Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The End of the World (NOT!)

As most of you must have heard, France was voting yesterday on the European constitutionnal treaty and rejected it. I voted against it myself - therefore I can't say I'm unhappy about the outcome, even though I don't think it is a result to cheer to, either.

Let me try and be a bit more articulate about this. I have been for all my politically conscious life in favour of furthering the European union. For that reason, I was in favour of a real European constitution and I'm a bit sad at having to dismiss the proposed text. The problem is that this text was absolute crap, there's no other way to describe it. Well, see for yourself if you feel like it. I mean, this would be fine if we were talking about the rules and regulations of a condominum, but this is meant to be a constitution!

Moreover, the project included the present policies of the Union (with very few modifications), changing them into constitutionnal standards. This is unacceptable on a matter of principle and even more so if you happen to disagree with said policies...

The "Yes" camp tried to make us believe that a "no" would mean the end of the world as we know it. Well, so far, this failed to happen. The prime minister resigned this morning, but that was long overdue and anyway the new government will be mostly a reshuffle of the previous ones. The Euro went down some, but since industrialists have been wailing over the Euro's overvaluation for months, one has to think this is actually good news. Of course, the "constitution" is now a walking dead and will be even deader tomorrow after Netherland's vote but, considering the quality of the text, this isn't bad news either.

I just hope that, after going through the current rough patch, the European institutions are going to go back to work and write a completely new text, much shorter, much clearer and, for short, much more constitution-like. I'd approve it as soon as I can.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Back to the basics

I realize that the titles my most recent posts both started with "back" so.. let's make this a trend!

This blog has not been very active these days, probably because I spent most of my blogging time on my French-speaking blog, quite notably because of the political situation here, which led to a few comments in my "politix" section.

As some of you may know, the adoption of the treaty instituting a so called constitution for the European union is being submitted to the popular vote in France at the end of this month. I'm in a bit of a fix because on one hand I don't like this text at all - I'll ellaborate on this if anybody is interested; on the other end, I don't quite like the way its rejection would entail, being a strong proponent of a stronger European Union.

All in all, I'm leaning towards the "no" - since, after all, the question I'm being asked is wether I think this "constitution" is any good, and I don't think it is. Moreover, the strong arm tactics of the "yes" people (on both side of the left-right divide) make me wary of the whole thing. We'll see how the whole thing turns out in a few weeks!

But, for now, back to the basics with a very tourist-friendly view of Paris:

Paris: l'Arc de Triomphe, picture taken during a bike ride last Sunday.

Actually, the place is not tourist friendly at all: the Place de l'étoile is a huge roundabout, so swarmed with cars that there's an underground passage to go to the arch itself, while the metro station access are perfectly hidden. Paris is still not the most hospitable city of the world, is it?