News

Washington Forum Analyzes EU Constitution Votes

Analysts from Europe and the United States say the rejection of European Union referendums in France and the Netherlands reveals a European political elite out of touch with ordinary people. Experts analyzed the vote Thursday at Washington's American Enterprise Institute.

David From, whose conservative views often appear in the Wall Street Journal editorial page, says the resounding defeats in France and Holland send a message to politicians who assume they can impose their beliefs on the people at large.

"[They say, the elites] We just can not trust them [the people] with these ultimate decisions about the shape of their societies. Those are elites that are going to be replaced. Elites who think this way are not going to be elites for long," he said.

Mr. From and other conservatives on the panel applaud the defeat of the EU constitution. It was, they say, an excessively wordy document that would have transferred too much power to an already overly bureaucratic EU administration in Brussels.

The opposite, pro-constitution view was expressed by Dutch diplomat Wim Geerts, who laments the no votes in his country and in France.

"Does it weaken Europe to have a common foreign policy and have an EU minister of foreign affairs [as the constitution called for]? Does it weaken Europe to have an executive branch called the commission that would be smaller than it is now? Does it weaken Europe to have European contributions to cross-border problems, to have competences in the fields of health care, asylum and terrorism? And to have a charter of European human rights? We don't think so," he said.

Both Mr. Geerts and the conservatives agreed that the no votes were a protest against globalization and the EU expansion to include the poorer countries of eastern Europe that is thought to threaten the comfortable way of life in western Europe.

Radek Sikorsky, a conservative Pole who is a scholar at the Enterprise Institute, advocates a looser EU confederation, where the 25 member states do not have to cede more powers to Brussels. He wants EU members to have more authority over matters within their own countries.

"In Europe, by consensus of elites, the death penalty [for criminals, for example] has been completely banned without any debate on it by the public whatsoever," he said. "And without any chance for nation states to have a different opinion."

All agreed that while the drive towards more centralized decisionmaking has probably been halted, the current structures of the EU have not been undermined.

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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs