Chirac promotes treaty at European culture bash

2nd May 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, May 2 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac on Monday stepped up his campaign for a 'yes' to the EU constitution, telling hundreds of artists and intellectuals that the treaty would help forge Europe's cultural identity.

PARIS, May 2 (AFP) - French President Jacques Chirac on Monday stepped up his campaign for a 'yes' to the EU constitution, telling hundreds of artists and intellectuals that the treaty would help forge Europe's cultural identity.  

The French leader, opening the two-day "Meetings for Europe and culture" in Paris, said the constitution - on which the French will vote in a May 29 referendum - represented a "considerable advance" for EU cultural policy.  

"For the first time, the cultural aspect of European construction will be elevated to the rank of one of the Union's fundamental objectives," he told the hundreds of actors, writers, painters and intellectuals from across the bloc.  

With less than a month to go before the referendum on the landmark EU treaty, Chirac is using every opportunity to persuade sceptical voters that France needs Europe, and hence needs the constitution.  

The EU text would allow member states to "build the future of our continent not only on the union of our economic interests, but also on a community of values, principles and ideals".  

"The legitimacy of each state's ability to define and carry out its cultural policy is clearly established" in the treaty, he added.  

Chirac got a boost at the weekend after an opinion poll showed for the first time since mid-March that French voters would approve the constitution with 52 percent of the vote.  

Before the release of the survey on Saturday, nearly two dozen polls had indicated that the 'no' camp would prevail.  

Chirac was to pursue his campaign late Tuesday with an appearance on state-owned France 2's nightly news program.  

During the "Meetings for Europe and culture" in the French capital, artists and intellectuals were to put forward their views on where European culture is headed today and what measures are needed to strengthen and define its role.  

Stars such as British singer Marianne Faithfull, British actor Kenneth Branagh, Polish director Andrzej Wajda, and French directors Jean-Jacques Annaud and Luc Besson were due to attend.  

Most of the EU's 25 culture ministers, along with European Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso and Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, were also expected in Paris.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article