World News and Trends: French public gets no say on Europe

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French public gets no say on Europe

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Less than three years ago the French populace decisively rejected the new EU constitution. But when the same document recently reemerged with only cosmetic changes, masquerading as a mere treaty, France's parliamentarians voted for it. Without a referendum, the choice was taken away from the French citizenry.

The new president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, was blunt in giving the reasons for not allowing a referendum. Another French "no," he warned, would be "catastrophic for Europe" and could risk France's "exclusion from European integration" (Financial Times, Feb. 4, 2008). This amounts to tacit admission that the process of integration is far from complete.

U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has also refused to allow the British people a referendum on the treaty, which will cede important personal and national rights to the growing European superstate. Is the day of democracy gradually vanishing from the European scene? (Source: Financial Times.)