ECOSY, the French "non", and different opinions
Toasting with coke? Open letter to a French gourmand
I can understand that the Le Pen-supporter is voting against the EU-constitution because of his or her dislike of the Turk, the fear of the Arab, or the vision of a France where you do not have to pay attention to the ideas of 1789. That is rational.
I can also understand all Trotskyites, Maoists and other –ites and –ists who did realize that their international utopia only could become reality in a national protectorate. A continental democracy will be too heavy to alter upside down.
I can understand how the people who love sovereignty think. They do not want Slavs, Scandinavians or other strange peoples to co-write the laws of France. When they are voting no, they are acting according to their self-interest.
I can comprehend that French manual workers fear the Polish plumber, who seduces their women while they are at work, and steal their jobs while they are at home. (Yes, he is offering his services to a lower price. But only initially. Believe me, I know him). This is justified self-defense, even if it does not go together that well with the empty rhetoric about solidarity.
I can also comprehend the Frenchmen who believe that Europe’s only chance to achieve a higher level of civilization is by following the French example in detail. The proposal for a new EU-constitution was not, and it has been proved, totally French. It was a compromise and therefore these Frenchmen believe that it must be thrown away.
I have more problems understanding the French who want to bully the USA and therefore voted against a constitution that would gather Europe around a common foreign-, security and tax policy. That is not strictly Cartesian.
I have some problems with the Frenchmen who dislike market liberalism, but who is voting against a new order that would start bridling that very same market liberalism. To me that seems somewhat confused.
But for me it is totally impossible to comprehend those Frenchmen who see a historic achievement in more supranational powers, who regard the European parliament as a first step towards a European democracy, who like the social chapters and who does not dislike Muslims, nor fear the Polish plumber, but still votes no since the proposal is not far-reaching enough.
To me it looks like a group of friends having dinner together, who sends back the bottle of wine because the cork has a little of a bad smell. Sure, in politics you do that with proposals every day. “This is not good enough, get back to me with something better.” But this proposal – and excuse me for breaking these news to you – was not about a French street regulation. It was a historic compromise, worked out in sweat by governments and politicians in 25 countries. The process took four years to complete, and it will not start all over again.
Was there no one around to tell the gourmands that the very bottle they sent back was the last one? Now new grapes will have to grow in the sun, be harvested, made into wine, mature in barrels. In five years time at the very earliest, and maybe never, will you have the opportunity to drink something that tasteful again. Until then we will have to do with Coca-Cola. À la santé…
Original text written by Maciej Zaremba, freely translated into English by Eric Sundström [and yes, I checked with Maciej before I translated and published the column, and he said a-ok!]