European Union's constitution in trouble


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Rebar
May 27, 2005, 01:18 PM
France headed toward an electoral earthquake on Friday as polls showed voters were set to reject the European Union's constitution in a referendum and open the door to a period of political uncertainty.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/27/AR2005052700381_pf.html
Whoops. Seems like Chirac is as popular in France as he is in America. Maybe someone who's up on this issue can fill us in, because it looks like the EU is doomed.

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fletcher
May 27, 2005, 01:21 PM
because it looks like the EU is doomed

Oh, dear.

Iain
May 27, 2005, 01:21 PM
The French are apparently concerned that the constitution is based on an liberal anglo-centric economic model.

Many voters on the left believe that the constitution will help to create an an ultra-free market economy within the EU. There are fears that this will undermine traditional French levels of social protection, and fuelling unemployment, as companies relocate their operations to other countries, where labour is cheaper.

from one of the BBC's rather simple Q&A columns - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4483817.stm

Zundfolge
May 27, 2005, 01:43 PM
So the French don't like the EU because its not Socialist enough!?

Jeebus ... what foul chemicals there must be in the water there :rolleyes:

The Viking
May 27, 2005, 02:09 PM
The second chamber of the Austrian parliament voted in favor of the constitution a few days ago. The French are always whining, no matter the cause of it. French farmers are probably the worst people in the known galaxy when it comes to whining, or blocking roads, or throwing potatoes. The Swedish social democratic party does not want us to vote about it, since they fear we will vote "wrong" (IE: Against it)... :rolleyes: Swedish PM said that if the "Yes"-side didn't win in the referendum about the Euro, they would simply hold more referendums until the people made the "right" decision... :rolleyes: So much for the respect of the Vox Popula :fire:

jefnvk
May 27, 2005, 02:33 PM
I've heard from a French person that if Chirac hadn't been elected, he'd probabbly be sitting in prison for something he had done. Don't know if it is true or not, but the general gist that they gave is that alot of French people hate him as much as America does.

shermacman
May 27, 2005, 02:49 PM
I'll take the opposite view. The proposed European Constitution is over 700 pages long. It is a bureaucratic wet-dream: all regulations and lawsuits. It is a blueprint for economic stagnation, ours is a foundation for democracy. I say, let 'em have it. If they adopt it they will live in self-imposed social jail.

Standing Wolf
May 27, 2005, 06:19 PM
I say, let 'em have it. If they adopt it they will live in self-imposed social jail.

I'm inclined to agree, although as always, the people who'll bear the worst of the burden will be the commoners.

Joejojoba111
May 27, 2005, 07:30 PM
If you were an ordinary guy, and you were shown a constitution that would define you and your children for decades to come, and you couldn't read it all in a week, why the hell would you vote for it?

Agree with Shermacman, the constitution in question is beastly, and there are real problems behind the 'whining'. Funny, the French are exercising their hard-won right to vote, voting against something most Americans are against, and STILL we make fun of them. Whiners.

igor
May 27, 2005, 07:46 PM
I hope the French will get the ball rolling so this monster sinks. We don't need any tighter federalisation of Europe. We sure as heck shouldn't surrender any more of our national legislation powers to the EU. The union should remain a forum for strictly security and economic purposes.

This constitutional treaty is a faux pas of the highest order. :barf:

Sindawe
May 27, 2005, 08:30 PM
I've heard from a French person that if Chirac hadn't been elected, he'd probabbly be sitting in prison for something he had done. Well, I'm of the opinion that that is true of MOST politicians.

But perhaps the resistance some nations are putting up to the proposed EU Constitution will give others pause to reconsider.

shermacman
May 27, 2005, 08:35 PM
I have to admit my comment was made partly in jest. I think the EU Constitution is a nightmare: specifically because is encodes the worst of the last 2000 years of European caste system.

I do not want anyone on God's green Earth to live under such a construct. But Europe seems Hell bent on continuing its encrusted class structure. The EU Constitution will codify those mistakes.

We will suffer their rigidity. Economic growth will stagnate with their regulations.

A rising tide does lift all boats, unless those boats are tethered to the muck.

Art Eatman
May 27, 2005, 08:40 PM
I read excerpts from the EU Constitution, back when it was first published.

Basically, there are no "rights" as we know them here. Every time a right is spoken of, there is some exception to it, as a function of the opinion of some bureaucrat. IOW, it's a collection of privileges, insofar as the average person.

I can see the European Union functioning as a viable economic group, using the Euro for currency. I--and many others--don't see it as possible as a political group: Too much nationalism in the populations, regardless of what a few high muckety-mucks believe.

Art

Headless Thompson Gunner
May 27, 2005, 08:44 PM
Seems like Chirac is as popular in France as he is in America. Maybe someone who's up on this issue can fill us in, because it looks like the EU is doomed.I don't know much about the EU constitution or the EU's impending demise, but I can tell you about Chirac...


France uses a run-off style election system. In the first round of voting, anybody can have his name put on the ballot. The two candidates who get the most votes in the first round are then matched against each other in a second round of voting. The winner of the second round takes the cake.

