News

    French Voters Reject EU Constitution

    A voter picks up a "no" ballot in a polling station in Paris

    French voters have rejected the European Union's draft constitution, dealing a personal setback to President Jacques Chirac and plunging the 25-nation bloc into what could be a long period of uncertainty. Exit polls by three polling organizations show 55 percent of French voters said no to the charter in Sunday's referendum.

    President Chirac, who campaigned strongly for the constitution, acknowledged the defeat shortly after the results of the referendum were announced.

    He says France's decision will inevitably create a difficult climate for the defense of its interests in the European Union.

    The French president also says he will announce decisions on his government in the next few days. He is expected to dismiss unpopular prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

    The result of the referendum on the E.U. constitution has thrown French politics into turmoil. Mr. Chirac and most of the Socialist opposition were in favor of the treaty, but they ran into fierce opposition from a disparate array of forces, including the far right, communists, nationalists, dissident Socialists and anti-globalization groups.

    Supporters of the constitution maintained that the charter would help seal France's ambitions for greater European political unity. Opponents argued that it would entrench free-market economics, destroy France's welfare state and send French jobs to low-cost countries in Eastern Europe. Many who voted no also wanted to punish Mr. Chirac for his economic policies and France's 10 percent unemployment.

    But if the result roiled French politics, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says it also cast doubts about the future of the E.U.

    "The result raises profound questions for all of us about the future direction of Europe, about the challenges to us from the rest of the world, about the ability of the European Union to respond to these challenges and to the demands of its citizens," Mr. Straw  says.

    Mr. Straw is calling for a period of reflection on the results of the French referendum and a similar Dutch referendum on the charter that will be held on Wednesday. There, too, the no vote is expected to win, primarily because of strong anti-immigration sentiment.

    E.U. leaders have said that other member states should continue the ratification process despite France's rejection of the constitution. Technically, if one member country rejects the document, it will not go into effect, and the E.U. will continue to function under its current rules.

    But the rejection of the charter by an important founding member of the group like France means that the E.U. will have to scale back its ambitious plans to admit new members, develop a common immigration policy and further liberalize the workings of Europe's internal market.

    .

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Uncharted Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora