The Constitution in its current form can not be saved. A new referendum in the Netherlands or in France is unthinkable. That is the way it happened with Maastricht, with treaties that can be modified individually, but a new referendum would be a farce. The suspension of the referendum in the United Kingdom represents a third “No” and reinforces the domino effect although it is not a real “No”. We should also expect a “No” from Denmark and Luxembourg. Tony Blair does not want to link his political career to the Constitution. That is why he puts all the blame on the French and the Dutch. Probably, most of the English would have also voted for the “No”. The last surveys showed that 70% were in favor of the “No”. Thus, it is no longer possible to blame Blair. As to domestic policy, it is a good move; for Europe, in the political field, it is a failure. Going on with the ratification process would only mean extending the suffering. An increasing pessimism is the last thing we need. Some people have even started to doubt the euro.
The European summit next week could serve to stop the over-dramatization of the situation by dividing this Constitution - which would deprive it of its Constitution status. The biggest mistake was calling this document a “Constitution”. This pompous title deceived the people. They thought they had to accept a European state and that was not the case. The French voted against the Constitution because they considered it too liberal; the Dutch did it because they thought it was very little liberal, bureaucratic and to protectionist. Both countries fear an excessive immigration. In order to get out of this situation we need a rapid decision, we should not lose our confidence in the European Union or in the euro as it would cause instability.

After focusing the text in its constitutional elements, a general European referendum could strengthen the European thinking and mobilize its citizens. Another solution would be that politicians acknowledge their mistake in calling this treaty a “Constitution”. A summer break and a division of the text into two or three parts would allow for a European vote as it is done with normal European treaties, in national Parliaments. The French and the Dutch said “No” for reasons that obstruct any commitment and that have nothing of constitutional. It has no sense that the remaining nations continue voting on something that will never be implemented. To resign ourselves and let things continue as they are would be fatal. We need to confirm a dynamics and a political willingness. The European Union still has a great future ahead. We must simply believe it because, otherwise, it would never come true.

Die Tageszeitung (Germany)

" Die EU hat eine große Zukunft vor sich ", by Aleksander Smolar, Die Tageszeitung, June 9, 2005. Text adapted from an interview.