EU president: Vote until it is RIGHT

Thursday, May 26, 2005

EU president Jean-Claude Juncker calls for a repetition of the French vote on the EU constitution in the case that the latest polls, which show 53 to 54 percent of the French rejecting the EU constitution, will come true on Sunday, according to the FT. He told the Belgian daily Le Soir, "if at the end of the ratification process, we do not manage to solve the problems, the countries that would have said No, would have to ask themselves the question again." Juncker stressed the point that a No in France or the Netherlands, which votes on the constitution next Wednesday, would be a disaster. The EU president himself does not get elected but is nominated by the member governments.
French premier Jean-Pierre Raffarin had said on Wednesday that there would be no second referendum in the case of a negative outcome. His statements followed speculation that France may organise a second referendum in case the constitution is rejected by a small margin. But "in France's democracy, there is no such thing as a 'little yes' and a 'little no'," Raffarin said. "What matters is victory. Be it 'yes' or 'no', the result cannot be contested. That's democracy", he added. President Jaques Chirac asked the French nation to say "yes" to the constitution in a presidential address on French TV.
The "yes" camp is headed by the leaders of the political establishment: president Jacques Chirac and his supporters in the Union for a Popular Movement (UMP), and the "free market" liberal Union for the French Democracy (UDF), which also belongs to the government camp, on the one side, and the leadership of the Socialist Party under Francois Hollande on the other. Also prominent in the official "yes" camp is the Green Party.
The Socialist Party, which was once regarded as the most prominent French pro-Europe party, is deeply split over the referendum. Former prime minister Laurent Fabius, a right-winger in the party establishment, as well as deputies Henri Emmanuelli and Jean Luc Melenchon, who are both regarded as belonging to the left of the party, are campaigning for a "no" vote. In an internal party vote over the issue at the end of last year, 40 percent of the membership voted against the constitution. The "no"-camp calls for a revised constitution, where the free market liberal economic bias and anti-social character would be given less prominence.
British government officials refused to discuss possible scenarios that could arise in the wake of the French and Dutch ballots.
In the House of Commons, Tony Blair, the prime minister, stressed the UK would not ratify any constitutional treaty without a referendum. He said if any country voted No to the constitution, the issue would first have to be discussed by EU heads of government to find "the way forward".
Less attention is given to the Dutch vote, although polls there vary widely. The constitution has to be ratified by all member states.
The outcome of the referendum is seen as a key to the strength of the Euro in currency markets. The initial reaction could be muted as there is a bank holiday in Britain on Monday. London is the leading currency trading centre in Europe, with Frankfurt being a distant second. But the Euro took a dive already today, marking a seven-month low against the dollar just above 1.25 dollars. European share markets all traded higher today, except for Belgium.


Wikinvest Wire