Why are we so depressingly anti-European? The Independent today visited Lorraine and spoke to a retired French priest who had lived though the occupation. In school he had been taught English and German – French being illegal. Of course, he will be voting ‘Oui’ in the French EU Constitution referendum. But he’s worried about younger eurosceptics. At the top of the list of ‘what has the EU ever given us?’ must be ’60 years of peace, co-operation and trade between former enemies’.However, the EU isn’t just a peacekeeping system – it’s so much more than that. It’s a union that has delivered greater prosperity to all of it’s member states. Former Soviet bloc countries are queueing up at the gates, clamouring to be allowed to join. Britain is a trading nation, and today, half of all our international trade is with other EU countries – free from tariffs and other trade barriers.
We in Britain cannot wait to board our cheap flights and even cheaper ferries to spend our holidays and weekends in our neighbouring EU countries, we enjoy food, culture and climate and return with our luggage stuffed full of cheap goodies.
Even rabid eurosceptics like Kilroy (the permatanned one) own properties in sunnier parts of europe to top up their tans. An uneasy coalition of far-left and right wing parties are planning a glossy, high profile ‘No’ campaign to try to derail the constitution. Since these people have no coherent message as to why we should vote no, we shouldn’t listen to them for too long – but I fear we will. The euro-knockers will try hard to derail the treaty, so that they can once again claim that the EU doesn’t work well. It’s too divided and too difficult to keep all of the disparate nations working together.
Which is precisely why we do need the treaty. The constitution is a must to solidify the framework in which all of the nations can work together and move forward. Yes, the CAP needs replacing or reforming – but it will be easier to do this in a well structured EU with a clear constitution. If the constitution fails, we are only going to perpetuate those things about the EU that we all agree need to change!