Le Petit ‘Non’

Well, if you believe Times (and after last weeks episode with the Independent I believe no-one), le petit ‘non’, like its equivalent le petit mensonge, is not all that serious after all. According to the Times, Britain is working with other European states to draw up plans to keep the European Union constitution alive if there is a narrow ?non? vote in France next week. Just a soupcon of ‘no’ will, in the end ‘help the medicine go down’.

The British government, which takes over the EU presidency on July 1, is discussing with European partners the prospect that the treaty could survive a defeat in the French referendum.

Downing Street sources said they would work to keep the constitution alive during Britain?s six-month presidency if Jacques Chirac, the French president, agreed that a narrow no vote ? a ?petit non? ? was not fatal to the treaty.

A spokesman for the Luxembourg government, which currently holds the EU presidency, confirmed yesterday that its ministers were preparing a statement on pressing ahead with the constitution in the event of a narrow French defeat. ?There have been talks about the possibility,? the spokesman said.

French government sources also confirmed that the EU might be able to salvage the constitution if only two or three of the 25 member states rejected the treaty. They expressed hope that a better economic outlook in the next 15 months ? the deadline for countries to ratify the document ? could pave the way for a yes vote in a second referendum.

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".