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Athens News Agency: News in English, 05-05-30

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Mixed reactions to French 'no' in EU constitution referendum

  • [01] Mixed reactions to French 'no' in EU constitution referendum

    Greek political party leaders' reactions were mixed on Monday to the French voters' rejection of the European Union constitution, in a referendum held throughout France on Sunday.

    Prime minister Costas Karamanlis, in a written statement, stressed that "the verdict of the French people, and every people's, is respected", but at the same time added that the result of the French referendum was a "development that troubles us".

    "We must not forget, however -- and we do not forget -- the the course of European integration has never been smooth. From within differences and even crises, the European Union has managed to move ahead, presenting achievements that are unique in history, to the benefit of peace, democracy and prosperity of the peoples. Our aspiration remains to advance European unification. The effort does not stop here. The procedures provided for its (the Euro-constitution's) ratification in the other member states has not been completed yet. They must proceed regularly, without postponements, as foreseen," Karamanlis added.

    Following the French 'no', Europe was "entering a period of intense pondering, but the course of European unification continues", main opposition PASOK Political Council for Foreign Affairs, Security and Defence director Christos Papoutsis said in a statement.

    Papoutsis noted that the need was obvious for a substantive and in-depth public dialogue on the characteristics that the citizens desired for the European society of the future, and underscored the need for strengthening the potential and efficiency of the European Union so as to give solutions to the citzens' problems and guarantee their quality of life.

    "The French 'no' will substantially affect the procedures underway for the future enlargement, orientation and financing of the citizens of the Union. The political leaderships in the member states and and the Union's institutional bodies should utilise the French 'no' as an opportunity for clarification of the European policies and re-determination of the targets and choices for security, development, employment and solidarity in society," Papoutsis said.

    The Communist Party of Greece (KKE), in an announcement, said it considered as "a very positive event" the French people's "condemnation of the so-called 'Euro-constitution'."

    "The percentage in favour of the 'no' shows that the working class and the popular strata, which are witnessing the unemployment, the elastic labour relations, the razing of the social insurance and other rights, poverty and high prices -- in other words the anti-popular policy of the EU and its governments -- have reached more conclusions. The French people did not bow to the pressures, the threats and the ideological terrorism of the imperialistic agencies and their allies. The 'No' constitutes an example of insubordination and disobedience to the EU barbarity. It is an important indication of uplifting and reinforcement of the popular struggles. All those dangermongering of chaos, disaster and isolation are doing so because they fear that the message will spread against the policy of plutocracy, whose sovereignty is further consolidated and shileded by the 'Euro-constitution'. The 'No' is a first step in the struggle against the EU. The stronger the blows delivered by the peoples to the structure of the EU, until it is demolished, the closer that Europe will come to the popular rights, peace, and socialism," the KKE announcement said.

    Coalition of the Left, Movements and Ecology (SYN) leader Alekos Alavanos, said that "we welcome the awakening of the social conscience of a Europe that seeks the right to work and peace, and opposes the present-day Europe of bureacracy of the 'accomodated'. We welcome the cooperation of the leftists and communists, the radicals, the objecting socialists and the Greens, that comprised the backbone of the social 'No', and which, for us in Greece, constitutes a great example".

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