Towards A Good Samaritan World

Sunday, May 29, 2005


Not likely-- but France just voted "no" to the Constitution. At the least, that destroys any momentum for "ever closer union." The noes won by a wider margin than polls had suggested:

As the polls closed, the French Interior Ministry said the no camp had 57.26 percent, compared to 42.74 for yes, with nearly 83 percent of the votes counted.

The EU can function without the constitution. However, a lot of the current political architecture of the EU was established with very little popular legitimation. The Dutch never voted on the euro. Only a very narrow majority in France voted for the Maastricht Treaty in 1992, and that despite the unanimous and vocal support of the political establishment and the press. Therefore, the vote against the referendum may also be, in part, a vote against the euro and other aspects of the European project.

Europe's present political arrangements are unwieldy. If the pattern of electoral rebukes to the system continues, the arrangements might begin to unravel.

The bond between the peoples and the elites of Europe has been frayed by the push towards a federal Europe. Now all Europe's major country governments are unpopular-- Berlusconi, Blair, Schroeder and Chirac alike. New politicians, new programs, new agendas are needed.


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