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Eurosceptic Bloggers

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Private Club for France

Kimmo Kiljunen who was a Member of the European Convention drafting the European Constitution has these inestimable pearls of wisdom for us.

The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe is, as the name says, an international treaty and legal in nature. It replaces all existing Founding Treaties with a new one and can only be abolished by agreement between all the parties concerned. Otherwise they will remain in force. So there is nothing to worry about. If Britain or Finland, for example, were to reject the Constitution, it would simply vanish. The whole project would come to a halt, and the efforts made would have been wasted. Life would go on as usual under the existing Founding Treaties. Is this really what would happen?
Let me see if I can guess what is coming next. No do not tell me I want to guess. Ok I give up.
But the Convention led by Giscard d'Estaing did allow for contingencies. At the end of the Constitution a declaration was attached stating: "If, two years after the signature of the treaty amending the Treaty establishing the Constitution, four fifths of the Member States have ratified it and one or more Member States have encountered difficulties in proceeding with ratification, the matter shall be referred to the European Council." This is abundantly clear. The UK might reject the Constitution but cannot prevent France and Germany from ratifying it.
So, forgive me if I misunderstood. Basically a document designed by a former French President will go into force if Britain rejects it or not if rejected by France. Seems perfectly reasonable to me.
If the opposing member state is a small one , or even eurosceptic Britain. It would be forced to draw conclusions: it would be looking at some sort of associate membership, observer status or, ultimately, withdrawal from the Union.
So the line of the Euro fanatic faced with almost certain annihilation in a referendum is, vote yes or we will throw you out. It is the only possible strategy they have. The weakness of this strategy is that the UK voters have the opportunity to call their bluff. We all know that we will probably have a second chance to make the RIGHT decision, so voting no is the lowest risk option. If they decide to throw us out and that scares us, we can always change our minds. If we vote yes, we will never know what other options might have been offered to us.
So, voters in France, in contrast to voters in Britain or small member states will be answering different questions in the referenda: the former will be deciding the fate of the Constitution, the latter will be deciding their own fate in the Union.
Only a dyed in the wool Euro Ostrich could fail to notice the stupidity in that comment. We constantly complain that the EU is France s private plaything and that there is nothing in it for us. In reply the answer we get is.... Whatever the UK says does not matter, the decision is France s alone to make.

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