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Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 1 The Rejection of the New European Constitution A Fork in the Road of History? The Disunited States of.

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Presentation on theme: "Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 1 The Rejection of the New European Constitution A Fork in the Road of History? The Disunited States of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 1 The Rejection of the New European Constitution A Fork in the Road of History? The Disunited States of Europe?

2 Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 2 A turning point? A Watershed? French Referendum on the European Constitution – 29 May, 2005 Result: "Oui": 45.13% - "Non" = 54.8% Turnout = 69.3% the result was a profound shock first "anti-Europe" vote in France since founding of EU first time a founder-member had voted against a European proposition but shock more to the ruling elite than public or commentators many opinion polls taken leading up to referendum – all had predicted "Non" Why, then, were politicians surprised?

3 Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 3 Was it the Constitution itself?

4 Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 4 The Disunited States of Europe? too long and wordy: 450 pages delivered to all households in France …. uninspiring …. first words were: "The King of Belgium …. compare to US Constitution: "We the People of the United States, ……" combined elements proper to a constitution with many rules governing practical operation of the EU 25 countries (could have been put in annexe) in France, President decided on a referendum; in Germany & other countries, Parliament made the decision ……… Was it just the document that provoked a "Non"? No - referendums often used to express discontent about other matters!! Many people in France and Holland voted "Non" for other reasons. What was wrong with the Constitution?

5 Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 5 The Disunited States of Europe? Why did did the French vote "Non"?  discontent about unemployment – c 10% for years: in age-range 18-25 around 25%  irritation with leadership; fatigue with promises  concerns about crime, especially in big cities and suburban ghettoes  decline in purchasing power; inflation since adoption of euro  relocation of jobs to Asia & East Europe; problems in agriculture & fishing  high costs and complication of doing business for small companies  business environment unfavourable for entrepreneurs  loss of political & economic power and influence in Europe after enlargement  French model is statist, high taxation, high central control, high subsidies for farming – all against prevailing trends – feeling of isolation  Eastern contries tend to favour the Anglo-Saxon, liberalizing model  suspicion of "globalization" and "liberalization" ; their association with Anglo-Saxons  visceral dislike of the U.S.A.; rejection of US "cultural swamping"  fears that voting "Oui" might accelerate entry of Turkey into EU AND

6 Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 6 The Disunited States of Europe?  most important school for the political elite - & the newest, created in 1945  academic standards are extremely high  at age 25 ENA graduates generally get high positions in government, diplomatic service, or business and banking  most presidents and prime ministers attended the ENA, as did many members of the assembly and the bureaucracy  Does this make for a narrow, similarity of views, a certain arrogance? The French elite - "disconnected" from the people? Some commentators claim government leaders are not in tune with ordinary people. This may be particularly true in France. Many politicians in high office and much of the upper ranks of the civil service are graduates from one of three schools: Ecole Polytechnique: educates business elites, including those that fill technology and management positions Ecole Normale Superieure: graduates include many leading French intellectuals The Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA)

7 Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 7 The Disunited States of Europe? Why did the Dutch vote "Non" on 1 July (61.5% against: turnout 63.3 %)  fed up with paying over the odds into the EU budget (net contributors)  feeling that they have not benefited enough from being "good Europeans"  serious concerns about immigration:  growth of large immigrant residential areas  assassination in 2002 of Pym Fortuyn, a perceived anti-immigration politician who might have become Prime Minister  murder in 2004 of film director Theo van Gogh by a Muslim fundamentalist

8 Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 8 The Disunited States of Europe? Why would the British have voted "Non"?  Brussels too remote, arrogant, corrupt & undemocratic  bureaucracy excessive: too many powers passed to Brussels, 80,000 pages of European law etc (myth of the curved cucumbers)  corruption & recent scandals: Mme Cresson, resignation of Commission of Jacques Santer, failure to audit accounts, fees paid for attendance at meetings which are not attended etc  profligate: "They take our money, but waste a lot of it." eg €1 billion currently paid to tobacco farmers in Europe - irritation with being net contributors  "They make the rules" but don't enforce them: French ban on British beef, failure to keep to 3% budget deficit - fishing inspectors ….. "They make the rules" but don't enforce them  Hidden Agenda: "They want to create a U.S.E. and take UK sovereignty away."  too much French influence: pressure to adapt our tax and other laws to those of high- cost French social model: French often speak about "harmonisation" (= up, not down)  main interest in the EU for British is access to a huge "common market"

9 Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 9 What have the British got against Europe? Are we the only ones who obey the rules? The Mad Cow crisis …. The Spanish fishing inspectors …. The Franco-German PB deficit ….

10 Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 10 The Disunited States of Europe? Brussels' lack of understanding of the Real World "Many people were taken aback Thursday by comments at a press conference just before midnight by Jean-Claude Juncker, the EU president; José Manuel Barroso, who heads the European Commission; and Josep Borrell, leader of the European Parliament. BRUSSELS When three European Union leaders announced that ratification of the EU constitution would be "postponed for a period of reflection," they blamed neither the document's architects nor themselves. They blamed the European public. “The French and Dutch voters who said no to the charter did not really reject the constitution,” the EU officials said Thursday night; “they just failed to understand it.” The comments, after nearly three weeks of soul-searching about Europe's direction, spoke less of a crisis atmosphere than of a surreal disconnect between Europe's leadership and its voters. The fact that none of the three officials had been elected by Europeans as a whole, but were appointed to their posts, only strengthened the sense of detachment between voters and EU institutions." Judy Dempsey and Katrin Bennhold International Herald Tribune: SATURDAY, JUNE 18, 2005

11 Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 11 The Disunited States of Europe? The French government's reaction?  President Mr Chirac dismissed the Prime Minister  appointed Mr Dominic de Villepin, an unelected aristocrat  promised to give full priority to employment  main weapon in job creation policy -> new two-year "sack without reason" contract for companies with up to 20 employees  recognition of problems of over-secure employment  much easier to dismiss workers in Denmark = unemployment of <5%  new policy vigorously opposed by unions ……..  "We've heard it all before."  unemployment has swung between 8.6 and 12.3 percent since the early 1980s  people are sceptical  Chirac's popularity at record low The French public's reaction?

