EU official warns France over 'non' vote

15th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

LUXEMBOURG, April 15 (AFP) - A key European Union (EU) official warned Friday that a French "non" to the EU constitution threatens the bloc's hopes of becoming an increasingly powerful player on the world stage.

LUXEMBOURG, April 15 (AFP) - A key European Union (EU) official warned Friday that a French "non" to the EU constitution threatens the bloc's hopes of becoming an increasingly powerful player on the world stage.  

EU external relations commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner made the comments after French President Jacques Chirac made an impassioned appeal to persuade sceptical voters to support the landmark constitution in a crunch referendum.  

"One has to show that this is not only the goal for France but it's the goal finally for the whole European Union, and it will bring progress for what we want to do for an enlarged EU," she said.  

"If we want to be a global player in the world...  we should better go ahead with it," she added, speaking on the sidelines of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg.  

The constitution, which aims to streamline decision-making in the expanded 25-member EU, must be ratified by all member states. A rejection in France, one of the EU's largest countries, would effectively kill the treaty.  

Since mid-March, more than a dozen opinion polls have indicated that French voters will reject the constitution in a May 29 referendum. The most recent survey, published Thursday, put support for the 'no' camp at 55 percent.  

Chirac, in a high-stakes two-hour live television appearance late Thursday aimed at jumpstarting the flailing 'yes' campaign, warned that a 'no' vote would weaken France's influence and make it the "black sheep" of the EU.  

"France would cease to exist politically," he added.

 

© AFP

Subject: French News

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