France's economy sucks - socialism at work. Unemployments is routinely on the order of 10% or 15%. Many people can't support themselves without government help. The general feeling is that it's the government's responsibility to make these problems go away. Of course, the government can't make everything better, but that doesn't seem to matter to the French. The net result is that in the last set of elections everyone was pretty dissatisfied with the incumbant Chriac and with government in general. Apathy was the rule when the first round of ballots were cast. Almost nobody went to the polls for the first round of voting.

Everyone was shocked when the results came back the next morning. The winners of the first round were Chirac and a card-carrying neo-Nazi.

Nobody much cared for Chirac, but when the only altrernative is a genuine neo-Nazi there isn't much you can do. Chirac won the second round in a landslide, despite the fact that none of the French like him at all.

Chirac is as much of a lying, self-serving, sleazy scumbag as Clinton was. But Chirac has neither Clinton's talent for weaselling out of culpability nor a sympathetic media. Everyone in France knows Chirac is dirty, but they had to vote for him anyway because he was the lesser of two evils.

So yeah, nobody in France cares for Chirac.

Crosshair
May 29, 2005, 01:14 AM
Ya, France hadn't a chance. especialy under the EU. You just can't take a country seriously when 12% unemployment is considered "good".

Sean Smith
May 29, 2005, 09:06 AM
Ironic that the French are concerned a system less like their would cause more unemployment, when their usual unemployment is double what almost cost Bush his job over here.

Standing Wolf
May 29, 2005, 06:20 PM
By all accounts, the French have rejected the EU constitution. France may not be a completely lost cause, after all.

Iain
May 29, 2005, 06:42 PM
Those who rejected the treaty included Communists, various left-wing groups, dissident socialists and far-right parties/ http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4592243.stm

Makes for strange bedfellows.

There has been a lot of talk that I have been hearing that even very pro-European types are coming to the conclusion that this document isn't a constitution as a constitution should be. The UK has presidency shortly, there is talk that the UK will strive to declare the present constitution dead.

beerslurpy
May 29, 2005, 06:57 PM
Exit polls point to "non" by a 10 percent margin.

rwc
May 29, 2005, 07:45 PM
Almost as interesting a question is - If it passed, would it matter?

I say this because France, Germany, Italy and others have been failing to meet their financial commitments adopted as part of the Euro currency agreement, no more than 3% GDP I think. They've been running deficits in excess of that and show no inclination to change course. This is very aggrevating to those EU countries that took their Euro commitments seriously and have cut domestic spending to bring their deficits under control.

As for France, I heard a couple weeks ago that something like 20%+ of the French people work for government. Can anyone confirm this? Anyone know what the collective figure is for the US? Please include state, local, federal, military, the whole enchilada.

Joejojoba111
May 29, 2005, 07:46 PM
If any of you think your country has low unemployment rates, then you don't know the real rates. Period. IIRC in the USA if one is unemployed that doesn't count as unemployed. If you are actively seeking work you don't count as unemployed. If you are actively seeking work in the field(s) for which you are qualified, that doesn't mean you're unemployed.

If you are actively seeking work in a field for which you are qualified, and it hasn't been 60 days, Then you're counted as unemployed. ASUI. After that you've just returned to your agrarian roots. And this trick is common around the world. IIRC

France's economy may be sluggish, but they rode out the great depression better than anyone else (except Germany). Maybe it's more of a tractor economy than a roadster.

Gunsnrovers
May 29, 2005, 08:03 PM
Looks like it lost 55% to 45%.

What really impresses me is the estimated 70%+ voter turnout. We could only wish for the voters of the US to show such enthusiasm to express their rights these days.

rwc
May 30, 2005, 10:57 AM
70%+ voter turnout

Nothing like the radical notion of not forcing folks to vote on a work day. It's no surprise that mail in ballots have increased voter participation in those jurisdictions that allow it for the general population.

I think we ought to have the general election be a holiday. Making the day we vote Veteran's Day would seem to be the most fitting tribute, and political association, I can imagine on this Memorial Day.

BryanP
May 30, 2005, 11:10 AM
As I understand it the EU will continue to function under the current set of treaties, it is in no danger of falling apart because of this vote.

I think we ought to have the general election be a holiday. Making the day we vote Veteran's Day would seem to be the most fitting tribute, and political association, I can imagine on this Memorial Day.
I've always said that it should be the second Sunday after April 15.

jefnvk
May 30, 2005, 11:32 AM
Agree with Shermacman, the constitution in question is beastly, and there are real problems behind the 'whining'. Funny, the French are exercising their hard-won right to vote, voting against something most Americans are against, and STILL we make fun of them. Whiners.

Seems to me that a number of the countries are not letting the citizens vote on the constitution, but rather their parliament/congress/whatever they have that is similiar.

Billll
May 30, 2005, 11:17 PM
I'm reading that the French rejected it because it wasn't socialist enough. The Brits are prepared to reject it because it's too socialist. The Danes get a crack at ti this wednesday, and are expected to reject it as well, possibly because it would curtail their right to sail boats up the Seine and loot Paris.
Someone mentioned, on another blog, that there seems to be only one party involved in the writing/passage effort. Now that the point has been brought up, doesn't it strike anyone as odd that there are not several competing constitutions up for the general approval? It's not like they're that hard to write, and certainly there are several one could crib from.

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