An EU summit, known as the European Council, is being held on 16-17 June in Brussels. This will have to examine whether it is worth carrying on with the ratification process in other member states or whether to declare the treaty dead. The treaty itself simply assumes that all member states will go through their ratification procedures.
There is a procedure to discuss deadlock. The draft constitution says (in Article IV-443-4) that if, after two years from the treaty being signed (which was on 29 October 2004), 20 member states have ratified it and others "have encountered difficulties", the "matter will be referred to the European Council".
Few people are emerging from the current campaign on the EU Constitution smelling of roses: Europe's political leaders made a mess or drafting and selling the document to the people and the opposition appealed to voters' basest sentiments.
The ordinary public, often naively portrayed as a bastion of wisdom, has shown itself willing to throw out the baby with the bathwater just to get one back at the political elite.
M de Villepin, the 51-year-old former Interior Minister will head a new government appointed by his close friend President Jacques Chirac. His mission is to restore public support for the government, among an electorate whose 55 per cent 'non' vote on Sunday has dealt a potentially fatal blow to the EU constitutional treaty.
M de Villepin is best known for his eloquent defence of France's opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq. A career diplomat and former foreign minister, his selection may well prove controversial as he has never held an elected office.
President Chirac will address the nation tonight, when he is expected to present in full the make-up of the new government. Nicolas Sarkozy, currently Chirac’s rival as right-wing president of the ruling UMP party, becomes the new Interior Minister.
Meanwhile, voters in the Netherlands are preparing to deliver the coup de grace to the EU Constitution, with opinion polls running at a 60 per cent 'nee' vote on the eve of its referendum despite an 11th hour plea from leaders.
Since 1995, the EU has poured more than -13 billion (US$16.3 billion) in development aid, grants and soft loans in its Euro-Mediterranean partnership to help shore up the Middle East peace process. European Union foreign ministers and their counterparts from Israel and its Arab neighbors take stock of the Mideast peace process and debate economic and political cooperation between Europe and the Middle East at a two-day meeting opening next Monday. Rarely in the past decade has the twice-annual Euro-Mediterranean ministerial meeting opened with better prospects for peace in the region than now.
The EU wants to exploit a Feb. 8 Israeli-Palestinian truce to push an ambitious plan to boost education, trade, economic integration and human rights programs in the region as part of an overall effort to craft a Euro-Mediterranean free trade area by 2010.
café babel: Accountability, accountability, accountability - Europeans will have to learn English to know what that word means
note EU-DigestIt is amazing that the YES forces in Europe have shown absolutely no creativity in answering conspiracy accusations coming from disturbed minds in the ultra left and right, as expressed in this article by Mike Whitney in the Dissident Voice.
Javier Solana, EU High Representative for the CFSP
expresses regret over the outcome of the referendum in France
on the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe
"The French people have expressed their choice. They have ultimately preferred not to support the Treaty establishing a European Constitution.
I evidently respect their choice, but I also regret it with an equal measure of sincerity.
Europe needs its people, but each one of us also needs her. Europe is, above all else, a venture of hope.
Consultations will start. The new situation arising as a result of the vote in France as well as the repercussions thereof will need to be analysed in a calm and lucid manner."
Maldivesinfo: As Hungary joined the European Union - a vibrant art market became available to buyers
Tens of Thousands Iraqi civilians have also been killed since the war started.
In France the voters wanted to punish Chirac and his conservative government over unemployment that is at a 5-year high of 10.2 percent and other economic problems. Chirac, 72, said before the vote he would not quit even though opinion polls showed his gamble on a referendum rather than a safe ratification vote in parliament was likely to fail. However, he is expected to dismiss unpopular Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin. Interior Minister Dominique de Villepin leads the race to replace him ahead of Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie and center-right party leader Nicolas Sarkozy. EU leaders are expected to urge other member states to continue the ratification process despite the rejection by a country that has traditionally been the motor driving EU integration alongside Germany. If the constitution does not survive, the EU will continue to operate under its current rules. But the system is widely seen as unworkable for a Union intent on enlarging further, and voting could soon become paralyzed. Opponents want the EU to redraft the treaty and improve it. They say the charter enshrines economic policies that have failed to stop the loss of jobs to low-wage economies, including countries outside the EU.
