Skip to comments.France rejects EU treaty, Europe faces crisis (What's New?)
Posted on 05/29/2005 2:04:35 PM PDT by Cornpone
PARIS (Reuters) - France overwhelmingly rejected the European Union's constitution in a referendum on Sunday, pollsters' projections showed, plunging the EU into crisis and dealing a possibly fatal blow to a pact designed to make it run smoothly.
The heavy defeat dreaded by EU leaders could weaken France in the 25-member bloc, stall European integration and unsettle some financial markets. It also wounds President Jacques Chirac two years before presidential and parliamentary elections.
Projections by three polling groups based on partial results from the referendum suggested around 55 percent of voters had opposed the EU's first constitution, designed to simplify decision-making following the Union's enlargement last year.
Such a heavy defeat in a country that has long been one of the main pillars of the EU reduces the chances of a repeat vote, which French leaders had ruled out anyway before the referendum.
Many voters wanted to punish Chirac and his conservative government over unemployment that is at a 5-year high of 10.2 percent and other economic problems. Other critics were angry at what they saw as France's declining role in the Union.
"I voted 'No' in all conscience, having read the text, due to the lack of will to solve Europe's number one problem today, which is unemployment," said Armel Bompart, 52, a civil servant in Strasbourg, home to the European parliament.
First official results were due around 2100 GMT after people flocked to vote in fine weather following a fierce campaign that divided France and became a debate on the government's economic record and the state of France, as well as the future of Europe.
Two-thirds of voters had cast ballots three hours before the last polling stations closed, the Interior Ministry said.
Chirac, 72, said before the vote he would not quit even though opinion polls showed his gamble on a referendum rather than a safe ratification vote in parliament was likely to fail.
However, he is expected to dismiss unpopular Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin. Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin leads the race to replace him ahead of Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie and center-right party leader Nicolas Sarkozy.
EU LEADERS FACE CRISIS
The constitution was signed by EU leaders last October in Rome after long and tough negotiations and requires the approval of all member states to go into force. Nine countries have approved it and is intended to take effect in 2006.
EU officials said before the vote the treaty could be doomed if a large majority of voters in France rejected it and Dutch voters threw it out in a vote on Wednesday. Dutch ministers urged voters on Sunday to ignore the result in France.
EU leaders are expected to urge other member states to continue the ratification process despite the rejection by a country that has traditionally been the motor driving EU integration alongside Germany.
If the constitution does not survive, the EU will continue to operate under its current rules. But the system is widely seen as unworkable for a Union intent on enlarging further, and voting could soon become paralyzed.
French leaders have repeatedly ruled out a repeat vote and dismissed suggestions it could be renegotiated, although they say it would help make Europe and France stronger in the face of economic threats from other countries such as China.
Opponents want the EU to redraft the treaty and improve it. They say the charter enshrines economic policies that have failed to stop the loss of jobs to low-wage economies, including countries outside the EU.
Concerns over the constitution's fate have contributed to the euro's recent weakness and economists said before the vote that the currency could fall further in the event of a "No."
The impact of the French rejection could also be felt on the Turkish lira because it could be interpreted as a protest against Turkey's efforts to join the Union.
And France can't get along with anybody.
A war is a crisis. Famine, plague, drought, floods, economic collapse, are crises.
This is not a crisis.
Sounds like the Muslims...wonder if there is a connection? There certainly is...the idiots...
Chirac is what France calls a conservative ?????
Yep...isn't that something...
What wonderful news!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am smiling! Now the Dutch have every incentive to follow suit.
"Many voters wanted to punish Chirac and his conservative government over unemployment that is at a 5-year high of 10.2 percent and other economic problems."
Ha ha ha! I am no Francophobe, but the reality is many Americans continue to boycott France over their lack of cooperation with the war against Iraq, and related collusion with our enemy including profitting from the UN's corrupt oil-for-food boondoggle. Why else would unemployment be so high since the war. They shot themselves in the tourist dollars foot and now they are complaining about it. Har, har, har.
Oh yeah. Vote til you get the right answer. Silly me. EU is not a democracy. Will of the people don't count.
Oh yeah. That's a scary thought isn't it? Course, not NEARLY as scary as what they consider a flaming liberal!
What a group!
"Europe has been in crisis since 1776."
Well said, Cornpone!
Yahoo! France is going to face anger from the rest of Europe!
So who do they consider a left wing wackjob?
Trotsky? Hmmm, no
Lenin? Possibly, but no his writings don't signficantly differ from tripe like "The Universal Rights of Man"
Mao? I doubt it
Actually I don't know that there is anyone in history that could be considered left of the French government.
Well I can think of one beingfurther to the left, someone so convinced of his own superiority he tried to overthrow God Himself.
Could it beeee.... SATAN!! (if you didn't see Dana Carvey as the Church lady, this will make no sense)
I was asking a retorical question.There isn't anyone that I can think of either.Even Satan doesn't fit-he certainly
believes in God at least.
Here's your first hint that France is clueless. Chirac wouldn't just be thrown out of the conservative movement in the US, he'd be thrown under a bus.
After all, it is SUMMER in France soon and it's not like his own family won't leave him alone in the house when they leave for vacation...
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