Europe? What Europe?
For as long as I can remember, I have been a supporter of the European ideal. How could I have not been, with a Dutch dad, a French mom, and an education which prized tolerance and broad-mindedness? My family's history on the Dutch side also helped to shape my convictions, but that is a long story that I reserve for another day. Anyway, for all its flaws, I saw European construction as a progress, and I was happy that France apparently thought likewise. How quickly things can change!
While the yes campaign was mostly inept, the no campaign was no better, choosing to play on fears and ignorance. And given the current political climate, this was enough to turn a majority of the population into day-dreamers. Apart from the far right which as usual defended a France that ceased to exist more than half a century ago, most of the opposition to the treaty focused on the theme of a "more social" Europe. That's sounds fine and dandy, but if it means ignoring some hard realities, it simply does not fly. Market economy is the only system that works, and what's more, it actually allows to resorb most of the main problem France is facing right now= unemployment. Of course, it is hardly a French tendency to look on the other side of the Channel to see what works there, but in this case it would be helpful. The irony is that France, a country ruled by a right wing government, is seemingly rejecting a working system implemented in the UK by a (more or less) left wing government under the excuse that it is not "social enough". To borrow an expression from our British cousins, it's bollocks!
So here we are, with a European Constitution dead in the water, most of which already implemented by existing treaties anyway, and a country in search of guidance. Europe has been turned into a scapegoat, the symbol of everything that is wrong, while most of it actually comes from domestic reasons. The French certainly have pride, but that's pushing it! And while I love my country, I can't help being ashamed these days. European construction has fallen victim to fear, xenophobia, and utopic ideals. And I have my doubts that it will ever recover from that blow.