Polish MP urges French to reject EU charter

14th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

WARSAW, April 14 (AFP) - Poland's deputy parliamentary speaker and opposition chief Donald Tusk on Thursday called on French voters to reject the European Union constitution "for the good of Europe" in a referendum next month.

WARSAW, April 14 (AFP) - Poland's deputy parliamentary speaker and opposition chief Donald Tusk on Thursday called on French voters to reject the European Union constitution "for the good of Europe" in a referendum next month.

"It would be for the good of Europe if France were to reject the EU constitution", said Tusk, whose party favours European integration but is highly critical of the EU constitution.

"We know that the constitution is not the best one - probably all Poles are aware of this," Tusk, whose Citizens' Platform is a frontrunner in legislative elections due in the autumn at the latest, told Radio Zet.

"I say France should reject the constitution because I know that this will happen sooner or later, maybe in the Czech Republic, Poland or in the United Kingdom. And in this context it would be better for Europe if France took this responsibility upon itself," Tusk said.

Since mid-March, more than a dozen opinion polls in France have indicated that French voters will reject the landmark treaty in the May 29 referendum.

The constitution, which aims to harmonise and streamline decision-making in the expanded 25-member European Union, must be ratified by all member states.

A rejection in France would effectively kill the treaty, and Tusk said in this case he saw no way out for the constitution.

September 25 has been put forward as a possible date for a referendum in Poland on the EU constitution, but no hard and fast date has been set by parliament.

Minister for European Affairs Jaroslaw Pietras said Thursday if French voters reject the constitutional treaty, it would be pointless to hold a referendum in Poland.

"If France votes 'no', there will be no point in organising a referendum in Poland. If that does happen (the no-vote), we should wait for an EU summit to decide what to do with the ratification process," Pietras told reporters.

Meanwhile, lower house speaker Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz said a French rejection of the constitutional treaty would be "a failure for Europe" that would resonate across the EU.

"The rejection of the EU constitution in France would be a failure for Europe and would bear consequences affecting countries including Poland," Cimoszewicz said Thursday after meeting with visiting Slovenian President Janez Drnovsek.

"We have been following the situation in France with great interest. I do not want to be pessimistic but reports coming from France are not good," he told reporters.

Cimoszewicz said he hoped French leaders, who played a key role in crafting the treaty, would be able to sway their compatriots towards a "yes" vote on May 29.

Opposition chief Tusk said that if French voters rejected the constitution, "it would serve them right."

"The French, who are constantly preaching to Europe and Poland, are probably going to create the biggest clanger in the European integration process," he said.

Poland joined the EU in May last year, while France was a founding member in 1958.

A recent survey in Poland showed that nearly two-thirds of Poles - 64 percent - back the EU constitution, with seven percent opposed to it and 29 percent undecided.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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