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  • Cameron’s Negotiations: Lines in the sand and smokescreens

    20 June 2015  19:46, by Iwantout

    We can agree that the Conservatives have the biggest divisions over the EU because some of the leadership are Pro EU but the majority of party members are Eurosceptic. But as you acknowledge there are similar problems in all parties because the EU is such a divisive question. In short as I suggested, it is not just a Conservative problem.

    I am not sure you can claim that people are against the EU because the EU is blamed for neo liberal policies, inequality etc in the UK. The UK electorate recently returned the Conservative Government with a majority and knew full well what it stands for, reduction in size of government, larger private sector, reduced welfare etc. Indeed, rightly or wrongly, the EU is seen as a socialist entity that often constrains the free working of the UK economy / government. Given this perhaps you should accept the EU is just not popular.

    As you identify, the issue of immigration is one of the major issues related to being in the EU. Most people do understand that whilst being members of the EU we cannot control our frontiers and this fundamentally impacts on their thinking. As such membership of the EU and uncontrolled migration are inextricably intertwined, as you say migration is pretty much the top political issue in the UK. Ignore it at your peril.

    None of us know what the EU will offer the UK and as you say they have the right to ignore us, but we already have numerous opt outs. The mind-set, certainly from the UK side and I suspect from the EU, is that further opt outs can be provided to allow the EU to progress as it wishes. These may arrive prior to the referendum or when new steps for integration are taken, but they are inevitable and were explicitly accepted as such in paragraph 27 European Council Communique 26/27 June 2014. “The UK raised some concerns related to the future development of the EU. These concerns will need to be addressed. In this context, the European Council noted that the concept of ever closer union allows for different paths of integration for different countries, allowing those that want to deepen integration to move ahead, while respecting the wish of those who do not want to deepen any further."

    The last line kills “ever closer union” with regards to the UK. Thus far and no further.


    As you say, the best you seem to be able to hope for is that the vote will settle matters for a while.

  • Cameron’s Negotiations: Lines in the sand and smokescreens

    20 June 2015  15:28, by Milo Barnett

    Cameron I will cede doesn’t want his party talking about Europe and tearing itself apart,yet by having a referendum he forces other parties to take a stand and where will divisons in there ones to. Yet this will also be controlled chaos as it wouldn’t be sporadic and it will not be an open rebellion as shown by EEC referendum.

    I will agree that all parties have a degree of a European problem, in so far as not all MP’s and supporters back there currents stands on Europe. Yet the Conservatives have it far worse as many of there MP’s and supporters actively go against Cameron and his position making him look weak,though the referendum allows all parties to be forced to have these open divisons.

    Cameron was certainly in no position to go against his promise, yet I wouldn’t say there was large scale public at the EU itself. These people disliked the EU but large section of anger people had last parliament and beyond as been down to changing nature of the economy, neo-liberal economics and system which works for the few. The EU is an easy place for the media and other to blame all these problems on because it appears at first glance to faceless buercracy. People don’t often hear about what the EU does and Cameron feeds on this as well he’d rather they get blamed than his government. The dislike of the EU is more linked to other issues like immigration rather the sovereignty question. This can be shown when you ask people what issues are important to them they rank immigration near the top and the EU itself near the bottom

    Even though Cameron wants these, he is unlikely to get them. His belegirent attitude as annoyed many European leaders and with issues such as Greece on the agenda, they will ignore him. They will do this as they know Cameron has to have a referendum and so are not going to indulge him by giving the UK even more op-out which many countries are annoyed at us for.

    I believe this issue will settle it for a while and unlike with EEC referendum there wouldn’t be the myth that we voted for something different, people know what the EU is and so they have choice to stay or go.

  • Cameron’s Negotiations: Lines in the sand and smokescreens

    18 June 2015  19:04, by Iwantout

    You argue that Cameron launched the referendum for Conservative Party reasons. You ignore it is a nightmare for him, he wants the Party to “stop banging on about Europe” and wants the entire issue to go away. The EU is an issue for all Parties because of public hostility, not least due to uncontrolled migration.

    In this and other articles you suggest only the Conservatives have a problem with the EU. But all the main parties support the ‘Referendum Lock’ and Labour have now stated they were wrong not to offer an in /out referendum. Remember that in EU terms Labour is Eurosceptic, failed to join the euro and obtained numerous opt outs.

