High stakes in French referendum

Posters for the French European referendum, Burgundy, 2005 (picture Justinc)

By Richard Laming

Published in EUobserver, 23 May 2005

In the last week before the French people go to the polls to vote on the European constitution, the stakes are getting higher in the European debate. Let’s be clear about the EU and its pioneering political role – the European Parliament is the embodiment of this.

In a piece published in last week’s EUobserver, Susan George was strongly critical of the constitution. While she is to be applauded for her work on the debt crisis and the unequal distribution of wealth and income in the world, her analysis of the EU is just plain wrong.

For example, she writes that the European Commission is “almost completely without responsibility to the Parliament.”

That would be news to Rocco Buttiglione. He was a national government nominee that the elected representatives of the citizens did not accept. Paul Wolfowitz, by contrast, ultra-hawk and architect of the invasion of Iraq, provoked an even greater storm of protest when he was nominated as new president of the World Bank, but nevertheless took up his post. Where was the parliamentary accountability? Where were the debates? Where were the votes?

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