As voters prepare for a May 29 referendum on the subject, five opinion polls in recent days put opponents of the constitution clearly ahead of supporters. But as the government went into high gear this week to try to turn the tide, public debate suggests that French doubts are rooted less in the legal text than in skepticism about the very idea of a united Europe.
And why are the French suddenly leery of a united Europe?
(1) Because they are socialists:
At a deeper level, though, many in France see the European Constitution, which enshrines the free market economy as a guiding principle, as the embodiment of a new, economically liberalizing union that they do not like. [emphasis added]
(2) Because they are soft totalitarians, or more generously just nationalist:
At the same time, the French have begun to realize that in the enlarged EU, which took in ten new members, mostly from Eastern Europe, last year, Paris can no longer call the shots.
(3) They are tired of being dictated to by corrupt elites:
[The EU Constitution Commission] worked with little regard for public opinion, and today "there is a disconnect between the political and business elites, which are pro-European, and a badly informed public which is fearful," says Jean Paul Tran Thiet, a former Eurocrat who now works at the Montaigne Institute, a think tank in Paris.
"We have heard a bit from the media [about the constitution] but not much - just what the politicians wanted to tell us," says Borgia Brousse, a caretaker in Burgundy. "We know we have to go vote, but I'm not sure what for."
Personally, The Monk dislikes the whole notion of an EU because it would resemble France too MUCH.
HT: Cap'n Ed.