French press welcomes Dutch to 'black sheep' fold

2nd June 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, June 2 (AFP) - French newspapers Thursday described the "no" victory in the Dutch referendum as another massive shock to the European system, but noted that at least France was no longer alone among the nay-sayers to the EU constitution.

PARIS, June 2 (AFP) - French newspapers Thursday described the "no" victory in the Dutch referendum as another massive shock to the European system, but noted that at least France was no longer alone among the nay-sayers to the EU constitution.  

"From now on the 'black sheep' of Europe is not alone. And who is to say whether more lost ewes are not going to join the flock some time soon?" said the financial daily La Tribune.  

"Thanks to the Netherlands, there is no longer a 'French exception.' The verdict of May 29 (France's referendum) is no longer an isolated insult to Europe," said the conservative le Figaro.  

But this was small consolation, the newspaper went on: "This second rejection confirms the scale of the European crisis."  

For the left-wing daily Liberation, the Dutch result "is part two of the disaster movie whose first episode was the French vote."  

"Just as in Paris, so also in The Hague - the constitution served as a scapegoat for annoyances that are as contradictory as they are various - against the elites, foreigners, the cost of living, unemployment, enlargement or the Brussels bureaucracy," it said.  

Liberation lamented that with the loss of the constitution and the decline of French influence in the EU, the only alternative may be the "Anglo-Saxon" economic model based on free markets and a minimum of political integration.  

"France, on both right and left, rails against this Anglo-Saxon model (which is also that of the Netherlands). But right now France risks finding itself in the traditional Anglo-Saxon situation in Europe - splendid isolation," it said.  

For La Tribune, the "no" vote in the two countries is the result of an over-hasty process of European construction.  

"It has been a long journey from the initial Europe of six members. The borders have been pushed back several times without anyone ever asking whether the attachment of ordinary people to the process - assumed to be tacit and inevitable - was a reality.  

"The rejection of the constitution is in one way a rejection of enlargement," it said.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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