EU Parliament praises French Socialists' vote

2nd December 2004, Comments 0 comments

BRUSSELS, Dec 2 (AFP) - Leaders in the European Parliament expressed relief Thursday after France's opposition Socialist party (PS) voted to campaign in favour of the EU's proposed constitution.

BRUSSELS, Dec 2 (AFP) - Leaders in the European Parliament expressed relief Thursday after France's opposition Socialist party (PS) voted to campaign in favour of the EU's proposed constitution.

"This is a great result, not just for French Socialists but also for us as European socialists, and for France and Europe as a whole," Party of European Socialists president Poul Nyrup Rasmussen said.

"This vote was no paltry internal party affair - it was a vote that had the potential to put a serious spanner in the EU works," he said in a statement.

Some 55 percent of PS members supported the text in an internal ballot conducted on Wednesday - an unexpectedly clear victory which is a major boost to the constitution's chances of being approved across the 25 member states.

"We are convinced the unity of the party behind this decision will now be its strength in guiding the French electorate towards a 'yes' vote," said Rasmussen, a former prime minister of Denmark.

Graham Watson, leader of the Liberals in the European Union parliament, expressed "great relief" at the PS vote.

The result showed that "French Socialists are aware that the pursuit of deepening of European construction constitutes a non-partisan national priority", he said.

The PS's left-wing had argued that the constitution would entrench US-style free-market economics at the heart of the EU, and spell an end for efforts to improve social equality.

But Rasmussen said the treaty offered much to progressives in Europe. "It is the basis for more jobs, security and prosperity for ordinary people," he said.

EU Greens leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit said the PS 'yes' now enabled Europe's left to campaign for "a credible alternative" to the European project espoused by the right-wing and by Nicolas Sarkozy, the coming man of the French right.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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