SCE to AUX
- Sep 14, 2004
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It has been obvious that reruns will be the tactic if the French referendum rejects the EU Constitutional Treaty. The elitists in the Brussels Politburo know the right answer and the French people do not.
EU Call to Re-run Treaty Referendums
By John Thornhill in Paris, George Parker in Brussels and Betrand Benoit in Berlin
Published: May 25 2005 20:22 | Last updated: May 25 2005 20:22
France and the Netherlands should re-run their referendums to obtain the "right answer" if their voters reject Europe's constitutional treaty in imminent national ballots, Jean-Claude Juncker, the holder of the EU presidency, said on Wednesday.
The Luxembourg prime minister said all 25 EU member countries should continue their attempts to ratify the treaty whatever the outcome of the French and Dutch votes.
His comments reflect a mood of deepening pessimism among Europe's leaders about the outcome of the referendums.
"The countries which have said No will have to ask themselves the question again. And if we don't manage to find the right answer, the treaty will not enter into force," he said in an interview with the Belgian Le Soir newspaper.
The French and the Dutch governments have for the moment ruled out the prospect of a second referendum and hope they can win their votes on Sunday and Tuesday respectively.
Jacques Chirac, France's president, will tonight launch a last-ditch televised appeal to voters to back the treaty, which lays out new rules for the expanded EU and deepens integration.
François Bayrou, a leading Yes campaigner and president of the UDF party, said Mr Chirac should explain the high stakes involved. "The role of the president of the republic is to show the gravity of things," he said. "All modern campaigns are played out in the last hours."
Pro-constitution politicians across Europe have been sounding increasingly alarmist about the consequences of a No vote. "If the No side wins on Sunday, it will be a catastrophe for France, for Chirac, for everyone," Mr Juncker said in his interview.
Jean-Pierre Raffarin, France's prime minister, warned on Wednesday that a No vote could deter foreign investment and damage the French economy. "Do you think that a France that cuts itself off, that says No to Europe will be attractive for new investments and new jobs?" he said in a television interview. "The No to Europe would be a No to investment."
Mr Raffarin's warnings were echoed by Claude Bébéar, chairman of the supervisory board of Axa, the French insurance group, which manages $1,000bn (795bn) of assets. He said a No vote would make it more difficult for European companies to compete with rivals in the US and Asia. "A No vote is not the end of world but Europe would lose 10 years, maybe more," he told the FT.
"People who say it will be a revolution, something awful, are lying. The real problems will not happen immediately, but in the longer run," said Mr Bébéar, one of France's most influential businessmen.