When France Says No

Twice France initiated historic treaties with other nations in Europe and twice France backed away from its own proposals. Nöelle Lenoir, France’s former minister of European affairs, compares France’s 1954 rejection of the treaty to establish a European Defense Community with the 2005 referendum rejecting the EU constitutional treaty. “Those in France who opposed the EU constitution succeeded in stigmatizing ‘Europe’ as the threat,” she writes. The French, by lacking self-confidence and voting “no” to the constitution, criticized Europe’s single-market system and EU enlargement, both of which have enriched France. Lenoir concludes, “Europeans need to recognize that strength lies in unity, and that Europe’s integration cannot be guaranteed without a common constitutional framework that promotes a common identity.” Nations that can move beyond national sovereignty, their citizens taking action without populism and fear of competition, will be ready to lead in solving the most pressing problems confronting the world today. – YaleGlobal

When France Says No

Nöelle Lenoir
Tuesday, March 27, 2007

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Nöelle Lenoir is France’s former minister of European affairs.

Copyright: Project Syndicate/Europe’s World, 2007. www.project-syndicate.org