by Jerome a Paris
Mon May 29th, 2006 at 04:50:09 AM EST
Despite arguments by some on this site that the French "Non" to the EU Constitution brought in a welcome period of paralysis at a time when neo-liberal ideas dominate in Brussels, I continue to think that this vote was an unmitigated disaster:
- whatever the "non" voters say, the idea of Europe as a political project has suffered a terrible blow. The "non" is seen as a vote against Europe, and, coming from 2 core countries, legitimises anti-European speech everywhere; the very dream of Europe has been ridiculed for a number of years.
- We are left exactly with what the "non" voters feared, i.e. an opaque technocratic body focused on free-trade and markets and little else. Democratic institutions like the European Parliament will not get the boost they were due. In the absence of political momentum, technocratic deregulation influenced by lobbies is all we'll get - and they are hard at work. Europe has a lot of regulatory power and it is still being used as it needs little political capital, and it is not being used to further a social, democratic Europe..
- the neo-liberals and eurosceptics are pushing their advantage. They are claiming the mantle of the good "pro-Europeans", focusing on their purely economic "reform" agenda. The fact that they are crowing should make it clear who lost with the death of the Constitution.
- the "non" forces have no project, no counter proposal, and no power. But they are fully responsible for the rise of nationalist politics in various places, and the zero-sum game logic (which the "non" side is of course losing) now overwhelming European discussions.
Chirac is still there. France is treated (quite deservedly) like a sick joke. Europe is withering away.
Well done, guys.