I am impressed by the interest of the French in the European debate and hope that this translated into a high voter turnout. I’m sorry that the traditional left electorate-workers, employees, the middle class, a great part of the youth-is opting more for “no” while, at the same time, having a base that is pro-European and in favor of different type of Europe - more social, more of a community. I’m also confirming that the arguments of those in support of “yes” have had difficulty asserting themselves. Finally, I’ve observed that one hears little from employer organizations that, nonetheless, are as much unanimously behind the constitution as they are for using it against the French social model.
One has to admit that rules that work for six or even for fifteen countries cannot work for 25 or 30 whose social legislation is not tuned to ours. “Free and non-deceptive competition” can be positive among countries with comparable economies, but its mechanical application runs the risk of triggering dumping when the social and fiscal levels are radically different. To say this doesn’t mean one is racist or nationalist, in fact local characters fade. I, on the contrary, think Europe should make the necessary financial attempts to welcome new member countries. But true internationalism must not consist of putting a salaried Chinese worker, for example, in “free” competition with a Romanian or French worker so that, “she/he who cost less wins.”
If one or several countries says “no,” the constitution will be discussed again later, that can be expected - it’s included as statement 30 on page 186. The true revelation is instead what I call “Plan C:” the hidden plan of the rightwing after the “yes” vote wins out. Many measures have been shelved until after May 29 in case the “yes” prevails. These include the publication of tons of letters on troop level reductions, negotiations with the unions about the control and sanctioning of strikers, ordinances penalizing patients who do not designate a doctor to treat them, the meeting of the commission that establishes the total amount of social security, an increase in gas rates, etc.-in summary, Europe will see a new version of the Bolkestein- Barroso directive, the budget with a maximum limit of 1% of the GDP, reform of regional assistance such that France is penalized, the liberalization of urban transport, etc.
If the French vote “no,” every one will take that into account, but the left will have to work for the sake of the union. It is not a debate between the reformists and the radicals; we are reformist, but to achieve effective reform it is necessary to have the appropriate means.

Hull Him

Il y a un plan C de la droite pour l’après-oui,” by Laurent Fabius, Hull Him, May 21, 2005. Text adapted from an interview.