Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Euroskepticism grows in the land of Brie

By Aussiegirl

Euroskepticism grows even in the land of Brie. If the French fail to pass the constitution, it may be done for. Maybe sense is starting to leak in at the edges of even the Euros. Hard to imagine that anything would be criticized as too "liberal" in that land of liberal extremes, but then we are not really sure what that word means in their context.

The Financial Times has the run-down:

Poll shows French cooling on EU treaty

France's political elite was stunned on Friday by an opinion poll that showed for the first time a majority of voters opposed the European Union constitutional treaty.

Jacques Delors, former president of the European Commission, warned of a "political cataclysm" if France voted No to the constitution in a national referendum on May 29.

However, Mr Delors predicted that the Yes campaign, which has only just been launched, would ultimately prevail.

The poll of 802 people, conducted earlier this week, showed that 51 per cent of respondents would vote No if the referendum were held on Sunday. Support for the Yes campaign slumped 14 points from the previous month to 49 per cent, following a tumultuous spell in French politics.

Over the past few weeks, the unemployment rate has climbed above 10 per cent, the trade unions have staged mass protests against the government's reforms, and the finance minister has been forced to quit over a housing scandal.
President Jacques Chirac has also engaged in a public dispute with Jose Manuel Barroso, the Commission president, over a draft European services directive which the French president has labelled "unacceptable"� in its present form.

The directive, which seeks to free the European services market, has been seized upon by the No camp in France as evidence that Europe is heading in an excessively "liberal"� direction.

. . . The EU constitution, which contains new rules for the expanded union and strengthens Europe's foreign and security policy, can come into force only when all 25 members adopt it.
Mr Barroso fears French politicians are fuelling euroscepticism with their attacks on Brussels over the directive.


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