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Last Updated: Friday, 20 May, 2005, 14:58 GMT 15:58 UK
EU constitution: Your views
European parliament in Strasburg
Europe Minister, Douglas Alexander has said that a French no vote would have "serious consequences" for the prospect of a UK referendum on the EU constitution.

However, in an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Alexander stopped short of ruling out a UK vote if the French reject the treaty.

The Tories have said that the government should press ahead with a UK referendum regardless of the French result.

Do you support the constitution or do you have sympathy for the No campaign? Is the constitution the right blueprint for Europe? Send us your views.

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we received:

Even if we vote no, the vote will just come up every few months until people vote yes
Pieter, Paris
I'll be voting yes for two reasons...my government manager has told me to, and I don't want to have to lie to him. And even if we vote no, the vote will just come up every few months until people vote yes. And we can't afford the money of pointless referenda on an inevitability. Democratic? No, but there is nothing we can do in the end.
Pieter, Paris

Many comments reflect people's confidence that a constitution will make us less dependant on the USA! Of course we are not dependent on the USA anyway, they are only our good friends and allies. This constitution will only make us even more dependant on Brussels. Pro-Europeans don't know what they will be letting themselves in for if we vote yes.
Neil, Isle of Skye, UK

If this constitution fails, we should try again. It's about time Europeans stopped thinking about individual member countries and instead had a cohesive union of members. Britain plays a spoiler role by constantly getting opt-outs and exceptions, that should now stop. Otherwise Europe will fall even further behind the US and will fall behind China - which threatens to jump both Europe and the US.
Bruce Cockburn, Blackburn

Have a referendum, yes, if that's what people want, but don't give them a ballot paper until they can answer a few questions on the contents of the constitution, and the reason why it exists. The level of ignorance here is alarming!
Andrew M, Walsall, UK

In an environment of ignorance as to what the EU stands for caused by the recent enlargement to 25 countries, rushing through the EU constitution in such a short time seems like an arrangement of a marriage while both the bride and the groom are drunk!
Arseven R Gumush, Cyprus

I'll be voting "no" as I'm tired of the financial corruption in Brussels and the way British interests are subjugated to those of the more powerful members of the EU like France and Germany.
Kevin Finn, United Kingdom

If the French vote no the constitution will be 'sweetened' towards the French position before asking them again. Even with a French rejection we need a UK referendum so a British no will have a similar effect. I'm sure we will. After all we have Tony's word on it.
Paul, Notts

I simply cannot understand why ordinary citizens are having this 'constitution' rammed down their throats
Robert, Bordeaux, France
I enjoy living in Bordeaux, and indeed in France, and I simply cannot understand why ordinary citizens are having this 'constitution' rammed down their throats at every conceivable opportunity. All it's doing is making more and more 'No' posters appear on the streets, and all I see are people reading 'No' literature. France is a great place to live, and in my opinion it doesn't need a 'constitution' to make it work any better. The European Union thus far has done a wonderful job of enabling people to travel and live in other parts of Europe, and so why risk spoiling something that's already good?
Robert, Bordeaux, France

The EU Constitution is 200+ pages long. All I have to say to Europeans is good luck if it's ratified. With such a large, complicated document, I'm sure those in power will find justification for just about anything.
Jeff, San Diego, USA

People need to read what the document is setting out before they pass judgement. The EU like it or not is a part of are country. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but from the ignorance of the public and the media it is suggested to be. People need to question why the French people are so against the constitution and read it and realise the UK is a huge benefiter from its changes!
Adam Kruszynski, Essex, England

I think we should leave the EU completely. Too many unelected people (or at least not elected by me) trying to control every facet of my life (bendy bananas anyone?) is ridiculous. Certainly not very democratic in my view.
Scott, Gosport

If the French vote "no" then that should be the end of it as it must be accepted by all EU nations. However, the truth is that the referenda will be repeated until the politicians' desired "yes" vote is obtained. And they call that democratic?
Chris S, UK

I will be voting 'yes' in the upcoming referendum on the EU constitution
Richard, London, UK
I will be voting 'yes' in the upcoming referendum on the EU constitution. This is not a question of ideology but a question of good governance. If we want an enlarged EU to function more efficiently, the rules of cooperation need to be revised as they are in the constitution. Even people that do not like the EU should recognise that a 'no' vote will just make matters worse in the long run.
Richard, London, UK

Ironic, British don't want to be lead by France and Germany, that I understand. But some say that if France vote no, there is no need for a referendum, then I think, that you're already led by France if you don't want to know the wishes of British people after France expresses theirs. In fact, you just want to avoid the responsibilities of what could be the biggest European crisis ever and place all the failures on France, like you always do.
Luc, France

I really don't understand this. If the French Vote 'Non' then the constitution cannot go ahead, as every country needs to vote Yes. If a country votes No then we should not waste our money on a pointless, expensive, referendum. What about spending that money on something worthwhile? I know, it'll never catch on!
Jason, Shepton Mallet, Somerset

Civilisation will take a large step forward if the EU constitution is accepted. The EU is expanding and hopefully it will continue. Hopefully the EU model should be taken up by the rest of the world and we will all be on a level playing field singing the same hymns.
Richard Davie, Burntisland, Scotland

I believe that the EU constitution sets the grounds for the future of Europe. I do not understand those that warn EU citizens that the constitution will destroy their current way of living. That is not the objective of the constitution and there is simply no article that implies this conclusion. EU National governments still have the power to go their own way as a lot of them do so now. It does not oblige a country to adopt the euro, it only states the minimum requirements for the existing and future members of the EU. In a few words, it sets the minimal requirements and the rules of the game. Then, a country can increase these standards.
Jorge Camara, Dubai, UAE

