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Chirac, Schroeder, Kwasniewski defend EU constitution
AFP ^ | 18 May 05

Posted on 05/20/2005 3:14:56 PM PDT by jb6

NANCY, France (AFP) - The leaders of France, Germany and Poland formed a united front in defense of the EU constitution, just 10 days before the French vote on the treaty in a crucial referendum.


French President Jacques Chirac, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder and Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski -- meeting in Nancy in eastern France -- also demanded that the British rebate on the EU budget be reviewed.

But France's May 29 referendum on the EU constitution was the focus of the day, and Chirac, who has staked his personal prestige on approval of the treaty, said all three were "strongly committed" to seeing it ratified.

With Schroeder and Kwasniewski by his side, he inaugurated Nancy's newly renovated 18th century Place Stanislas by urging French voters to say "yes" to a "fair and powerful Europe", and not to retreat within national borders.

"Europe is stronger when it speaks with one voice. We need a strong Europe, an integrated Europe," Schroeder told a joint press conference, warning that France had the responsibility "not to leave the other Europeans in the lurch".

Meanwhile, Kwasniewski -- whose country joined the European Union in May last year -- tried to ease French fears of tough competition from the low-cost economies to the east, saying Polish workers were not a threat to French jobs.

Aides to Chirac said they hoped his summit with Schroeder and Kwasniewski -- the first tripartite talks since Poland joined the bloc -- would send a strong message to undecided voters about the strength of a united Europe.

With just 10 days to go before the key referendum, the possibility of a French "non" to the landmark charter has authorities in the other 24 EU member states worried.

Recent opinion polls show opponents of the constitution with a slight lead in France, but when the margin of error and the number of undecided voters are taken into account, the race is a virtual dead heat.

The constitution must be ratified by all 25 member states, and a rejection by so important a country as France would leave the treaty dead in its tracks.

The European Union's budget for 2007-2013, now in tough negotiations, also figured prominently on the agenda for the talks in Nancy, with the three leaders calling for Britain's EU budget rebate to be reconsidered.

Chirac said the trio had agreed on the need for "fairer financing of the European budget" and to "demand rediscussion and readjustment of the British cheque".

Since 1984 Britain has benefited from a substantial special annual payment from the European Union under an arrangement reached with then British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

The French leader also hit out at the massive increase in Chinese textile exports to the European Union, urging Brussels to do more to protect European jobs -- and emphasizing that the constitution would help secure those jobs.

"The considerable increase in Chinese textile exports to our countries calls into question the jobs of thousands of workers. We cannot accept this without doing anything," the French leader told reporters.

Chirac and Schroeder also dismissed any possibility of renegotiating the EU constitution, which aims to simplify decision-making in the expanded bloc.

"There will obviously be no renegotiation," the French president said, while Schroeder called the concept of a so-called "plan B" a "pure illusion".

Already feeding on public dissatisfaction with France's stagnant economy and government reforms, the "no" camp also gained a boost in the past week with renewed talk of a possible "plan B" should the French reject the treaty.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: eu; euconstitution; foreign; fourthreich; france; germany; poland; unconstitution

1 posted on 05/20/2005 3:14:56 PM PDT by jb6
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To: jb6
What midgets. How history will belittle the Eurocrats. What foolish, self important fops. The Sad thing is, is that it does not matter how they vote; no matter what happens they new Acient Regime" will find a way to implement their power grab.

This is the greatest power grab in the history of Europe. The old titled aristocracy did not have this much power, and it is all will be completely out of the hands of the voter.

And all without one bullet being fired.

2 posted on 05/20/2005 3:20:18 PM PDT by CasearianDaoist
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To: jb6
The unity within the EU is absolutely necessary. But, the French want to create a new federal state on the principles of the French revolution which actually led to Vendean Wars and massacres of the Catholics.

"No Christian roots for Europe", declared French politicians. That's not the EU we (the Polish) want to belong to.

The EU, as a free trade area - Yes,

The EU, as a new European superstate - No!

3 posted on 05/20/2005 3:51:31 PM PDT by Pomian
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To: jb6

It seems to me that Kwasniewski missed a good opportunity to shut up.

4 posted on 05/20/2005 4:02:02 PM PDT by Piranha
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To: Piranha
Piranha nailed it. Moreover, I believe Kwasniewski's party now enjoys a 4 % (four percent) popularity level in the latest polls in Poland. The Netherlands votes a couple of days after France and the latest polls there show 60 % votes against the EU consitution. Britain will never agree to it, and I doubt that Poland will.
5 posted on 05/20/2005 4:25:18 PM PDT by Malesherbes
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To: Piranha
It was one of his last opportunities. He'll be gone from the office in October.

And I'm not going to cry after him.
6 posted on 05/20/2005 4:52:26 PM PDT by lizol
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To: jb6; CasearianDaoist; Pomian

It doesnt really matter whether the constitution is accepted or not. Conservatives in Europe say that the constitution is too socialistic and trade-unionists in France say it is too pro--capitalistic. I live in one of the countries of "new Europe", and think that it is much more important that there IS a European Union than what kind of union it is. Besides, Constitution will be rejected by Brits, (you can bet any amount of money on that).

7 posted on 05/20/2005 6:07:36 PM PDT by j23
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To: j23
WHy is important that there is an EU?

A free trade zone yes, but an EU? It is doomed for failure, but not before a great tragedy unfolds.

8 posted on 05/20/2005 6:15:37 PM PDT by CasearianDaoist
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To: j23
My objection to the EU constitution is that it gives a total majority to france and germany with a help of one small country like e.g. Austria or Belgium.
All other EU countries put together, like my Poland, Britain, Italy , etc, would have nothing to say but accept the franco-german hegemony.

Just new lords and new slaves in Europe!

9 posted on 05/20/2005 6:15:40 PM PDT by Pomian
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To: CasearianDaoist

The EU is now not much more than a free-trade zone (except for Common Agricultural Policy, which will be dropped very soon I hope). You shouldnt confuse a European union with such a union as the US. It is stiil a confederation of sovereign states, and really cannot be anything else.
Why is it important that there is a union? Two reasons:

1. As a counterbalance for Russia (but this is important only for "new europeans")
2. So that the european nations don't start slaughtering one another as in the past. EU is a straightjacket for the nations of europe - in the sense they have to be prevented from making harm to themselves.)

"It is doomed for failure, but not before a great tragedy unfolds."

What sort of tragedy? Can there be a bigger tragedy than WWII, communism and nazism? And EU was not responsible for that.

10 posted on 05/20/2005 7:24:39 PM PDT by j23
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To: Piranha

Well he's a communist and he was right at home in the EU.

11 posted on 05/20/2005 7:35:11 PM PDT by jb6 (Truth == Christ)
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