Statement: response to the referendum result in France
In historical terms the work delivered by the European Convention and the subsequent Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) which produced the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe can be described as qualitatively significant and a real achievement. What resulted was the product of a finely negotiated compromise and hard won consensus. As such, the final Treaty can be viewed as both relatively good or indeed lacking.
Throughout the European Union the ratification process is underway, be that by means of parliamentary debate and vote, or by a national referendum.
On Sunday 29 May 2005, France, a founding member state of the European project and a major dynamo in the process of integration, delivered a vote of …% in opposition to the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe.
This result requires careful analysis and reflection.
A public referendum always has the potential to generate a negative. In analysing the result of the French vote we must take into account a number of questions and key areas for reflection. Namely, is this result due to a poor communication of the text itself?; is it reasonable to submit the text as it stands to public plebiscite?; and was this result directed at the European Union only or was it the directed at other actors?
Evidently the Heads of State and Government will have to consider their position, especially in the face of this result. They will have to assess how political leadership can now be given to the process.
It is clear that the achievement of European integration is a precious good for Europe and for the rest of the world. It is evident that in order to face the challenges of a globalised information society creative, measured, transparent and legitimate methods of pooling sovereignty - as has evolved in the European Union – are essential to governance methods adequate for assuring a humane Europe and global future.