Note EU-Digest: Some political analysts are saying that this popular revolt by the voters in France against its mainstream politicians from the left and the right could very well be the beginning of a major worldwide movement against the so-called World Economic Order and Free Market policies promoted by the multi-national corporations and supported by mainstream politicians from the left and the right, who have been bought out by private interest groups. They say that the highly acclaimed World Economic Order has mainly enriched the multi-national-corporations and systematically reduced the earning power of the labor and middle class. "The US, which is also experiencing a disconnect of its politicians with the voters is certainly prone to similar surprises", they say. The French once again are living up to their historical reputation of not fearing to take the bull by the horns. Who knows, years from now, May 29, 2005 might go into the history books as a new Bastille Day, and the EU can only get better for it.
The disparate but successful "no" camp included the far-right National Front of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the Communist and Trotskyist parties, nationalist Euroskeptics and Socialist dissidents. French Foreign Minister Michel Barnier said: "This is an ordeal, a real disappointment."
Greg Anderson, currency analyst at ABN-Amro, said traders had been selling euros for most of the past seven weeks in anticipation of a rejection by the French vote and that "today they're taking profits." He said investors were squaring positions ahead of the holiday weekend in London and New York. "If there's a `no' vote, the euro dollar will stay between US$1.25 and US$1.26," he said. "If it's a `yes,' the euro could bounce back to US$1.27." He added that he expected any moves to be limited because "it's still the same economy."
M&A: Europe's largest-ever cross-border banking deal as Unicredito reportedly in talks to buy HVB for $20B
Many Europeans, particularly in France and the Netherlands, have slipped their moorings from reality. Both the Eurosceptic left and the Eurosceptic right have reached for the security blanket - moth-holed and threadbare, though it is - of nationalism. The Eurosceptic left's embrace of nationalism is particularly insidious, because it hides behind the language of social justice. Time was when the European left was outward-looking, internationalist, and concerned with the least well-off, no matter where they lived. In Europe today, the least well-off are to be found primarily in central and eastern Europe. European enlargement, one of the greatest achievements of post-war Europe, offers these victims of history a life-line into the modern democratic world. That's the reason for admitting Turkey. To close the borders against central and eastern Europeans, as many on the Eurosceptic left would do, is to shirk the requirements of social justice. It's also imprudent. In the absence of European enlargement, both actual and promised, a number of the central and eastern European states. A western Europe ringed by such regimes is no recipe for future security and prosperity.In contrast, the Eurosceptic right trumpets its commitment to nationalism. It values the preservation of national identity - which in Britain boils down to the preservation of "Westminster sovereignty" - no matter what the cost to security and prosperity. The only antidote to this argument, if it even counts as such, is a vigorous debate about the values that policy, whether located at the national or European level, ought to prioritise.
The majority of the sizable Muslim minority, estimated at six million, is expected to vote in favor of the constitution, which aims to simplify the operating rules in the expanded European Union (EU).
The influential Union of French Islamic Organizations (UOIF), a main player in the umbrella French Council of Muslim Faith (CFCM), has issued a statement, urging Muslims to vote “yes.”
Paris Mosque Rector and CFCM leader Dalil Boubakeur said in earlier statements that he would personally vote in favor of the constitution.
The “no” camp is made up of the far-right National Front of Jean-Marie Le Pen, the Communist and Trotskyist parties, nationalist Euroskeptics and a smattering of UMP and PS dissidents, who have been feeding the public on fears that the EU constitution would harm France’s social welfare and lead to job losses in view of a new open-market era.
With their large numbers in France and Holland they can make the difference which way the vote goes. By going to the polls in France and Holland and voting, Muslims will be sending a strong political signal to European Political leaders, that their vote must be reckoned with. For Muslims in Europe also stand to benefit a lot if the Constitution is approved. Among the many rights the Constitution provides EU Citizens, it also cleary states that the EU guarantees the freedom of religious expression, and secularism as Europe's political philosophy. This fact alone should be a strong incentive for the millions of EU Muslims to vote yes and remove the radical power base of Jean-Marie Le Pen in France and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands from EU politics.
Polling stations opened for voting in French Guiana, the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique, and Saint-Pierre and Miquelon off Canada's eastern coast. France's overseas possessions have some 1.425 million registered voters, a fraction of the total 42 million voters. Mainland France votes on Sunday. Results from the overseas territories, which also include French Polynesia in the Pacific Ocean, will not be published until after the last mainland polling stations close at 2000 GMT (2100 BST) on Sunday evening.
One survey on Friday showed a sharp drop in the size of the majority opposing the treaty, giving a ray of hope for the "Yes" camp, led by President Jacques Chirac. But another showed an increase in opposition to the charter.
