When France will vote next Sunday, May 29, for its European future, the electors will declare themselves rather to be in favor of the actions taken by their President Jacques Chirac than in favor of the contents of the text. This man occupies the political scene of his country since much longer than any other European politician. He was already French Prime Minister when Helmut Khol was but a secondary provincial politician in Germany. He is a man who prefers physical contact, who dedicates much time to eat and who is always drinking beer at the end of the never-ending European dinners where the leaders of Europe talk about the future of the European Union.

Chirac has the worst balance of the presidents of the Fifth Republic. All his predecessors did something to transform France but he has done too little. Paris or Cannes are spectacular cities but when you turn away from the expressway, you see scores of middle cities with a high level of unemployment, a population depending on public assistance and five million residents renting their houses on moderate rates (HLM). A different France: motionless, sub-modernized and without direction.
In the political field, Chirac has broken the first rule of power: preserving it. He dissolved the National Assembly following the advise of Dominique de Villepin and in this way he gave up the power to socialists who have affected the French economy by limiting the working day schedule. Currently, one part of the French territory survives thanks to economic airlines companies, which allow the British citizens to fly to their secondary residences in France. French brains leave searching for shelter in the Anglo-Saxon economy

During the Iraq war, Chirac could have proposed an alternative strategy but he only used his veto. He treated condescendingly the Eastern countries and prohibited their workers from settling in France. Chirac ended up adopting the British Euro-skeptic strategy to attack Brussels. Never did he have a clear idea in relation to Europe.
Whichever the result of the referendum, it is necessary to modernize France. The sooner the better.

The Independent (U.K.)

« The president who let down his nation », by Denis Mac Shane, The Independent, May 20, 2005.