"Goodbye treaty, goodbye Chirac"

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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."

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  1. Who’d have thunk we’d have the French to thank for taking down an oppressive regime?

    This hasn’t happened since Yorktown.

  2. Its sort of like that saying about a broken clock being right twice a day; but in the case of France, being right twice every three centuries.

  3. “For France,” writes Britain’s Times, “this is turmoil.”

    Ah, isn’t that one of the things the French live for? Or is that the Italians?

  4. Nous sommes trahis!

  5. One thing I find strange about the EU is that it seems to have a lot of authority over internal affairs (e.g. economic policy), but each EU country retains considerable discretion on foreign policy (e.g. France bitterly opposed the Iraq war, Poland sent troops). That’s the opposite of most federal systems, in which the states/provinces/cantons/whatever retain at least some amount of control over internal affairs but much less control over foreign and military policy.

  6. Chirac’s a wily bastard. I wouldn’t be writing his obit quite yet.

  7. On the other hand, both the radical Left and the radical Right opposed it, which is normally a sign that something is a good idea. Bottom line though is what Polish Plumber wrote: The French like their benefits and their short working hours, and don’t want any harder-working-for-lower-benefits folks coming in and taking their jobs. Which, come to think of it, resembles … hmm.

  8. Edit: The notion…

  9. Amusing that the majority of voters there can’t seem to connect the dots between the lack of free markets and a 10% unemployment rate.

  10. I can almost hear some Frenchmen in a slepy little mountain town complaining of the open immigration:

    “Ils ont emporte nos travails!”

    And then having a big orgy!

  11. whoops, slepy=sleepy

  12. The most obvious thing they were voting for when they voted ‘non’ was local control of government. It’s really really hard to see this as a bad thing (although depending on policies pursued one or other choices might have been better economically).

  13. In a nutshell, if the French had ratified that boondoggle we’d all be bashing them for that, and since they didn’t ratify that boondoggle we bash them because they had impure motives.

  14. Oh, dear, I just wrote consecutive posts in defense of the French.

    If I start accusing people of being liars whenever there’s the tiniest inconsistency in a post, do me a favor and shoot me. Please.

  15. Thoreau,
    I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think that I would assume that them catching onto free market is an anti American plot.

    I think I’d actually be very pleased about it (I tend to see the good in most things).

    I would consider that succesfully completing step 1. Step two would be erradicating the French language and having them all speak English.

  16. “Oh, dear, I just wrote consecutive posts in defense of the French.”

    It’s cool, but the proper format for beginning a vein like that would be to start by accusing me of being a bigot.

  17. It’s cool, but the proper format for beginning a vein like that would be to start by accusing me of being a bigot.

    My bad. If I ever do go over the deep end I’ll be sure to call you a bigot. I’m not sure what you’ve done that’s bigoted, but I’m sure if I dig deep enough I can find something to misconstrue that way.

  18. Edit: …voting no…

  19. tellement longtemps, et mercis de tous les poissons

  20. Who cares why they voted no, being that the EU is a cynical concept in the first place. Either the idea of the EU is to prop up failing economies or it is to further support successful economies at the expense of lesser ones. (Or more likely prop up failing econmies at the expense of even worse economies.)

    And on top of this it’s still viewed as a handful of multinational corporations pullng the strings to curry favor. Corporate swine versus nationalist swine. An EU economic constitution would only foment further hatred of foreigners.

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