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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What now folks?<br><br>
"Constitution he so strongly supports, defeating the document by a margin of 55 percent to 45 percent.<br><br>
"The loss meant that the European Constitution, which was designed to ease the running of the expanded 25-nation European Union, cannot go into effect. EU rules required unanimous support from all 25 countries.<br><br>
"The constitution envisioned more political unity, including a movement toward Europe speaking with one voice on foreign policy."<br><br>
More here:<br><a href="http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/11770796.htm?template=contentModules/printstory.jsp" target="_blank">http://www.realcities.com/mld/krwash...printstory.jsp</a><br><br>
Nice going France! Methinks you've made Dubya Inc. happy for a little while.
 

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Giscard D'Estain was in favor of the Constitution and had urged the Frenchmen to vote yes.
 

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from what I read it was the liberals that voted non. because it wasen't LIBERAL enough. Not that they don't want the EU, they just didn't l like the one they were voting on. Its not over!<br><br>
V.
 

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Our understanding of it was that the French didn't like the fact that there was so much decided without their concent - esp. the recent admittance of some of the poorer countries into the EU, and the French were reacting to the power play moreso then any other aspects.<br><br>
Now the Brits have put the pressure on Holland for the whole issue of the constitution - if the buttery Woodenshoers don't pass it they won't bring it up themselves and so much is at stake here. very interesting . . . bringing up the question - is the EU ever really going to be a threat to the US?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Curandera</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><b>Our understanding of it was that the French didn't like the fact that there was so much decided without their concent - esp. the recent admittance of some of the poorer countries into the EU, and the French were reacting to the power play moreso then any other aspects.</b></div>
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This is my understanding, as well. In addition, I keep hearing that a big concern of the opposition is that France would be forced to move more toward capitalism (which is why I find it surprising that the Socialist Party was in support of ratification).<br><br>
It's hard to say whether or not the EU will ever be able to significantly impact US policy (I don't really care for the word "threat" - too adversarial <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">). My guess is it will - particularly on social issues, which the EU already deals with infinitely better than we or most any other country/organization (including the UN) does. Also, the EU is set to open up discussions on Turkey's candidacy again soon and, if Turkey is admitted, I imagine that could change the dynamic considerably.
 

