What part of `no' don't they understand?
Some of the 27 member states of the European Union may soon find themselves subject to institutions their people have rejected: 1 January 2009 is the final date for ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, signed by the heads of state and government in December 2007 and already ratified by
Nicolas Sarkozy once said that no true European and responsible politician could carry on as if nothing had happened after the French said no to the European constitution, that it was a message from the French people and must be heeded. But that was back in June 2006. Once he was president, he felt entitled to disregard this expression of the people's will. He has just persuaded more than 75% of French MPs to adopt a treaty that is almost identical to the Constitutional Treaty that 54.68% of French voters rejected on 29 May 2005. The Socialist Party could have demanded another referendum; it had undertaken to do so, but abandoned the idea.
In an attempt to outmanoeuvre the many British eurosceptics before the 2004 European elections, Tony Blair also promised that the people would have an opportunity to vote directly on the new basic law for the EU. But his successor as prime minister, Gordon Brown, preferred to leave it to parliament to ratify the Lisbon Treaty (1) .
The Constitutional Treaty was rejected by 62% of the
This casual brush-off is surprising when, in
François Mitterrand said in 1983 that he had two ambitions, the construction of
(1) The House of Commons voted on ratification on 21 January 2008 and the motion was carried by 362 votes to 224. The House of Lords has not yet taken a position.
(2) Sarkozy used the term "simplified" five times in his speech on 10 February. But the treaty is 287 pages long, contains 356 amendments of earlier treaties, and is accompanied by 13 protocols, 65 declarations and an annexe.
(3) Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, "The EU Treaty is the same as the Constitution", The Independent,
Translated by Barbara Wilson