French President Jacques Chirac forgot the first rule of European Union politics: ?Don?t consult the voters (it will only encourage them).? For that, he suffered a crushing defeat on Sunday, when 55 percent of French voters delivered a stirring ?non? to the proposed new EU constitution, potentially ending the EU project as we have known it. See what mischief comes from allowing pesky public opinion to have too large a say in EU affairs?
To this point, the EU has become steadily more powerful on the basis of bureaucratic aggrandizement and elite bullying. After the French vote, EU worthies lined up to dismiss it. Josep Borrell, president of the EU parliament, said, ?France decides only for France.? But the constitution is supposed to be approved by all 25 EU member nations. Martin Schulz, a member of the parliament, agreed: ?We respect the result of this democratic vote. But [there?s always a ?but?] French voters voted against the opportunity to create a better Europe.? And so the implication hangs in the air that the vote is illegitimate and cannot stand.