Thursday, June 02, 2005

Oui to Democracy?

It's been an interesting week in Europe as both France and the Netherlands - founding members of the EU - both rejected the new EU constitution.

The interesting thing is that generally the vote was not seen as a rejection of the constitution, but as a rejection of certain EU practices and their governments themselves. However, despite these setbacks Brussels still plans to go ahead and ratify the constitution (all or in part) which I think is a mistake. Brussels can take this defeat and certainly learn from it. The 'No' vote is not a complete rejection of the EU, but a recognition that many aspects of the EU are starting to be rejected; namely burdensome bureaucracy and too-rapid expansion. If Brussels takes this vote and largely ignores it, it will shake the faith in the EU framework.

I personally feel that a 'Yes' vote is best for Europe overall. However, a 'No' vote is a victory for democracy and ironically the EU itself - it shows the system works and does listen to its citizens. Forcing ratification in spite of this will demonstrate the opposite and will seriously weaken faith in the EU framework.

It's been hard to find decent analysis of the subject, and as I find articles that articulate the issues faced I will add them, but here's a start:

The Independent: Hamish McRae in Amsterdam: Sun shines on Dutch but the economic shadows lengthen

1 comment:

Jason Prini said...

I found this article on expatica. Seems the Balkenende government is not too popular... when's the next election? Last one was in Jan 2003, so I guess 2007?