Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Hot in Europe : the European Constitution.

In Europe, the hot political topic these days is the Constitution for Europe [which is actually a Constitutional Treaty]. We are probably going to have a series of postings on the subject in the next few weeks.
To sum it up in a few words, here's the basic idea of the Constitutional Treaty:
Now the devil is in the detail of course, which is why we'll come back to it.

The Constitutional Treaty was signed in Rome on the 29th of October 2004 by the 25 Member States of the European Union. BUT the Member States have to ratify the Constitution in accordance with the modalities of their national legislations.
In Spain, it has passed its first electoral test and France will follow soon. Chirac has chosen to have a referendum rather than Congressional ratification.
The problem with the referendum is that, in France, it tends to be mixed up with other issues:
  • high unemployment (10%)
  • a string of unpopular reforms by the government
  • demonstrations of students
  • the threat of strikes and demonstrations by labor unions
  • and more recently the Finance Minister's 'Scandal' (see our posting)
Traditionally in France, referendums become plebiscites. In other words, they are used as political tool by both the party in power and the opposition, and the outcome is analyzed from the perspective of popular support to the government. (De Gaulle was ousted by a 'no' vote in a referendum in 1969)
This time the opposition is mostly for the 'yes' but there are disagreements within parties, unions and lobbies.
In the end, the 'no' may be a 'pot-pourri' of discontent, which is really a reactionary and dum attitude. After all, we just need a bit of patience (2 more years) before we are given a chance to 'hang them all' (or 'guillotine them') properly.

So for now, the best thing to do is to READ (at least most of) the text and make up your own mind. At this point of my reading, I tend to lean to a 'yes' vote.

The text is available at: http://www.constitution-europeenne.info/
and there's also a toll-free number to call and they'll send you a free copy. (unfortunately, I do not recall it).

2 Comments:

At 18:48, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Personally I tend to the “no” even if I’m convinced that France needs to be in and that makes me sorry ‘cause I really don’t know what will be my vote the D-Day. I point out that French people were not at the beginning of Europe as I heard, politicians did.

For instance here are some points I disagree with because they are election gimmicks or bad points for human rights :
- about economy : how long have the entrepreneurs mixed social preoccupations and free-market ?
Of course firms have to be competitive in the whole world. I also admit that in some French enterprises all is done to make the workers feeling well : good incomes and sometimes even facilities to relax when they work lot’s of hours a day. However, more and more workers have no choice but go on strike (a strange French chronic illness indeed !!!) to preserve their job when their firms make healthy profits and fire them all the same ; are workers nothing but tools ? The XIXth century seems coming back.
- about equality of male and females workers : it doesn’t exist yet, does it ? So needless to write it down in the Constitution
- about religion : everybody must be free to practice any religion, no matter to me if they did or not. But giving a good part to religion instead of secularity might be dangerous in the long run (remember Inquisition and think of fundamentalism through the world nowadays), and also bad for the human rights. Abortion is not allowed in some European countries (Germany, Poland, Ireland, Malte). So what’s the future for European women ? Will it be allowed to abort everywhere or will have the europeans women to go abroad to do it in the future whatever the conditions might be: in Europe, every each 7 minutes a woman is dying during an illegal abortion (www.arte-tv.com).
To end, I’d like hearing French politicians telling us that “Turkey” is working hard for years to join the European Community.
I’d like hearing them telling us the true about the environnement, i.e. they don’t care about it considering how they manage it in France.
I’d like hearing on official French Broadcast about European people and their ways of living, their culture and so on to give us the willing to built something together.
I’d like watching more documentaries about the Franco-German cooperation and the future instead of the World War 2.
I’d like....
Michèle

 
At 18:48, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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