarin left a 30-minute meeting at Chirac's Elysee Palace on Monday morning promising "developments later in the day...or tomorrow." He did not say whether he had offered to resign.

Political analysts said the sheer size of the "No" vote could make Nicolas Sarkozy, ambitious leader of Chirac's ruling UMP party, favorite for the post after he called for a radical overhaul of economic and social policy after the result.

The other main contender is Interior Minister and long-time Chirac loyalist Dominique de Villepin, a main Sarkozy rival.

Analysts agreed a key factor in the resounding defeat of the "Yes" camp was anger at unemployment -- now at a 5-year high of 10.2 percent -- and at Chirac's unpopular economic reforms.

Constitution critics successfully portrayed the charter as enshrining pro-market policies that would cost French jobs and put business interests ahead of social concerns.

Some said the "No" camp had captured public concern about France's declining role in an EU of 25 countries to argue the constitution would mean a loss of sovereignty and a shift of more powers to Brussels.

(Reporting by Paris bureau; Crispian Balmer in San Gimignano; Gareth Jones in Ankara; Wendel Broere and Heleen van Geest in Amsterdam)
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Old 05-30-2005, 10:18 AM   #2
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So the French think that the Constitution would be bad for their economy. They don't like Chirac's economic policies.
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Old 05-30-2005, 11:55 AM   #3
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well, i dont think french mostly like chirac himself either. and they dont want the balance of power to change in the EU.

on a national scale, they are very concerned about the welfare state . they dont want france (or EU, for that matter) to become 'Anglo-saxon capitalists'. i think they are holding on to the past there.
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Old 05-30-2005, 12:36 PM   #4
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This was a seriously disheartening blow to the progress of Europe, and I really don't think many Europeans actually believe it to be so, which is a shame. The French electorate seemed to have trivialized the entire vote, apparently trying to 'get back' at Chirac, who is overwhelmingly unpopular at the moment. Little did they realise that their little quasi-insurrection has made European progress and integration slower and harder.

Very, very disappointing.

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Old 05-30-2005, 12:56 PM   #5
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Gosh. I guess I'm disappointed for Europe. The polls in the Netherlands are showing that they are going to vote against it also.
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Old 05-30-2005, 12:57 PM   #6
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This is a good thing for me, that way the Euro will be down from the dollar and i'll be able to afford more stuff when i'm in Europe this summer. When i'm back in the states the Euro can do whatever it wants
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Old 05-30-2005, 02:21 PM   #7
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Originally posted by U2democrat
This is a good thing for me, that way the Euro will be down from the dollar and i'll be able to afford more stuff when i'm in Europe this summer. When i'm back in the states the Euro can do whatever it wants
haha. the fate of an entire continent boiled down to a girl's shopping spree.. well, the french and i think the dutch will try and get you good prices

but seriously, i dont see euro going down substantially this summer
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Old 05-30-2005, 02:58 PM   #8
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Originally posted by U2democrat
This is a good thing for me, that way the Euro will be down from the dollar and i'll be able to afford more stuff when i'm in Europe this summer. When i'm back in the states the Euro can do whatever it wants
Luckily I just got back from the USA. Cheap dollar...

*can't vote this Wednesday as he won't be in the Netherlands that day*
Ironically, I just started to work in Brussels, which is more or less the unofficial 'capital' of Europe.

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Old 05-30-2005, 06:03 PM   #9
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The French voted against it, it does not mean that they trivialised the vote, the joke is that the left was where the main opposition came from. The EU was too right wing for the French people.
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Old 05-30-2005, 06:33 PM   #10
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Yeah, I saw a pic somewhere of some French lefties having a celebration. Remember, Chirac is a "right-of-center" guy in the context of French politics.
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Old 05-30-2005, 06:58 PM   #11
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Is this a good thing that they said no to the constitution?

I'm sorry for the ignorance. I had no idea what was going on.
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Old 05-30-2005, 07:08 PM   #12
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Old 05-30-2005, 07:10 PM   #13
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Originally posted by verte76
Yeah, I saw a pic somewhere of some French lefties having a celebration. Remember, Chirac is a "right-of-center" guy in the context of French politics.
Yes Chirac is right of centre in the context of French Politics. If he were an American politician, he would probably be considered left of centre.

The opponents were a motley crew of leftists/trade unionists etc combined with some far right voters, i.e. anti-immigration people.
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Old 05-31-2005, 06:51 AM   #14
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Originally posted by U2Girl1978
Is this a good thing that they said no to the constitution?

I'm sorry for the ignorance. I had no idea what was going on.
Don't be sorry, nobody seems to know what this constitution is about and what it will change (for better or worse). That's also one of the main reasons why this referendum sucks...

For those of you who want to bore themselves:

The European Constitution in 20 languages
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