Thursday, January 27, 2005

GREAT BRITIAN - Vote on EU constitution may distance USA!

The relationship between England and the USA may depend on a 14 word question being put to the British people: "Should the United Kingdom approve the treaty establishing a constitution for the European Union?"

British isolation from their European neighbors would force them closer to their cousins across the pond; whereas acceptance of an EU constitution would make the pond even wider, leaving the USA further isolated. reports [By Gerri Peev] ...

THE 14-word question which will confront voters in a referendum over the European Constitution was published yesterday.

Ministers set out the "patriotic case" for signing up as the wording on the ballot was revealed. Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, hailed the constitution as a "very British vision of Europe" - and insisted the referendum would also determine the UK’s place on the world stage.

In the vote, expected in spring next year, voters will be asked: "Should the United Kingdom approve the treaty establishing a constitution for the European Union?"

The straightforward wording, included in the European Union Bill, was welcomed by sceptics who feared that the government might try to dupe voters into backing the constitution by posing a broader question on Britain’s relationship with Europe.

Mr Straw said Britain’s power in the world was staked on the outcome of the referendum, which will cost £80 million to stage. "If we reject this treaty, Britain will be isolated and weak in Europe - going cap in hand to our partners, and may be forced, in time, to accept some kind of second-class status in Europe as others
go ahead without us," he claimed. "That is the patriotic case - for a Britain which takes its opportunities, builds on what we have achieved in Europe, and uses our alliances to make us more powerful and more influential in the world."

Peter Mandelson, the EU commissioner, warned a "no" vote would be a "leap into the unknown, into a situation where we cannot tell the consequences".

Conservatives had no qualms about the question’s wording, but accused ministers of cowardice for not holding the referendum before the general election, expected in May.

If a sceptical British public cannot be won over by government’s upbeat "yes" campaign, Tony Blair could be forced to resign, given his integrationist views, say observers. "This is Tony Blair’s cheap gesture to the pro-constitution lobby while he runs scared of a debate on Europe he knows he cannot win," said Michael Ancram, the shadow foreign secretary.

No comments:

Post a Comment