Wednesday, June 01, 2005

D-Day for Europe as Dutch vote

The Dutch are voting on the EU constitution. It is expected that they will also reject this in over whelming numbers. This would add another nail into the coffin of the EU Constitution and put Tony Blair in a ver interesting position. TimesonLine explains.

"Tony Blair will attempt to pick up the pieces when Britain assumes the European Union’s presidency next month, but President Chirac complicated that task yesterday by appointing Dominique de Villepin as his Prime Minister in place of Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

M de Villepin, whose heroes are Napoleon and Charles de Gaulle, is a staunch nationalist whose views are mostly anathema to Britain.

As Foreign Minister, he fought passionately to stop Britain and the US going to war in Iraq. He champions the state-led French social model over “Anglo-Saxon” economics.

Both M de Villepin and M Chirac promised to inject fresh life into the French economy, but the President emphasised that this would be “with total respect for the French model . . . This model is not one of the Anglo-Saxon type”."
Chirac's appointment of de Villepin does not help Blair'sposition at all. Having a staunch nationalist and a frequent critic of the US and UK over Iraq will make for some difficult times for Blair and I do not believe it will help France's economy at all.
"Polls in the Netherlands showed the “yes” campaign trailing by 20 points, and even the most ardent supporters of the constitution admitted that it would be a “small miracle” if they win today. The European Commission and seven member states which have called referendums insisted that ratification would proceed regardless. But officials privately conceded that a second emphatic “no” from a founding member would probably prove fatal.

“There is a limit to what we can say before the Dutch vote. But things will change afterwards if they say ‘no’,” one Commission source admitted.

No country wants to be held responsible for killing the constitution by being first to abandon a referendum, but diplomats said that “everyone is talking to everyone” about how to proceed.

“We don’t want to be the first to say ‘no’. We won’t say ‘no’ unless there is a general decision not to go forward,” said one diplomat from a country which has promised a vote."
It would appear that there are those that will try and go forward no matter how many countries vote no. The Dutch seem headed to a no vote. How many countries that have yet to vote will follow the lead of the French and Dutch? How many no votes will it take before the EU constitution is dead? Time will tell on this and if there are additional no votes, what actions will the supporters of the EU take to see the EU comes to fruition? - Sailor

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