Opposition to ratification of the EU constitution has surged in France, the Washington Times reports. Indeed, the latest poll shows that 51 percent of French voters intend to vote against that constitution in a referendum that will occur in 10 weeks.
The change in public sentiment (six months ago only 31 percent opposed the constitution) is the result of a change in attitude on the part of the left. Originally, most opponents were on the right. They worried, I imagine, about giving up additional sovereignty and transferring power from French bureaucrats (who are bad enough) to European bureaucrats. This opposition would never have been sufficient to defeat the constitution. But now major elements of the left have joined in, based on the concerns leftists worry about, such as the transfer of jobs to low-cost Eastern European countries. And, of course, qualms about the possible entry of Turkey into the EU cannot be overlooked in explaining opposition from both sides.
The rejection of the EU constitution by France would certainly be a blow to the EU project. However, without wanting to sound too Hegelian about this, this project has the aura of inevitability. Pesky voters in various countries have delivered set-backs to the project before, and the result is always to persevere nonetheless. But once the voters respond “correctly,” they are locked in forever.
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