This electoral uprising coldly announced that May of 1968, forces us to face prohibited issues in our economic, social and European policies. What caused the rejection of the Constitutional Treaty? What consequences might it bring? What to do now?
Rather than to national or political issues, the voting result was due to a refusal of the bureaucratic creation of a unique market. The “political integration” words - the Holy Grail for some - sounded as a threat to others. It was spread against the European Union population as a moral debt without any further discussion. The application of a generalized competition at times where France has not managed to decrease its unemployment rate was disastrous. The fact of calling this treaty a “Constitution” deteriorated the expectations and fears even more. All in all there were, of course, the context of the French domestic policy, the feeling of not having been understood or heard, the incidents of the campaign and the demagogy of the “no’s”. In conclusion, there were 15 422 000 votes in favor of the “no”, very soon followed by 62% of Dutch voters and the British shock of their own referendum, which bore out the fact that it was not only a French but a European problem as well.
The French people have not become anti-European, but they feel discontent with Europe. What worsened everything was rather the stubbornness to laugh all patriotic feelings to scorn, and present, as xenophobia, any concerns for the expansion. All criticisms were scornfully ignored. All this, together with the social insecurity, the identity-related uncertainty, the feeling of democratic usurpation, finally prevailed and led the French to strike so hard. The paradox lies in the fact that the editors of the European Constitutional Treaty (ECT) thought that they had come to an acceptable commitment. I also did. The future will prove that the French remain open to a European project, no matter how poorly reasonable its reformulation might be.
The social question posed by this vote is more difficult than that. There will never be unanimity in Europe, and not even a majority that enables to ensure the French social model, and even less, generalize it. This model is not considered any longer for the unemployment it generates. But it is in the name of a “social Europe” that many left-wing voters have become pro-Europeans. And it is in the hope of rebuilding Europe that many of them decided to vote “no”. Removing such contradictions is a very serious duty for the left-wing.
Currently, going on with the ratification is already absurd: according to the international law, the countries, whatever their number, cannot impose a treaty on a country which has rejected it. After two negative votes, everything else is senseless. Making France vote again over the same text would be stupid and a renegotiation is hardly probable. Furthermore, if that renegotiation were to be made, nothing would guarantee that it may be advantageous for us. The Nice Treaty will continue to be applied, complemented by some provisions and probably enriched by a deeper collaboration. In the social respect, if Europeans achievements are to be preserved, preventing everything from collapsing, it is an urgency to especially put aside, for an indefinite time, the distressing and irresponsible rhetoric of the European integration. The issue of the United States of Europe must also be forgotten so as to adopt again the Federation of States-Nations. The European project must get rid of the pro-European dogma. As we have done from long ago, we should not go on to expect or fear everything from Europe.
The European Union must be endowed with an economic and project-oriented policy. In the social field, it is high time to reaffirm that the proper framework for social policy is still that of the State-Nation, if the important thing is to fulfill a general European harmonization around the most relevant issues and that the 25 adopt more aggressive postures -“U.S.-style - at the WTO.

Le Monde (France)

Sortir du dogme européiste “, by Hubert Védrine, Le Monde, June 8, 2005.