    I agree that domestic PR is a vital part of David Cameron’s travels around the EU. He is highly pro EU himself and after reneging on a previous ‘cast iron guarantee’ referendum promise had no option but to concede this vote to tackle public anger on membership. He requires something positive to show (however illusory) and this is the smokescreen.

    For your information the new chief advisor to Cameron on the EU renegotiation is Mats Perrson, a Swede until recently the Director of the Open Europe think tank. It is useful then to see what Open Europe has stated the UK should seek from the renegotiation. On the 08/06/15 they published 11 objectives

    • Treaty confirmation of the already agreed removal of ‘ever closer Union’ from the UK

    • Explicit commitment to multi currency EU

    • Safeguards for non euro states

    • Mechanism to opt in/out of future integration in non-Single Market areas such as employment, environment and justice and home affairs

    • Liberalisation of EU services, energy and digital markets

    • Faster timetable for new EU free trade agreements (FTAs)

    • Less and better quality regulations e.g. allow amendments / opt-outs to high cost regulations outside the Single Market eg Working Time Directive or the Agency Workers Directive.

    • EU budget reform particularly relating to regional and CAP funding with move towards R&D

    • Balance free movement against the national responsibility for welfare “Restricting access to national welfare systems to those who have been lawfully resident for several years….rights to welfare are dependent on a contribution to their host country”

    • ‘Red card’ for national parliaments

    • Return judicial control over justice and home affairs to member states

    http://openeurope.org.uk/intelligence/britain-and-the-eu/a-blueprint-for-reform-of-the-european-union/ They comment that the EU must become ‘multi-form’ with rolling reform. This is the advice Cameron is getting and he will need to show progress to win the vote. How many of these could you support?

    The comment that a Yes vote “might settle the issue for a while” is wise. Without a fundamental change in the UK relationship with the EU the problems will merely reappear and the difficulties will start all over again

  • David Cameron’s EU negotiation – just part of a bigger nationalist picture

    15 June 2015  21:54, by Iwantout

    No one knows what Cameron is trying to ‘renegotiate’ but the following seem possible.

    No ‘ever closer Union’ for the UK. What is the big deal? There is no evidence at all of a UK majority in favour of closer ties with the EU. If you want further integration carry on, but without us.

    Benefits to be available to EU migrants only after they have paid into the system for some time. Why should a person be able to present themselves for benefits without paying in a penny ? Unless the EU wakes up to how unbelievably toxic this is as an issue it may be sufficient to gain a No vote on its own.

    Protection for non EZ countries. The UK is under represented in the EP and the QMV system (as are all large states), the EU has shown a willingness to ignore treaty protection / obligation many times previously, so what is wrong with requiring watertight protection from EZ control ?

    The ECHR is under attack from across the board here. Leading judges and Labour politicians as well as Conservatives are highly critical. The ECHR is widely seen to have strayed into politics and to be ignoring the legislation that constrains the Court itself. Amusingly the ECJ refused to allow the EU to join the ECHR in its own right as it would have subordinated the ECJ to the ECHR and that was unacceptable.

    Speaking of the law, why do you not complain that German law is superior to EU legislation (Constitutional Court ruling) and praise the UK for subordinating its law to EU legislation?

    Foreign aid, we are one of only 4 EU states who actually meet the target, why is it you never mention that? Germany, France, Belgium and any number of ‘good’ EU states fail and are actually cutting the aid they give. You do know that “counting some of the aid being diverted to the Ministry of Defence” is just following French practice?

    The referendum is based on the general election system, so no votes for EU nationals. Why is that a problem? This is a UK vote, not an EU vote. If EU nationals voted, think of the reaction to a Yes vote won by fewer than the number of EU nationals in the country (approx. 2.3m). Outright fury seems likely.

    The Conservatives pulled out of the EPP because it promotes federalism. The Conservatives do not, it would have been truly bizarre for them to stay in a group that wants something they oppose. Cameron vetoed a treaty he believed was against UK interests, he is supposed to act in UK interests.

    He calls for scrapping of unnecessary EU regulation, isn’t that what Commissioner Timmermans is now trying to do as well?

    Cameron is pro EU, he has repeatedly said he wants to stay in the EU (which is why most of us do not believe in his renegotiation) but he is being driven by power beyond his control, public opinion. Remember UKIP got more votes than the Lib/Dems and SNP combined.

