The European policy is seriously affected by the possibility of a French “No” to the referendum. The current environment in European institutions reflects the end of the romantic vision of the expansion to the East. Henceforth, fear prevails. The French government’s fear to look weak is what has determined its behavior with regards to the Chinese textiles, the commemoration of the Armenian genocide to remind everyone that the Turkish incorporation is not for tomorrow, or the freezing of the Bolkestein directive.
How to explain what is happening in France? First, it is necessary to understand that there are more than one “No” in this country. There is a “No” for sovereignty reasons that rejects the European construction and which forgets that Dominique de Villepin was able to deliver his speech in the United Nations against the war in Iraq because he knew that the French economy was protected by the euro. The other “No” has an opposite vision: the Constitutional Treaty does not go far and this text opens the way to social and tax-paying competition. As a matter of fact, they are more concerned for the situation of the country than for the content of the text. The leftists think that the text will facilitate a renegotiation. Why, if the French say “No”, would the other partners accept what they rejected in the first place?
The French campaign is contaminated by elements that have nothing to do with the text such as, for example, the incorporation of Turkey. Anyway, the doubts in France at least allow for a reactivation of the debate about Europe.
El Periodico (Spain)
“La encrucijada francesa”, by Josep Borrell, El Periodico, May 2, 2005.