French 'Non' would 'cost Poles dearly'

27th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

WARSAW, April 27 (AFP) - Poland would bear the burden of a French "no" vote to the EU constitution, Prime Minister Marek Belka said Wednesday, urging his compatriots to "cross your fingers so the French vote 'yes'" in a referendum on the treaty next month.

WARSAW, April 27 (AFP) - Poland would bear the burden of a French "no" vote to the EU constitution, Prime Minister Marek Belka said Wednesday, urging his compatriots to "cross your fingers so the French vote 'yes'" in a referendum on the treaty next month.  

"If the French reject the European constitution, it will cost Poles dear," Belka told reporters at a press conference called to officially present a report on Poland's first year of membership in the European Union.  

A French 'non' to the constitution would mean "less solidarity ... less European funds" and a revival of "the idea of a multi-tiered Europe," Belka said.  

"To summarise, the result would only be negative," he said. "One thing that is certain is that we can forget about the introduction of the directive to liberalise the services market."  

"The French fear the arrival of a Polish plumber in Paris to repair a leaky tap," Belka said, adding that such fears were "myths which we must fight to dispel."  

France, one of the founders of the EU, will be only the second member state to hold a referendum on the constitution after Spain, which approved it on February 20 by a wide margin in a vote marked by low turnout.  

New EU member Poland has also chosen to ratify the constitution by referendum, which is likely to be held in September.  

Five EU member states have voted in favour of the constitution in parliamentary votes. Lithuania, which like Poland joined the EU on May 1 last year, was the first country in the 25-member bloc to do so in November.  

The parliaments of Greece, Hungary, Italy and Slovenia have also ratified the constitution.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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