As we had noted in Op-Eds Decyphered after the French and Dutch referendums on the European Constitutional Treaty, the rejection of that document in France and Holland did not lead to a greater openness of the dominating media to the adversaries of the text. The European Council decided to pause with respect to its ratification and it all seems to indicate that Washington no longer counts on this treaty as part of its European strategy->]. Nonetheless, some of its supporters in Europe are not giving up.
Thus, in a speech delivered in Chatham House, London, before the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the president of the European Parliament, Spanish socialist Josep Borell, said that the ECT was not dead. The Independent reproduces the main excerpts of his speech. The author reiterates the arguments of great success during the French campaign: the rejection of the text is not a rejection of a system but the result of an accumulation of misunderstandings and claims of different kinds. So, it is necessary to continue with the propaganda, to wait, and calm people down and to present the text again.
Although many people adopted this position after the French and Dutch referendums, now the advocates of this strategy are few or they act discreetly. However, it does not mean that the goals and challenges that originally determined the ECT have been abandoned. In the International Herald Tribune, the president of the European Commission, the ultra-Atlantist José Manuel Barroso, reaffirms these goals with the “politically correct” language of the European Union. The former Portuguese Prime Minister thus affirms that the European Union should “adapt” to today’s globalized world and to contribute to the stability of neighbor countries through their “democratization”. Hiding behind these words – repeated so many times by the president of the European Commission – is the continuation of the policies applied by this Commission since it was created: adaptation of the European Union to the Anglo-Saxon socio-economic model, liberalization of the economies and support of the color revolutions of the East in the face of Russia as well as the destabilization of regimes that do not yield to the West in the Middle East. In the institutional arena, the author also regrets that the approval of the European Constitution had been postponed but does not present it as dead.
In the same newspaper, the Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, describes his objectives for the European Union in similar terms as José Manuel Barroso. He never speaks of reforms to the political working system but he is obsessed with only one topic: the opening of European markets, the liberalization of the services market (education included) and the end of all state protectionist measures.
On the other hand, for Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Zapatero, Europe is able to solve the problems linked to the migratory flow that Spain is facing. In The Guardian, he asks that the European Union actively participate in the assistance for development and the control of migratory flows from African countries. Nevertheless, unable (or not wanting) to avoid the traditional problems of the European Union, he affirms that Europe should also strengthen its economy through the “strategy of Lisbon” and to strengthen its security through police cooperation. However, he scrupulously avoids speaking of the European institutions or the direction of European policies.
The approach of the French and Dutch political leaders with respect to this topic is different. As they had to directly face the demonstrations of discontent and rejection of the kind of European Union that the ECT was trying to impose. The political leaders of both countries disagree with the other European leaders.
This is the case of Jacques Chirac in an article widely spread by the press services of the Elysee and simultaneously reproduced in the 25 member countries of the European Union, especially by the newspapers Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany), Le Soir (Belgium), El País (Spain), Le Monde (France), Corriere della Sera (Italy), Rzeczpospolita (Poland) and Financial Times (Great Britain). Jacques Chirac advocates for environmental and social action and also for the reactivation of the political Europe. Aware of the fact that the French referendum failed because of the social aspect, he presents the European Union as a power that can effectively oppose the multinationals that set up their factories in countries where there is a cheap labor force and in conditions of regular international trade – a different approach to that of Barroso or Rasmussen. Chirac reiterates his support for the principle of pioneering groups, which, in his opinion, are able to give some dynamics to European construction. Actually, by speaking in favor of these problems when all the other European leaders are mainly speaking of an opening of the markets and adapting their economies to globalization, that is, adopting the Anglo-Saxon model, the French president is alone in Europe, something that he does not ignore. The “pioneering groups” constitute a means of working only with those states that share his point of view.
For his part, Bernard Bot, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, insists in Le Figaro that the Constitution, rejected by the Dutch and French citizens, should not be introduced in an indirect way during the discussion stage of the European Council. Bot goes even farther and notes that the subsidiarity principle should be respected and considers that some of the topics currently being analyzed at the European level should be approached at a national level.
Regardless of the points of view expressed, we can see that the advocates of the “no” do not participate in this debate and continue to be absent from the dominating media. The discussion was and continues to be limited.