  • David Cameron’s EU negotiation – just part of a bigger nationalist picture

    15 June 2015  12:07, by Richard

    Oh dear. The SNP were characterised as being narrow Nationalists because that’s what they are. No one attacked them for being Scottish - the Conservatives merely pointed out the dangers inherent in having the Union being governed by a weak Labour Party permanently dependent on the favours of the SNP, who have only two interests: Scotland and independence. The SNP would not hesitate for a second to put Scottish interests above those of the Union, and indeed would happily damage the Union as a way of engineering a second independence vote. It was not David Cameron who convinced the English of the dangers of any arrangement where the SNP held the balance of power: it was Nicola Sturgeon.

    Yes, the SNP have a veneer of “pro-Europeanism”. It did not extend to favouring the euro or Schengen though. It’s just a way of their saying “see, we’re not narrow-minded nationalists, we like Europe”. But look at any typical SNP speech; replace “Westminster” with “Brussels” and you have a carbon copy of UKIP.

    Are the Scottish Nationalists narrow-minded Nationalists? When it comes to the Union of the UK, they most certainly are. There’s a constant refrain of “people we did not elect dictating to us”, “laws we did not vote for”, “stealing our oil” and above all “if it’s bad, it’s Westminster’s fault”

    If that sounds familiar, it’s the sort of stuff Nigel Farage comes out with every day.

    As to foreign aid: may I ask how many other EU countries actually meet the .7% obligation by enshrining it into law? Why don’t you write an article about how terrible it is that Finland just slashed theirs by over 40%?

    If Cameron cut foreign aid it would be greeted with relief by the public. We do not see the value of spending £12 billion annually (a sum set to rise, as it is based on GDP) on what are often porkbarrel projects of little worth in countries who have nuclear bombs and spacecraft, whilst cutting the same amount from the disabled and children here in the UK.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    13 June 2015  12:40, by Iwantout

    Dear Giuseppe Marrosu

    Politicians can put their views forward and try to persuade, but ultimately they are there to represent the electorate. A refusal to listen to voters or knowingly making false promises is not democracy. Many of us believe for years politicians have mislead us over the EEC / EC / EU which is why they are not trusted on this matter.

    Blair tried to get the UK into the euro, he was stopped by the polls that showed insufficient public support and by the economic view that it was too dangerous without the supporting political structures.

    Regarding trade, both sides will try to maximise advantages, neither will get everything but the value is too great not to arrive at a deal. We are the largest market for the EU in the World, are you suggesting your leaders would want to damage that? E.g. the UK is the biggest market in the World for German vehicles. Even if a deal was not done, it simply makes trading with the EU the same as trading with the US or any other country and remember the UK is unique in the EU, we trade more outside the EU than inside.

    To quote the German economic commentator Wolfgang Munchau “In macro economic terms, EU membership is virtually irrelevant for a member state that is simultaneously large and not in the euro zone. The EU budget is tiny, and free trade and free capital movement would continue under any conceivable scenario. There may be reasons to stay in the EU, but whatever they are they are not macroeconomic.” Financial Times 13/01/13 (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/659572a6-5b57-11e2-9d4c-00144feab49a.html#axzz3YaLYuHZP ) Note he does not mention free movement of people.

    No I was not suggesting we would want to be like Switzerland, just saying that they have achieved far better trade deals than the EU, so could the UK negotiating for itself rather than with 27 countries. (And do you really want to be feared? Is the EU feared ?) Personally I would want to see the UK like South Korea, almost total access to the single market, none of the EU fees, no social legislation etc. You see, there are very real alternatives to those the EU tell us are available.

    “Yes I am a dreamer”, fine but dreams need to be based in reality. I would say your dreams have led directly to annual growth of 0.8% since the launch of the euro, horrific unemployment (22% for youth and 11% overall) significant social problems and yet still there is not a single agreed view on the mainland continent of how a federal state will work. Will you have the hard economic German version, the more social French version etc.?

    Quoting a deceased rich singer living in his own privileged world as a source of wisdom is fine, but I would rather look at the situation we find ourselves in.

    Clearly you and I will both campaign for a No vote in the referendum, but for opposed reasons.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    12 June 2015  20:25, by giuseppe marrosu

    Dear Mr. Iwantout, I’m still waiting to know your name. “I do not think your future can be reached by ignoring the responses of the people today.” Neither do I. In my opinion there is a democracy deficit in the EU and in many “Europhiles” and I view that as one of our worst problems. But if it is wrong for politicians to ignore public opinion it is also wrong to be dictated by it. A good politician should try to persuade voters to support the policies he/she thinks are best even when they could make him/her unpopular. Otherwise he/she is just a puppet.

