US keeps its head down as European crisis loomsUS keeps its head down as European crisis looms
The United States is doing its best not to be seen as taking sides as the European Union agonises over whether to approve a landmark constitution. Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said that US officials would be happy to see a French "no," because it "would correspond to their idea of a weak Europe". French President Jacques Chirac has also played the anti-American card in his campaigning for the May 29 vote.
Dutch No looks irreversible
Less than two weeks before the Dutch referendum on the EU Constitution, pollsters see a rejection of the treaty as irreversible. A poll by Interview/NSS for public television predicted that no less than 63 percent would oppose the constitution, while 37 percent of the Dutch would endorse the text. Chances for an eventual "yes" are "very small".
Eurovision harmony dies a death
The notion that the Continent's peoples are basically a bunch of genocidal whackoes champing at the bit for a new bloodbath is one I'm not unsympathetic to. But it's a curious rationale to pitch to one's electorate: vote for us; we're the straitjacket on your own worst instincts. However the French and Dutch votes go, it seems unlikely that the EU's rulers will allow anything as footling as the will of the people to derail the project at this late stage. In Euro-referendums, there's only one correct answer; it's just that sometimes you have to have two votes before the people figure out which one it is. My sense is that the French will vote narrowly for the constitution and the Dutch will narrowly reject it, but either way the EU will figure out a way to inflict it on the Continent. A stitch-up in time saves, nein?