Nine countries have approved the charter. None has rejected it so far although polls show a majority oppose the treaty in France and the Netherlands, which holds a referendum on June 1. One French poll published on Friday showed 52 percent of people who have decided how to vote will reject the treaty. Another put the "No" camp on 56 percent. But at least one fifth of voters are still undecided, recent polls show. A poll on Saturday showed 57 percent of Dutch voters plan to vote "No". Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende urged voters not to reject the constitution, saying the reasons for many planned "No" votes had nothing to do with the treaty. "Are you against the (Dutch) cabinet, then in 2007 you can head to the ballot box. The euro and Turkey also have nothing to do with the constitution," he told De Telegraaf newspaper.
Throwing the treaty out will set back - not advance - the cause of a democratic "social" Europe. True, a defeat for the treaty in France and the Netherlands will - first and foremost - be a contemptuous vote of protest against the Chirac presidency in France and the centre-right coalition in The Hague. But rejection will also be seen as a reflection of the strength of nationalist and chauvinist currents in public opinion, most obviously expressing themselves in bitter opposition to Turkey's EU membership and to any further enlargement of the union. It is difficult to see how anyone who has visited the Netherlands or France during this campaign can draw any other conclusion. These have been the dominating issues in the campaign - inspired and led by rightwing populists (and their far-right supporters) in both countries.
US President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and foreign ministers from 33 other Western Hemisphere nations will gather June 5 to 7 at the Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale to discuss problems in the region and talk about "promoting democracy, economic development and human rights". At the meeting the United States also is expected to propose a resolution that would create a committee to monitor the quality of democracy in the region. The idea is seen by some as an attack on Venezuela which is at logger-heads with the United States on a variety of issues.
The Bush administration on Friday turned down the Venezuelan government's arrest request for Luis Posada Carriles, the anti-communist militant charged in that country in connection with the bombing of a Cuban airliner in 1976. Washington's rejection could worsen an already sour relationship between the United States and Venezuela. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said recently he would consider severing diplomatic relations with the United States if Posada is not extradited. Posada was tried twice and acquitted in Venezuela for the bombing of a Cubana Airlines DC-8 that killed 73 people. Posada, who had been a Venezuelan security official, escaped while awaiting a prosecutorial appeal.
Recently declassified U.S. government documents show Posada was on the CIA payroll in the 1960s and is now seeking asylum in the United States. Fort Lauderdale officials agreed to grant a parade permit and designate a protest site during the international conference.
The three day OAS Conference in Fort Lauderdale will conclude with a cocktail party at the Convention Center hosted by the Greater Fort Lauderdale Sister Cities International, The Organization of American States and the US Department of State.
www.freenewmexican.com: Iranian pledge to keep talking with Europeans only buys time in nuclear dispute
20% of French voters still undecided
Amidst bouts of European gloom and doom, Mark Leonard, author of "Perpetual Power: Why Europe Will Run the 21st Century," has a different vision. Counterintuitive though it may seem, he argues that a “New European Century” will emerge. Why? Surely not because Europe will run the world as an empire — but because the European way of doing things will become the world’s.
Bloomberg.com: WTO elects European as Secretary General: Pascal Lamy former EU Trade Commissioner gets top job
Iraq Coalition Casualties: Already 66 US troops dead in May alone - total casualties coalition now stands at 1833
A "no" vote in France and the Netherlands will almost certainly kill off the constitution because to take effect it has to be ratified by all 25 states. The result will be a prolonged period of institutional navel-gazing, a possible slump in the value of the euro against other major currencies, a weakened Europe on the world stage and a less open, democratic and efficient union at home. But supporters of the blueprint will be able to take some solace from the fact that it was neither Europe nor the constitution that was rejected by voters, but unpopular national governments and an arrogant EU elite.
US cannot hide their desire to see the French reject the treaty
The businesspeople and politicians who are urging China to revalue its currency had better be careful what they ask for.
Higher prices for imported T-shirts and DVD players would add to the bad news we've had recently on the inflation front. And did you ever stop to think what the Chinese do with the dollars we spend on their consumer goods? They use them to buy U.S. securities. If the Chinese buy fewer of our Treasury bonds, interest rates will rise and our booming housing and automotive sectors will feel the pinch.
the Dutch who have benefitted more than lost on European integration but made some serious mistakes in choosing their political leaders, who brought the country into economic decline, now blame their problems on the EU. Conservative radicals like Geert Wilders, who blame all of the problems in the Netherlands on immigrants and the EU have also been instrumental in this slide towards a no vote.
