Sunday, 2 April 2006


At a lecture at the London School of Economics last week former French President and chief drafter of the EU Constitution Valéry Giscard d’Estaing argued unequivocally that “The rejection of the Constitution was a mistake which will have to be corrected.” He said, “The Constitution will have to be given its second chance”, and joked, “Everyone makes mistakes.” He said the French people voted No out of an “error of judgement” and “ignorance”, and insisted that “In the end, the text will be adopted.”

Referring to the second referendums on Europe that have taken place in the past in Ireland and Denmark, Giscard said, “if the Irish and the Danes can vote Yes in the end, so the French can do it too.” He said arrogantly, “It was a mistake to use the referendum process, but when you make a mistake you can correct it.”

Plans to resurrect the rejected EU Constitution – whether in whole or in bits – are now well and truly under way. With only a handful of countries unsure about bringing the Constitution back, and determined EU leaders negotiating to compromise on the way forward, it is only a matter of time before the same text in a different format will be on the agenda of the European Council. In a recent poll of politicians, business leaders, NGOs and officials in Europe 70 percent said they believed bringing back bits of the Constitution would not be “undemocratic”. At the beginning of its EU presidency Austria said “We must respect the French and the Dutch No votes but also the decision of those who have ratified the treaty.” Clearly this sentiment has been forgotten.

See… for a summary of the efforts now under way in each EU Member State to sell the Constitution to voters.