OPINION

The people say ‘no’ to European treaty

…Prior to last Sunday’s referendum in France, the French had been involved in an intensive debate over the content and underlying philosophy of the European Constitution and the horizons it would open for Europe, and for France within Europe. Political parties, organizations and the mass media did their best to inform the French public of the pros and cons of the treaty in question and the situation it would create if it eventually came into effect. And within such a variety of opinions and assessments, citizens could form their own opinions before casting their votes. Nevertheless, it would be naive to suppose that all the French citizens who voted had gained a comprehensive and detailed insight into the constitution and the prospects that its implementation would hold in store. It would be equally naive to maintain that the French voted exclusively on the basis of domestic political issues, namely that they wanted to punish Jacques Chirac and the French government. It is most likely that most French said «no» less to the European treaty than to the general elements of the European Union, which appears to be run by market concerns and technocrats rather than «the people» as its founders had envisaged…