    “You believe that politicians have not tried to persuade UK people to support the EU.” Did I really write that? Honestly I think that what your politicians try to sell you is your problem as a British, not mine. Citing your words, this IS an internal issue. The british have been cheated by their own politicians? Too bad for them, they should have known better.

    “We have had many senior leaders who are fervent supporters of the EU, David Cameron...” Really? All these guys were just trying to assure the UK had a strong influence in the EU so that the EU could never become so strong as to threaten the UK’s undeserved place in the world. As for Blair, I suspect that if he had spent his credibility for the Euro a tenth of what he has spent for the war on Iraq you would not have the Pound today.

    “The EU trade balance with the UK is far greater than that with Korea. Why would you not want a similar deal with us ?” I don’t know... maybe just because the trade balance is so big... both negotiating sides will try to maximize advantages. And the UK will be in a weaker position than the EU-27. Also, the UK is one of the main if not THE main pro-free trade members of the EU. A UK-free EU would not be as nice when negotiating a trade agreement as the EU that dealt with Korea. “Outside the EU we can negotiate our own trade deals, Switzerland...” So your model is Switzerland: a rich, tiny, specialized-economy, isolated and irrelevant country, trading with everyone (including drug lords, tax dodgers, dictators) and feared by no one. Good luck.

    “the bottom line is we see our relationship with the EU in terms of a cold economic cost / benefit exercise. You see it as a political dream beyond economics.”

    Yes I am a dreamer and I am proud of it. Some of us, you know, believe in something other than money.

    As an englishman said: “you may say I’m a dreamer/ but I’m not the only one/ I hope one day you will join us/ and the world will be as one”


  • Irish Marriage Equality Referendum

    12 June 2015  18:18, by duodecim stellae

    The Irish vote outcome has been a really big issue in German media. Now many people are arguing that we need gay-marriage here in Germany. So far we only have registered life partnerships, which are not 100% equal to marriage (no adoption right).

  • We Need to Talk

    12 June 2015  17:58, by duodecim stellae

    Very good article! Thumbs up from german Europe! You have some good ideas. Keep following your goals!

  • Macedonia: democracy in crisis or “democracy in bloom”?!

    12 June 2015  03:57, by Makedonetz

    It’s true lost of UN explained events but look at the timing! Perfect alignment with big business pipelines... Who has interest in these businesses Soros has been backed by all the Bush presidents Clinton Obama and a large list of media/ investor’s he robbed England’s banks pillaged in Poland helped take down USSR and also Yugoslavia... read up on him and his “friends” who profit from the loss and suffering of humans!

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    11 June 2015  21:48, by Iwantout

    Dear Giuseppe Marrosu, I believe a majority in the UK are against membership of a centralised EU state. I accept your view that this is true in other countries. I agree you (and Alexander Peters) are free to campaign for your view of the future. But I do not think your future can be reached by ignoring the responses of the people today. (Cancelling referendum results, breaching treaties, ignoring the Parliamentary D’Hondt system when voters elect eurosceptics etc)

    You believe that politicians have not tried to persuade UK people to support the EU. We have had many senior leaders who are fervent supporters of the EU, David Cameron, Tony Blair and John Major to name three. They have campaigned hard for the EU.

    Emotion does play a part in the debate and ignorance is wide spread. But no I do not think ignorance is more prevalent on the Eurosceptic side. The Pro EU side regularly makes claims that are on examination untrue, e.g. the infamous 3.5m jobs in the UK are dependent on membership, you have to be in the EU to benefit from the Single Market, the Single Market is a huge boost to the economies of member states etc. None are true and all are used to instil fear.

    So 28/10/13 Business for Britain published poll of 1000 business leaders, 46% believed cost of Brussels regulation outweighed benefits of membership, 37% thought it was worth it. Remember the average tariff for goods into the EU is 5.5% and services are tariff free, not exactly prohibitive levels. Where they are high, agriculture, we can trade much more cheaply outside the EU.

    With regards to a trade only agreement. The EU has a deal with South Korea which removed tariffs on 98.7% of all industrial and agricultural goods. No membership fees, no uncontrolled migration, no social legislation etc. The EU trade balance with the UK is far greater than that with Korea. Why would you not want a similar deal with us ?

