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4th Mar 2024

Chirac faces opposition to Constitution from own ranks

French president Jacques Chirac is facing opposition to the Constitution from within his own ranks, as well as fighting an uphill battle to win the sympathy of the French people.

"If this Constitution wins, it is the end of Europe," Niclolas Dupont-Aignan, a French MP from Chirac’s own UMP party, declared in Copenhagen on Friday (15 April).

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  • We cannot base a solid European future on such a complex text (Photo: Debout la République)

Speaking to the press after meetings with members of the Danish Parliament, the Gaullist leader of the French no-campaign argued that a no-vote would serve Europe well.

"The system has been built without the will of the people and they will revolt within ten years if this [treaty] is passed. We see it already with the Bolkestein directive and with Turkey's possible entry into the EU," he warned.

"We cannot build a solid European future on such a complex text," the MP added, branding the Constitution a 'judicial monster' which he said would be the end of free states in Europe.

"Just because we say no, doesn't mean we are against Europe," he explained.

Mr Dupont-Aignan indicated that a French no vote would encourage the EU to put the brakes on negative integrationist trends, while allowing more postive aspects of the process to flourish.

His visit to Denmark coincided with Jacques Chirac’s entry onto the yes campaign stage.

The French president recently argued that his country would be considerably weakened by a no vote. "France would cease to exist politically," Mr Chirac said.

"I’m glad to see that Denmark is still alive after voting no to the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 and after turning down the euro," Niclolas Dupont-Aignan countered.

"The EU must adapt to the new world. We don’t want a return to nationalism, but we need a Europe based on democracy, with majority voting for the Internal Market and for daily affairs, but with voluntary participation for the rest, in what we call variable geometry."

A fresh poll by the French marketing research institute, the CSA, published in Le Parisien (15 April) predicted that 55 per cent of the French will reject the EU constitution on May 29, and that only 45 per cent are set to vote in favour of it.

But Niclolas Dupont-Aignan is not counting his chickens before they are hatched.

"There are still six weeks to go and the battle will be very tough," he predicted.

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