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I think one of the biggest reasons why the French (including my French dh) voted 'non' is because there are still so many economic discrepancies between the EU countries (salary differences between say, Portugal and France can be up to 40%!!!) and many French (and Dutch) citizens don't see any real benefits of EU membership. Sure, it's been great for countries like Greece, Ireland, Spain and Portugal, but it really comes down to the fact that countries like the UK, Germany, and France pay a lot of money for economic development of these 'poorer' countries and then see their salaries, purchasing power and standard of living decrease. Most of those opposed to the EU Consitution would have liked to see an EU minimum wage guarantee, and a few other social and economic issues DISCUSSED and negotiated.<br>
Most of the EU supporter in France were from the upper middle classes or richer classes - the 'elite' from which most of the Brussels bureaucracy derives (okay, the US is the same...).<br>
DH would like to see the EU have two legislative chambers, instead of one (I mean, the Parliament now meets half the time in Brussels and half in Strasbourg - so they've already got two buildings!), kind of in the same spirit as the House of Reps in the US and the Senate. This way, the smaller and larger countries each feel that they have certain weight in decision making.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Hollycrand</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">IDH would like to see the EU have two legislative chambers, instead of one (I mean, the Parliament now meets half the time in Brussels and half in Strasbourg - so they've already got two buildings!), kind of in the same spirit as the House of Reps in the US and the Senate. This way, the smaller and larger countries each feel that they have certain weight in decision making.</div>
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I'm a little confused by this. My understanding is that the EU already has two bodies with the power to legislate - the European Council and the Parliament. The Council consists of all the Heads of States plus the President of the European Commission and meets at least twice a year to work on policy. The (President of the Commission is appointed by the member states.)<br><br>
In addition, the Commission can initiate draft legislation and is responsible for negotiating international agreements on behalf of the EU - so they, too, have the ability (in a sense) to legislate.<br><br>
(That said, these are just the mechanics - I'm sure there are problems in the structure's application with people feeling under-represented.)<br><br>
The EU really has an interesting structure that, IMO, has the potential to be a heck of a lot more effective for its people than does our screwed up system here in the U.S.<br><br>
Am I understanding, though, that the no-voters in France just aren't happy about being part of the EU at all? If so, and if for the reasons that you say, it may be that there's not much that they could do with the Constitution that would assuage their concerns and still preserve the integrity of the Union (at least not that I can see, but I'm happy to have my eyes opened! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">). After all, a union is just that - entities looking out for one another. Most often, that means financially and the burden is always going to fall on those with a higher GNP to pull the lesser fortunate countries along.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Dutch voters give the Constitution a bigger thumping:<br><br>
"Dutch voters overwhelmingly rejected the European Union constitution Wednesday, delivering what could be a knockout blow for the charter roundly defeated just days ago by France.<br><br>
"Less than an hour after the polls closed, Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende conceded defeat in his campaign to ratify the constitution and said the government would respect the results of the referendum.<br><br>
***<br><br>
"The state broadcaster NOS said that with nearly three-quarters of the results counted, the constitution was losing by a vote of 62 percent to 39 percent, an even worse defeat than the 55 percent "no" vote in France's referendum Sunday."<br><br>
More here:<br><a href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050601/ap_on_re_eu/netherlands_eu_referendum_17&printer=1" target="_blank">http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20050601/...m_17&printer=1</a>
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Originally posted by <b><i>Dragonfly</i></b><br>
My understanding is that the EU already has two bodies with the power to legislate - the European Council and the Parliament. The Council consists of all the Heads of States plus the President of the European Commission and meets at least twice a year to work on policy. The (President of the Commission is appointed by the member states.)</td>
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You're half right. The European Council consists of the Heads of States, but the President of the Commission is currently rotational between all member states, changing every six months. This causes a lot of confusion, with the Heads of States acting more like a part of the executive branch (in the US sense) than a part of the legislative branch.<br>
That said, there is no system of checks and balances between the Council and Parliament and currently the Parliament doesn't have much clout against the Council and Commission. Have I lost you?<br>
You're probably more informed about EU structure than even most Europeans.<br>
I think most French (and also Dutch, now that they've voted 'NO' against the EU Constition as well...even though that was just a consultative vote and the Dutch Parliament has the last word, as usual) really WANT Europe and are pro-European in the sense of European economic partnership (free trade zones, the EURO), free movement of labour (at least in the seasoned 15 EU members) and recognition of diplomas and education. However, now that there are 25 members of the EU many of the larger countries and possibly 'richer' countries that have traditionally had clout in European affairs are afraid of losing that influence to some overpaid elite bureaucrats in Brussels (because that is how the Commission and Parliament members are seen). I don't think either the French nor the Dutch were voting against Europe itself. IMO they would like some further discussion on some fine points and perhaps another proposal of an EU Constitution.<br>
Something positive can really come out of all of this...I think maybe some serious discussions will start in all the countries about what they want in a Constitution, and then people will perhaps start paying attention to the Parliamentary elections the next time they occur (I don't have the date in my hand off-hand) and increase the voter turnout (which has, until now been a meager 20%).<br><br>
As to whether the EU policies and rejection of this Constitution will influence US foreign policy...um...that's one of the major points that the countries are disagreeing on in terms of a coherent EU foreign policy.<br>
It's just too hard to forget the past 600 years of modern history, and especially the two World wars (which were fought on European soil) have scarred many generations. I think my generation (growing up in the 80s) is the first generation that sees itself as really 'European', but the ones in power were children during WWII (mostly), which affects a lot of decisions made, etc.<br>
I could go on and on about that subject, but it's getting a bit off topic.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Hollycrand</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">That said, there is no system of checks and balances between the Council and Parliament and currently the Parliament doesn't have much clout against the Council and Commission. Have I lost you? [/b]</div>
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Not at all. Thank you for explaining that! I'd be really interested to know more about the above, actually - specifically why the Parliament is relatively deficient in power.<br><br><b></b>
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">However, now that there are 25 members of the EU many of the larger countries and possibly 'richer' countries that have traditionally had clout in European affairs are afraid of losing that influence to some overpaid elite bureaucrats in Brussels (because that is how the Commission and Parliament members are seen).</td>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nod.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nod"> Makes sense. Much like our government, actually.<br><br><b></b>
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Something positive can really come out of all of this...I think maybe some serious discussions will start in all the countries about what they want in a Constitution, and then people will perhaps start paying attention to the Parliamentary elections the next time they occur (I don't have the date in my hand off-hand) and increase the voter turnout (which has, until now been a meager 20%).</td>
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I agree. And I sincerely hope that this happens. What the EU does well, it does <b>extremely</b> well and could serve as an excellent model for other multi-national entities (and also for my country, should we ever actually stop broadcasting for a few minutes and open our eyes and ears to input).
 

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I'm am just sure that I read in the book of revelations that this was going to happen. Yes sir, this is a clear sign that the end of coming.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Dragonfly</strong></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">This is my understanding, as well. In addition, I keep hearing that a big concern of the opposition is that France would be forced to move more toward capitalism (which is why I find it surprising that the Socialist Party was in support of ratification).<br><br>
It's hard to say whether or not the EU will ever be able to significantly impact US policy (I don't really care for the word "threat" - too adversarial <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">). My guess is it will - particularly on social issues, which the EU already deals with infinitely better than we or most any other country/organization (including the UN) does. Also, the EU is set to open up discussions on Turkey's candidacy again soon and, if Turkey is admitted, I imagine that could change the dynamic considerably.</div>
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I wrote alot last night and lost it - and haven't had a chance to get back here until now. Sorry.<br><br>
What the overwhelming view I have is that France and Holland are feeling overrun with the major changes that have been occuring with the EU since the beginning - that they aren't comfortable with the new countries that have been let in and those others (esp Turkey) being considered. They are afraid, based on how they have already been affected by the influx of foreigners etc. since the EU canme into being and the changes that could additionally take place. They are concerned that they will lose that which is uniqe about their culture and disapear under all the other EU countries.<br><br>
My personal POV is also one of caution as well. The US as a melting pot of many cultures has been kept together by laws, and a desire to be financially better off, whereas there is a stronger sense of self in the nidividual European countries that keeps them together and THAT is slowly fading away. Being a part of a big EU could diminish the individual sense of heritage and move them even closer the US sesne of life - based more on values that are unrelated to their history.<br><br><br>
I gotta go, sorry to ramble and split . .
 
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