Debate surrounding the adoption of the European constitution has finally put the European Union at the heart of media discourse. Despite its faults, this discussion has brought Europe closer to its citizens.
It is also estimated there have been 2800 Iraq security forces and more than 50.000 civilians killed
EU MUSLIMS CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE BY VOTING YES IN THIS CRUCIAL VOTE ON THE EU CONSITUTION IN FRANCE AND HOLLAND
a Europe House Report
It is amazing how little EU Muslim citizens have been involved in the campaigns leading towards the vote on the EU Constitution. Not only by their own leaders, but also by the European Political Elite, who support the new EU Constitution.
With their large numbers in France and Holland they can make the difference which way the vote goes. By going to the polls in France and Holland and voting, Muslims will be sending a strong political statement to European Political leaders, that their vote must be reckoned with.
For Muslims in Europe stand to benefit a lot if the Constitution is approved.
Among the many rights it provides EU Citizens, the new Constitution also cleary states that the EU guarantees the freedom of religious expression, and secularism as Europe's political philosophy.
This fact alone should be a strong incentive for the millions of EU Muslims to vote yes and remove the radical power base from EU politics.
There is no doubt in our mind that if the no camp prevails in this crucial referendum in France and Holland, conservative radicals like Jean-Marie Le Pen in France and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands will have a field day with their populist anti-Muslim hate-campaigns.
EU MUSLIMS CAN MAKE THE DIFFERENCE BY VOTING YES IN THIS CRUCIAL VOTE ON THE EU CONSTITUTION IN FRANCE AND HOLLAND
The Turkish women's organization Papatya has documented 40 instances of honor killings in Germany by Muslim extremist since 1996. The most recent, Hatin Surucu, who likely died at the hands of her own family. The German weekly Die Zeit reports that the percent of schoolgirls wearing headscarves in the Berlin district where Hatin was killed has gone from virtually none to about 40 percent in the past three years. Which one of today's smiling schoolgirls, Boehmecke wonders, will be next year's victim of honor?"
US Treasury Secretary John W. Snow tells BBC US trade deficit is Europe's fault."
Aljazeera.Net - Uzbek troops fire on protesters - US being criticized for being aligned with Uzbek oppressive Government
US relationship with Uzbekistan, which includes a US Airbase there, considered hypocritical, given that Uzbekistan has an oppressive and dictatorial government"
People's Daily Online -- EU to discuss arms embargo, textile trade, Taiwan issue with China, diplomats
biz.yahoo.com: Central and Eastern Europe to Power Expansion of European Steam and Gas Turbines Market
The lower house of the Austrian parliament voted overwhelminglywith a ballot of 181-1 to ratify the EU constitution treaty.
On the same day, the Slovak parliament voted 116-27 to endorse the constitution.
Wednesday's votes mean that 7 EU member states (Lithuania, Hungary, Slovenia, Italy, Greece, Austria, Slovakia) have already ratified the EU Constitution.
A referendum on the Constitution in Spain won the majority support in February, but a formal ratification, by the vote of theSenate, is expected in the coming few weeks in the country. "
editorial: Rick Morren
The continuous barrage of PR reports coming from the Armenian Community and sympathizers about the so-called Turkish Genocide and the simultaneous unwillingness of the Armenians to accept the recent invitation by the Turkish PM to get together and discuss the issues at hand, seems to make very little sense.
Instead of relying on their endless and obvious costly efforts to convince European Heads of State, US Presidents, European Parliamentarians, US Congressmen and Senators, to officially recognize the so-called Armenian Genocide, Armenians would probably be far better served if they accepted the Turkish invitation for open discussions on the issues surrounding this controversy. After all, at the time of these alleged atrocities, the Armenians were also Citizens of the Ottoman Empire, just like the Turkish People of today were then.
In that context it might be interesting to note that in the 19th century Ottoman Empire - 29 Armenians had the highest governmental rank of Pasha, 22 Armenians became ministers, including Ministers of Foreign Affairs, 33 Armenians were elected to the Parliament, 7 Armenians were appointed as Ambassadors, 11 as Consul Generals, 11 Armenians served in universities as professors.
Building on these positive historical facts would probably be a far better starting point for discussions to begin between Turks and Armenians, than for the Armenians to continue beating the issues at hand to death with questionable one-sided communiqués. Its time to sit down together and talk."
