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Statement of the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr. Janez Drnovšek, about the outcome of the French referendum

Ljubljana, 05/30/2005  |  press release, statement

This is a bad day for Europe. French voters did not support the Constitution for Europe. Strengthening European integration is thus temporarily suspended.

The European Union will, naturally, continue to act in line with existing treaties. From a historical point of view, that in itself represents a high level of cooperation among EU member states. However, the opportunity for a great leap forward has been temporarily suspended.

I firmly believe that the European ideal has not faded. There can be no retreat from European integration. A glance at Europe’s bloody past prevents any backward step. In the present world, only a united Europe can stand on a par with the United States of America and the Asian giant. We will therefore continue to strive for a European Constitution. Occasional failures can sometimes contribute to more thorough consideration. France must first reflect and explain the message of its referendum. What comes next? A continuation of ratification procedures in other member states makes sense only if France is to be given an opportunity to reconsider its decision on the unamended Constitution for Europe.

The current scope of European policy will also have to be reconsidered. Recent developments have shown that at referenda pro-European proposals supported by moderate politicians may succumb to the populist approaches of more extreme political parties, in this particular case both left and right-wing, both anti-globalization and nationalist ones. In other words, if governing policy makers continue to pass their responsibility for such important decisions as this directly on to citizens, then they must argue such decisions much more convincingly in public. Otherwise, the long-term process that is the only pillar of peace, cooperation and development in Europe and across the world, will be imperilled.