    Outside the EU we can negotiate our own trade deals, Switzerland has some of the same deals as the EU, but they also have deals with China, Singapore, The South African Customs Union, Japan etc., the EU does not. The EU in contrast has deals with Syria, San Marino, Algeria, Central America and Andorra. Which do you think are more valuable?

    I have no love for the EU and little respect because it has consistently refused to listen to the people. When we joined the Common Market the word Union was nowhere in sight. The Government specifically said there would be no loss of sovereignty in the information leaflet they sent to every house in the country in 1975. It was sold to us as a pure business club.

    Most of us believe we give considerably more to the EU than we get back. We can argue that all day, but the bottom line is we see our relationship with the EU in terms of a cold economic cost / benefit exercise. You see it as a political dream beyond economics. It might be that that is actually the real difference between us.

    All the best.

  • Brexit: a danger for both EU and the UK

    11 June 2015  19:21, by giuseppe marrosu

    Dear Iwantout (by the way, is that your real name?!), we sure have in common the idea that people should decide democratically about their future. But that’s about the only thing we can agree on. You seem to think that, since present EU treaties rule out central decision-making, and since most European are also against, then those like me who say we should head that way are wrong and mean. Instead, I think that treaties and minds can and must be changed in the interest of the next european generations. It makes no sense forcing the public in a direction they do not agree. It reveals a deep distrust in the people and it often backfires when they totally lose confidence in their rulers. However it is also wrong to give poison to the people if they ask it, without even trying to convince them it’s bad for them. Politicians today do not defend the European project, not because they believe it is wrong, but because they are afraid they would lose votes if they did. And this not only reveals the same distrust in the people but it also shows a total lack of interest for their well-being. We both know that Pro-European ideas are unpopular. But we also know that many people are simply afraid of the new, are ill informed or do not understand what the whole thing is about. Ill informed, emotion-driven voters are on both sides, that’s sure, but be honest, don’t you think most are on yours? After a thorough, free debate, the vision would be clearer for all and there will be surprises. You say the EU should be just a free trade agreement. I say it shouldn’t and it can’t. The EU carries the dream of political union from the beginning but now it is even in the name: it used to be “European Economic Community” (makes you think of some sort of a business club). Now the U stands for Union. It is like a marriage between 28 Countries. If you have no love and respect for the rest of us and if you do not want equality between partners just leave, but don’t say you did not know what you were doing when you joined, because you just had to read the name “EU”. I also think the UK would go against its own interests in leaving the EU. You say that with a good trading agreement you will have more advantages and less headaches than you have now. But what makes you think you can negotiate a new agreement with us that is better for you than the present one? You have many privileges now, that you have negotiated as EU member with your fellows: Euro and Schengen opt-outs and the contribution rebate, while keeping voting rights, EMPs, full access to EU markets. Summing up the economic and political balances you managed to get from the EU more than you give. When you negotiate alone as a potential former EU member with 27 EU members that are not thinking of leaving, you should at the very least expect a deal where you get just the equivalent of what you give instead of more.

  • Macedonia: democracy in crisis or “democracy in bloom”?!

    11 June 2015  18:44, by Hoosier

    Since ’77. But more so after Tito passed away.

  • Macedonia: democracy in crisis or “democracy in bloom”?!

    11 June 2015  18:20, by SBogat

    Hey Hoosier,

    I’ve got a question for you - For how long have you been living in Macedonia? If not, then I have another question - For how long have you been following Macedonian politics?

    Best regards from Macedonia

  • Macedonia: democracy in crisis or “democracy in bloom”?!

    11 June 2015  18:06, by Hoosier

    Yep. How did that go yesterday with the extortionist Zaev?

  • Macedonia: democracy in crisis or “democracy in bloom”?!

    10 June 2015  14:29, by Damir

    Hey Hoosier, look at what the New Your times have to say about this, they must be paid by Soros as well.


    Kind regards from Skopje,

  • Macedonia: democracy in crisis or “democracy in bloom”?!

    10 June 2015  04:08, by Hoosier

    This article is nothing but Soros propaganda spin. It doesn’t state that the socialist opposition leader has been recorded on video demanding a bribe. So, he is desperate to destabilize the country in order to avoid jail with his party cronies.