12 Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 12 The Disunited States of Europe? Fantasy & Unreality in "Olde Europe" “Triumphant prime minister says result revives hopes for treaty“ Nicholas Watt, European editor - Monday July 11, 2005 - The GuardianThe Guardian  Voters in Luxembourg briefly revived the European constitution yesterday when they strongly endorsed the measure weeks after emphatic no votes in France and Holland. Jean-Claude Juncker, the Luxembourg prime minister who had threatened to resign if the Grand Duchy had voted the same way, emerged triumphant after the constitution was approved by 56.52% to 43.48%.  An arch-federalist, Mr Juncker immediately attempted to use the yes vote - and the fact that 13 of the EU's 25 members have now approved the constitution - to intensify his campaign to keep the treaty alive.  Article continues "If Luxembourg had said 'no' the constitution would have been dead," he declared last night. As Luxembourg has said 'yes' the process can go ahead. There is a way for the European constitution to be adopted. Article continues  "If Luxembourg had said 'no', Europe would have been in an ultra-serious crisis. Now that Luxembourg has voted yes, Europe is still in crisis, but there is a silver lining."  Mr Juncker's remarks are likely to provoke raised eyebrows in many European capitals. The Luxembourg prime minister earlier concluded that the French and Dutch no votes were not a rejection of the constitution but were motivated by other concerns.  Yesterday he appeared to suggest that only Luxembourg has a veto.

13 Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 13 Save the Constitution!! The Disunited States of Europe?

14 Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 14 The Consequences of the French & Dutch "Noes"?  Dutch and French "noes" terrible blow to the morale of believers in political union  EU leaders had assumed countries voting "No" would either be small (Denmark or Czech Republic, who could be "encouraged" to vote again to get the "right" result) or a more sceptical country such as Britain  Some anti-British federalists relished the idea of presenting the British with the choice of ratifying the constitution or leaving the EU  with FRANCE voting "Non", it is impossible to see either "solution" as viable The Constitution is dead - long Live the Constitution The two votes effectively killed the Constitution. Two major questions remain: A) Can anything be saved? B) Where now for Europe? "Dead, but not yet buried" - Jun 6th 2005 - From The Economist print edition

15 Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 15 The Disunited States of Europe?  a new vote would have to be on a revised text, but strongest French demands in any renegotiation would be for extension of French social protection to rest of EU  other members would never concede this; Eastern Europe in particular is more pro 'Anglo-Saxon liberalization'  so renegotiation and a second vote are unthinkable, but so is the option of excluding France  unlike Britain, France has always been politically (and geographically) central to the EU  like the Netherlands, France is one of the six founders, and also one of the 12 that have joined the single European currency, the euro  an EU without France is unthinkable How else might the EU get out of its crisis? What about "Cherry-picking"? Can anything be salvaged?

16 Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 16 The Disunited States of Europe?  difficulty that some key provisions (changes to the voting system, the abolition of some vetoes, the creation of a Charter of Fundamental Rights) require treaty amendments  one big change that might be achievable without referendums is creation of EU foreign minister by inter-governmental agreement - but that could be politically tricky; after the French and Dutch votes, anything that looks like elite-driven attempt to circumvent popular will is out of the question Cherry-picking?  popular idea with federalists is for a “hard core” led by France and Germany to press ahead with closer political union  common points in German and French positions might encourage this (further enlargement, for example, plus historical motivations)  but France’s Jacques Chirac now politically diminished and Germany’s Gerhard Schröder likely to lose the German election in September The "Hard Core" option?

17 Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 17 The Disunited States of Europe? The EU summit of July, 2005  Around midnight on Friday, the meeting broke up in acrimony and disagreement.  Jean-Claude Juncker, the prime minister of Luxembourg, who had been chairing the summit, told journalists that Europe is now in “deep crisis”.  Jacques Chirac, the president of France, echoed these words and placed the blame for the meeting’s failure squarely on Britain and its prime minister, Tony Blair, whom he accused of “national egoism”.  A visibly angry Mr Blair used his closing press conference to shoot back at French accusations that Britain lacked a “European spirit”, saying pointedly that “Europe isn’t owned by anybody”. He demanded a fundamental debate about the future priorities of the EU. BBC Website - July 2005

18 Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 18 The Disunited States of Europe?  If France cannot regain the initiative in Europe through a joint venture with Germany, it may become increasingly curmudgeonly in its dealings with the EU.  This would be bad news for future enlargement of the club.  Even Bulgaria and Rumania, which have signed accession treaties, could find the doors bolted at the last moment (French parliament still has to ratify Bulgarian and Romanian membership)  omens worse for Turkey, due to start membership talks with the EU in October; powerful lobbies in both France and Germany against Turkey's membership  French may make trouble on other issues too: opposing British rebate and further liberalization  If France becomes negative and nationalistic, other countries will follow its lead …. National Egoism on the rise?

19 Thursday, 01 September 2005 Chris SNUGGS, ISUGA 19 So, Europe is split, but at least is not at war ….. The Disunited States of Europe?


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