News Release

The Future of Europe


This week, voters in both France and the Netherlands turned down the proposed European Constitution despite intense efforts by their governments. The following analysts and activists are available for interviews:

Wesselius is a member of the board of the Dutch Committee for a No Against This Constitution. He said today: “This document set completely unacceptable rules which undermined democratic control of institutions. For example, it included a whole chapter on economic policies basically fixing Europe into a neo-liberal framework. That kind of material should not be present in a constitution. … We now need to create the mechanisms of a Europe from below and not the Europe constructed by economic and political elites which we have been seeing.”

Dejongh is a spokesperson for the group. She said today: “We were not against a European Constitution in principle, but we were against this one.”

[See text of a talk and an interview with Wesselius: “Why French and Dutch Citizens Are Saying NO” (from May 21) and ” The Dutch ‘No’ is a ‘Yes’.”] More Information

Ireland, a longtime journalist who lived in France for a decade writing on European politics and culture, has most recently written the article “The French Revolt: Rejection of a Corporate Europe.” He said today: “The massive defeat of the new European Constitution means a virtual political revolution in France — a rebellion by the people against the political elites of both left and right. … The No vote was largely motored by a socioeconomic cry of protest against a Constitution that was designed to make Europe the unregulated playground of the multinational corporations. … The Constitution set in concrete the subordination of European security and military policy (and thus foreign policy) to NATO. … Under the Constitution the crucial role France played at the United Nations in opposing the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq would no longer have been possible.”

Added Ireland: “The proposed Constitution kept real power in the hands of the unelected European Commission (whose members are appointed by their national governments) rather than giving it to the elected Europarliament in Strasbourg. … The Constitution could only have been amended by a unanimous vote of all 25 EU countries — another boon to the multinationals, which easily could have purchased a veto from a small country’s government-for-sale.”
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A member of the European Parliament, Bonde said today: “The leading elite in Brussels insist that the ratifications process must go on. This will not happen. Their lesson will be: Never ask the peoples again. We gave the people a chance to approve our decisions. We have lost the confidence in them. We are obliged to govern without listening, because otherwise the Brussels construction would take a different direction. … In the European Convention some of us proposed an alternative vision for European cooperation. Instead of more centralized, secret and bureaucratic rules, we propose decentralization, transparency and democracy.”
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Yurdatapan is spokesperson for the Freedom of Expression Initiative in Turkey. He said today: “The general opinion here in Turkey is that most of Europe does not want Turkey’s participation in the EU because they want a Christian Europe and don’t want a predominantly Muslim country like Turkey in the EU. Turkish participation seems to slip further and further away. What is of particular concern now is the new penal code that was just passed here. It is not very different from the old one, which means that books will likely get banned shortly, people will be imprisoned. This will be used by some right-wing parties in Europe to further argue against Turkish participation in the EU.” Yurdatapan has received the Global Rights Defenders award from Human Rights Watch.
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167