Tuesday

7th Jul 2020

German intellectuals in French vote appeal

  • Jacques Chirac issuing another warning about rejecting the Constitution (Photo: European Commission)

German intellectuals have joined forces in speaking out in favour of the European Constitution ahead of France's vote on the document in just over three weeks time.

Jürgen Habermas, Günter Grass and Wolf Biermann were among a group of intellectuals appealing for a yes vote in a letter printed in today's Le Monde.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

The joint letter appeals to French voters not to reject the Constitution saying it would be "folly" if the French would let the EU charter suffer for their anger against the French government.

"A no would be to surrender reason and a betrayal by France, that great country of the Enlightenment, of its own ideals".

The letter goes on to say that "the consequences of a rejection would be a catastrophe for unification" brought about by an "era of peace".

"We owe it to the millions of victims of our wars and our dictatorships", continues the letter.

This is not the first instance of Germany involving itself in France's constitutional track. Chancellor Gerhard Schröder also arranged for the German parliament to vote on the EU text on 12 and 27 May.

It is hoped the expected German approval of the EU Constitution will influence the French.

The letter was published the day after French President Jacques Chirac also issued a strong warning about the consequences of a no vote on 29 May.

"If we do not adopt the constitution, one of the first consequences naturally is not only that we remain in the past - a past that has been fairly criticized - but we would also be considerably weakened", he said on French TV on Tuesday evening (3 May).

He also said there was no chance of the text being renegotiated if it is rejected.

Both the letter and Mr Chirac's TV address are just the latest in a series of strong appeals to French voters about the predicted political consequences of a rejection by France, a founding member of the EU.

Two weeks ago, former European Commission chief Romano Prodi said a no could result in the "fall of Europe".

The precarious state of France's polls has also prompted the Commission to take a small quiet back seat until after the vote, for fear of upsetting voters with an unpopular proposal from Brussels.

After 23 polls put the no camp in front, there appears to be a reversal of fortunes for the yes camp with some polls now putting it in front or at least reporting a narrowing of the gap between the two sides.

However, Le Figaro notes today that several deputies in President Chirac's UMP party are concerned that the yes side may have started its comeback too soon and may peak before 29 May.

Commission chief under fire for Croatia campaign video

EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen recorded a video in support of Croatia's ruling party, which the EU executive said was in her "personal capacity" - and admits it was a "mistake" that this was not made clear.

Parliament vaping booths 'too confidential' to discuss

The European Parliament is refusing to disclose documents on an internal debate on whether to set up e-cigarette smoking booths at its premises in Strasbourg and Brussels, posing questions on how it handles transparency on relatively minor issues.

EU parliament chairs explain missing lobbyist meetings

MEPs in January 2019 agreed to a rule change in a bid for greater transparency. The rules included requiring committee chairs to publish their meetings with registered lobbyists. EUobserver spoke to six chairs, who haven't done so yet.

MEP in police protection after Czech PM calls him 'traitor'

Three MEPs received numerous death threats in the Czech Republic for asking questions about how EU funds are being spent. One of them had his entire family under police protection after people threatened to murder his four children.

Black MEP: 'I have been a victim of police violence'

MEPs urged an end to structural racism and discrimination in Europe and the US, following the brutal killing of black American George Floyd by US police. Socialists and Green MEPs stressed the need to unblock the anti-discrimination directive.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNEW REPORT: Eight in ten people are concerned about climate change
  3. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  5. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis

Latest News

  1. Commission chief under fire for Croatia campaign video
  2. Parliament vaping booths 'too confidential' to discuss
  3. Belarus: Inside Lukashenko’s crackdown on independent voices
  4. The rationale behind US troop withdrawals from Germany
  5. Podcast: Nordic region speaks out on big global challenges
  6. Croatia re-elects PM amid corona downturn
  7. Budget talks shift gear This WEEK
  8. Cardinals speak out: EU needs corporate due diligence

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us