  • Polish Presidential Elections: Analysis and Implications

    31 May 2015  00:27, by Aleksandra Sawa

    Thank you for the feedback, Michal! To address your comment: firstly, the last header is a question, as I wanted to show that I indeed doubt some of the voters know what/who they vote for. It is a fair point that you make about people voting against Duda or against Komorowski rather than FOR one of them - I briefely referred to this earlier in the article, when I said Komorowski was the ’last resort’ for some left-wing voters in the second round and also in the next paragraph when I wrote on how Komorowski focused his campaign on ’how different he was from his opponent’ in that he was not radical, especially in socio-cultural issues - aiming for those against Duda’s approach. And also when I mentioned that Duda got some additional support from the dissatisfaction of the society with recent bills of the current governement - so again, there he got the voters who voted against Komorowski and the Civic Platform. However, I didn’t want to put too much focus on this, since you can only feel this trend (of voting against rather than in favour) somehow in the atmosphere of the elections and it’s not really tangible or backed by any data (I hope you know what I mean by that). As to the second case: well, I suggested ’people voted for Kukiz’ because they did. He got 21 percent, so people DID vote for him. And I did raise the point of him being just a’tool’ - ’a yellow card. for Komorowski and Duda’. Lastly, ignorance of the voters as to what the SMCs are and what their introduction would cause is exactly what I meant by the ’lack of awareness’. I hope this clarifies a bit, as I do in fact agree with the points you made. As to Law and Justice, I guess we will have to wait and see (and vote) in October :)

  • Polish Presidential Elections: Analysis and Implications

    30 May 2015  20:42, by Michal Jarski

    Great article! But I think you are wrong in two cases: last header suggests that people vote “for” someone, whilst in Poland it looks mainly like we vote “against” someone. The campain is more about what other site didn’t do, and not about what we did. The second case is that you suggest that people voted for Kukiz. I think that they mainly voted against Komorowski and Duda, and Kukiz was only a tool to demonstrate their dissatisfaction- most of them don’t even know what SMCs are... So it shouldn’t be called “lack of awareness” :) And now the Law and Justice party is too confident of its victory in the parliamentary elections (like the Civic Platform was during this presidential elections) and their predictions are based on nothing (a lot of people voted for Duda, because they didn’t want Komorowski to be re-elected, not because they wanted Duda and “Law and Justice” party to rule the country...).

  • PRESS RELEASE: 10 Years Later Youth Takes Back the European Debate #10yearslater

    29 May 2015  13:01, by Iwantout

    Good and bad memories. A period when at least some people were asked for their views on EU direction, but were then just ignored. A time when the true nature of “democratic deficit” was revealed.

    As a matter of elaboration, while Luxembourg and Spain (the latter after the EU contributed 7.5m euro to the Yes campaign) did vote Yes and France and the Netherlands No, six other countries that were scheduled to hold referenda (Ireland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Poland, Portugal and UK) with strong likelihoods of rejecting the Constitution cancelled the vote. Most political analysts agree that it is entirely possible that all would have rejected the Constitution.

    The reassuring (for federalists) idea that the people simply didn’t understand what was under discussion, were misled and only need more information to come to the correct decision is called ‘false consciousness’ by Marxists and tells you more about the mind set of those invoking it than is comfortable for democrats. A comment immediately prior to the vote from Laurens Brinkhorst (D 66), the vice prime minister and economics minister for the Netherlands illustrates this view admirably “It would have been better if no popular vote had been agreed to. The topic is too sensitive for the population.” (By the way, why are Spanish and Luxembourg voters implicitly assumed to have voted on The Constitution while the French and Dutch voted on national matters?)

    Subsequent polling by Maurice De Hond in the Netherlands showed the largest proportion of No voters voted for reasons related to the Constitution itself. In addition the aggressive style and tone of the Yes campaign together with the imposition of the euro without a public decision were also seen as contributing to the large No majority (61% v 38%).

    In France of course many high profile Pro EU campaigners actually fought against the Constitution because they believed it was insufficiently protective of the French economic model and was too ‘Anglo-Saxon’. They presumably knew what the Constitution was all about.

    All sides had access to the media; copies of the Constitution, simplified explanatory notes together with official pamphlets were widely available and it was the main news story across the countries. Any lack of knowledge by the voters was then surely a positive decision on their part, ie they didn’t want the broad thrust of what was being offered and thus felt the fine detail was irrelevant.

    Still in the end the Constitution was foisted on everyone regardless under the guise of The Lisbon Treaty, so no harm done. Of course for Lisbon care had to be taken that referenda were not to be used, except in the case of the pesky Irish and even then they had to have two goes, but so what. I assume the closing comment in your article “Furthermore, both organisations stress that a democratic Europe needs to be built with the consent of its people” is meant to be humorously ironic.

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