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8th May 2021

Lisbon Treaty made to avoid referendum, says Giscard

The EU's new treaty is the same as the rejected constitution - only the format has been changed to avoid referendums, says Valery Giscard d'Estaing, architect of the constitution.

In an open letter published in Le Monde and a few other European newspapers over the weekend, the former French president seeks to clarify the difference between former draft constitution - which was shelved after French and Dutch voters rejected the text in 2005 - and the new Lisbon Treaty which EU leaders agreed earlier this month.

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  • The new Lisbon Treaty "alienates the citizens further", says Giscard d'Estaing (Photo: EUobserver)

"Looking at the content, the result is that the institutional proposals of the constitutional treaty … are found complete in the Lisbon Treaty, only in a different order and inserted in former treaties," Mr Giscard d'Estaing said.

The former chairman of the European Convention - the body of over a hundred politicians that drafted the 2004 EU constitution – suggests the new more complicated layout was only to avoid putting the treaty to a referendum.

"Above all, it is to avoid having referendum thanks to the fact that the articles are spread out and constitutional vocabulary has been removed," he says

Mr Giscard argues that the Lisbon treaty represents a way for the EU institutions to take the lead after the "interference" of the members of parliament and politicians who were in the European Convention.

"They are therefore imposing a return to the language that they master and to the procedures they favour, and in doing so alienate the citizens further," he said.

Mr Giscard's word are likely to fuel the calls for referendums in the UK and Denmark where the governments are arguing that there is no need for a public poll on the Lisbon Treaty because it is sufficiently different from the EU constitution.

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