"Goodbye treaty, goodbye Chirac"


The French have said "no" to the EU constitution, and if the exit polls are to be believed, by a significant margin. "For France," writes Britain's Times, "this is turmoil." As for Chirac, the Times thinks that "it surely signals the end."

What this means for the continuing redefinition of "Europe" is hard to read, since parts of the French right and the French left opposed the constitution for quite different reasons. But the Dutch seemed poised to vote "no" as well, and it remains to be seen if the Brits bother to have their scheduled vote at all.

The EU itself probably won't be much changed on a day-to-day basis, since it already ignores any standing rules that are inconvenient. "You have only to look at the scrapping, in effect, over the past 15 months, of the financial rules supposed to govern the eurozone. Although these are a central part of the constitution, France and Germany have found them inconveniently tough," notes the Times.

The EU's greatest problem? "[T]he depth of disagreement between members over its goals."