European Union

France: What Part of 'No' Don't They Understand?

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Opposition to the EU has shocked the French right.

A joyful No.' This was how dissident Socialist Party deputy Jean-Luc Mélenchon summed up the remarkable campaign that has developed against the proposed constitutional treaty for the European Union, the subject of a referendum in France on 29 May.

Mélenchon was speaking at a 6,000-strong meeting organised by the French Communist Party in Paris last month. It brought together as broad a platform of speakers from the left as any meeting held in France over the past decade.

Referendum Poses the Wrong Question

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As jingoistic anti-EU rhetoric abounds, Andrew Stone looks for the real arguments.

Barely a week after elections to the European Parliament delivered a stinging rebuke to government parties - with the largest parties in 23 out of the 25 EU member countries suffering a drop in their share of the vote - ministers from these parties agreed the text of a 330-page EU constitution. It provoked the right wing press into apoplectic jingoism, which Tony Blair countered by wrapping himself in the Union Jack and boasting of 'red line' British issues defended from the continentals.

Europe: Enter at your Peril

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Tony Blair's government was due to announce the result of the Treasury's 'five economic tests on the euro' on 9 June, after bitter rows within New Labour.

We have come a long way since the Tories seemed to have a monopoly on being torn apart by arguments over the euro and Europe. Labour's official policy is that it will call a referendum and then argue for entry if it is 'in Britain's economic interest to do so'. The problem is that this supposedly 'economic' judgement on the five tests is in fact also about politics. And there are three deep splits behind the reluctance either to decisively reject the euro or to leap into the unknown of a referendum.

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