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Eurosceptic Bloggers

Friday, April 22, 2005

Spinning Away

When I need to see what the enemy is thinking, I read articles from The Centre for European Reform. They are a little nervous at present due to events in France, but they are trying to be positive about it all.
Should, as recent polls suggest, the French vote non to ratifying the European Constitution on May 29, there is no reason to imagine the EU won’t emerge from that experience stronger once again.
It may well happen, but there is actually plenty of reason to think that it might not. But in case we interpret a no in the wrong way, we are told what it means.
A French no will not be a vote against the EU, but the result of a clash between social integrationists and liberal expansionists.
Which seems true enough to me, based on who is planning to vote no. In my opinion however, this is the reason why the first assertion is wrong. The UK and many of the new members see the EU as an economic body. The French among others see it as a political club. Neither now has a chance of really winning the argument.
Today, the debate over “Europe, right or wrong” is ending. That choice is being replaced by a battle between “Europe, right or left.”
This seems to me to be an overly optimistic (From a Federast point of View). “Europe” was not appearing very much on the radar in traditionally pro countries, so there was little debate. Europe Left or Right, can very easily turn into Europe Right or Wrong. The referendum campaigns have awakened something dormant, that will make the case for further integration ever more difficult.
Should France’s “No” campaigners succeed, there is still reason for optimism. That’s because the best bits of the constitution will probably survive.
The tectonic plates have moved and this is not Ireland we are talking about. Even getting agreement on which restaurant to eat lunch in will be difficult after this. Any such agreement would come under intense scrutiny in countries where the populace was not able to give their verdict. In the UK, us Eurosceptics will be spitting with rage at the lost opportunity to give our verdict on ever closer union. But what of the position of France?
The only thing that will be destroyed by France’s voting no will be its claims to a leadership role within Europe.
Which will in turn totally screw up plans for further integration. Having got used to getting its own way, there is a chance that France will slide very quickly into Euro scepticism. At the very least, French Politicians will have to fight their corner harder than ever, against opponents who see no benefit in rolling over for them. Concessions made in the run up to the vote are actually debts owed by France to its partners. A no vote guarantees that they will not be repaid. It is obvious that our interests far from converging are diverging faster than ever. If the French reject further integration so as to protect a system that many Europeans see as failed and out of date, there is very little reason to expect future agreements to even be possible. That is why, despite my wish to cast my own no vote in 2006 (actually I’d like to cast it in 2005 but the Conservatives are unlikely to win the election) I am hoping that the French Voters will perform the task for us.

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