Yahoo News: Britain's Blair wins but is weaker as a result of voters anger over Britains participation in Iraq war
Expatica - Protection of Bush during his visit to Southern Netherlands comes at high cost to Dutch taxpayer
The southern Dutch province of Limburg went on a virtual war footing this weekend as George Bush arrives to commemorate the end of World War II. The Dutch authorities have mobilised 1,600 police officers, 1,000 soldiers, 200 military police and 300 support staff. The regional police chief in southern Limburg, Wim Velings, has said the costs of the security operation have extended into the millions of euros. All this to guarantee the security of the US President and guests participating in the memorial at the US military cemetery Margraten as part of commemoration services to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II. Two members of Limburg's provincial legislature turned down their invitations to attend the Margraten ceremony. Labour PvdA's Jos Zuidgeest and Helma Gubbels of the green-left GroenLinks cited the invasion of Iraq as the main reason for refusing to attend what they called the "reprehensible puppet show". Several thousands of "Dutch Stop Bush" campaigners rallied in central Amsterdam on Saturday to show that "large sections of the Dutch population reject Bush's world order and the support afforded to it by Balkenende II". The demonstrators protests against Bush included the "illegal occupation of Iraq" which to date has cost the lives of "more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians and 1,600 American soldiers; abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, blocking resolutions against Israel in the UN in relation to Palestine and the so-called war on terror."
with sick toddlers in their arms, wiping up barf
laced with Oscar Mayer wieners and cherry Kool-Aid
saying, "It's okay honey, Mommy's here."
Who have sat in rocking chairs for hours on end
soothing crying babies who can't be comforted.
This is for all the mothers who show up at work with
spit-up in their hair and milk stains on their
blouses and diapers in their purse.
For all the mothers who run carpools and make
cookies and sew Halloween costumes. And all the
mothers who DON'T.
This is for the mothers who gave birth to babies
they'll never see. And the mothers who took those
babies and gave them homes.
This is for the mothers whose priceless art
collections are hanging on their refrigerator doors.
And for all the mothers who froze their buns on
metal bleachers at football or soccer games instead
of watching from the warmth of their cars, so that
when their kids asked, "Did you see me, Mom?" they
could say, "Of course, I wouldn't have missed it for
the world," and mean it.
This is for all the mothers who yell at their kids
in the grocery store and swat them in despair when
they stomp their feet and scream for ice cream
before dinner. And for all the mothers who count to
ten instead, but realize how child abuse happens.
This is for all the mothers who sat down with their
children and explained all about making babies. And
for all the (grand)mothers who wanted to, but just
couldn't find the words.
This is for all the mothers who go hungry, so their
children can eat. For all the mothers who read
"Goodnight, Moon" twice a night for a year. And then
read it again. "Just one more time "
This is for all the mothers who taught their
children to tie their shoelaces before they started
school. And for all the mothers who opted for Velcro
This is for all the mothers who teach their sons to
cook and their daughters to sink a jump shot.
This is for every mother whose head turns
automatically when a little voice calls "Mom?" in a
crowd, even though they know their own offspring are
at home -- or even away at college.
This is for all the mothers who sent their kids to
school with stomach aches assuring them they'd be
just FINE once they got there, only to get calls
from the school nurse an hour later asking them to
please pick them up. Right away.
This is for mothers whose children have gone astray,
who can't find the words to reach them.
This is for all the step-mothers who raised another
woman's child or children, and gave their time,
attention, and love... sometimes totally
For all the mothers who bite their lips until they
bleed when their 14 year olds dye their hair green.
For all the mothers of the victims of recent school
shootings, and the mothers of those who did the
For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers
who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging
their child who just came home from school, safely.
This is for all the mothers who taught their
children to be peaceful, and now pray they come home
safely from a war.
What makes a good Mother anyway?
Is it patience?
The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a
button on a shirt, all at the same time?
Or is it in her heart?
Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son or
daughter disappear down the street, walking to
school alone for the very first time?
The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from
bed to crib at 2 A.M. to put your hand on the back
of a sleeping baby?
The panic, years later, that comes again at 2 A.M.
when you just want to hear their key in the door and
know they are safe again in your home?
Or the need to flee from wherever you are and hug
your child when you hear news of a fire, a car
accident, a child dying?
The emotions of motherhood are universal and so our
thoughts are for young mothers stumbling through
diaper changes and sleep deprivation...
And mature mothers learning to let go.
For working mothers and stay-at-home mothers.
Single mothers and married mothers.
Mothers with money, mothers without. This is for
you all. For all of us. Hang in there. In the end we
can only do the best we can. Tell them every day
that we love them. And pray.
"Home is what catches you when you fall -- and we all
fall." Happy Mother's Day to you