I have heard many commentators and politicians say that if the French vote no the constitution is dead. I seem to remember other countries having to hold fresh referendums on the Euro when they gave the 'wrong' answer. If the UK votes against the constitution will that be the end of the matter? Or will we be marched back to the ballot box, reinforcing the impression that some EU members are more equal than others.
Chris Sheriff, London, UK

The EC has far outgrown its usefulness
C Preece, Tamworth, UK
The EC has far outgrown its usefulness. As a "Common Market" it worked fine but, as some form of superstate run by Brussels it is quite something else. It costs the UK a net 4.3bn per year - for what exactly? To say that the EU was formed to prevent armed conflict is nonsense - NATO performs that role. A simple European trading agreement is all that is required. Norway and Switzerland are not members and their economies have not suffered as a result. I live and work in the UK - not Europe. As for jobs being a reason to sign, this is again another scare tactic. Cross border movement of jobs is an illusion. The French will continue to employ French workers and the Germans German workers.. A resounding no vote is the only hope for the UK economy and way of life. We owe it too our children.
C. Preece, Tamworth, UK

If people didn't bother to take part in the Euro Elections then that is there own fault if they don't like whose talking on their behalf
Phil, UK
Let's remember that you are not getting dictated to by a 'central European committee' you are being represented by the MEP that you elected and so did everyone else in Europe. As it was PR election too then it's allowed a much more varied opinion base including the Greens that we never see in Westminster. It is far more democratic than the Westminster elections and if people didn't bother to take part in the Euro Elections then that is there own fault if they don't like whose talking on their behalf.
Phil, UK

I have been living in France now for some 25 years, and have been spectator to the French voting in this referendum and the last one for Europe. M Chirac asks us all to vote yes and the last time he asked us all to vote no. Has Europe changed so much? The French who vote no are not anti-Europe and many would have us believe, they are just against becoming part of a financial game in which they are being used as pawns., My mother was Scottish, my father was Spanish, my father-in-law was Italian, and my mother-in-law is French, and I will still be voting no!
Kathryn, France

What people seem to ignore when they talk about us being "ruled by a committee in Brussels" is that as the country with the second largest population and economy in Europe, we have the second largest number of votes on this "committee". If we chose to exercise this power, we would be running Europe, not the other way round. Instead we waste our power and sit on the sidelines moaning. But at least that's the British way of doing things.
David Griffiths, Cardiff

After 30 years of being ignored the people of the UK finally get the chance to say something about the EU. When they do get their say it will not be just on the constitution, but on the whole 30 years of EU. membership. Once the 30 year gag is removed I doubt you can expect people to say thank you.
Phil, UK, London

But ask yourselves what we have in common with Greece, Latvia and Finland. Not a lot would be my answer, but our political leaders want to be a unified country. Those who support this treaty be under no illusion, states will continues to fight for their best interests at the expense of their neighbours
Ed, London UK

I voted Yes in the referendum as to whether we should join the European Economic Community. I am still very much in favour of the ECC. Regrettably it has mutated into something else; a fledgling state that I do not want to be a part of. I shall vote when (if) we have our say in the matter.
Barry, Bromely Kent

It goes against the very principles of democracy to be dictated to by a central European committee. Its 'free trade' but at what cost to the British people?
Mark, Reading

Many comments here reflect the tenet of EU faith that if you don't love the EU it can only be because you don't understand it. As well as reading the constitution I'd recommend people to read the stories of sacked whistle blowers. My experience is the more you know, the less you like it.
Roger, Cambridge, UK

If the EU constitution is a step towards a federal Europe, so what? It will still be a democracy, and could end up saving individual member states money. Why, for instance, does each constituent state need its own armed forces? Far more effective to have a single EU force to protect EU borders. The EU is a union of civilised, democratic countries. We have nothing to fear from it.
Max, Abu Dhabi, UAE

The choice is simple - do we want to be governed by Westminster or Brussels
Ian Meadows, (Brit ex-pat)Australia

The choice is simple - do we want to be governed by Westminster or Brussels? The public should vote for what they think is best for themselves, their families and their country. But still I fear that those who, quite objectively, vote "No" will be branded narrow-minded, xenophobic little Englanders.
Ian Meadows, (Brit ex-pat)Australia

The EU Constitution is a boring legal document. One doesn't get inspired reading this document - therefore it fails in its purpose. Stop trying to make the EU some political organization, keep it an economic bloc. Europe has some of the slowest economic growth in the world, the Euro is grossly overvalued and governments on the continent have made impossible for companies to business there. How in the world is a EU Constitution going to solve any of those problems - it's only going to make things worse.
Dalo, Coral Gables, FL - US

When politicians bunch together and turn their backs on the people who voted them in, it is high time to change the politicians. If countries vote NO, that's it. It all boils down to listening to the people and changing the politicians as soon as possible. How long is it since they have stopped representing us?
Jimmy Stewart, Buenos Aires, Argentina

When are we going to get some information about the proposed constitution? A decent summary by an independent body would be useful. Then we would all know what the argument is about.
Chris, Surrey. UK.

Look at the business world; mergers were all the rage 20 years ago, and now the opposite is true. Sadly Europe is 20 years behind the times and is heading towards all the problems the large companies are facing these days. If we as nations are to stay competitive in the global marketplace we need to stay small and agile.
Simon Maller, St. Albans, UK

As a Brit living in the USA I like to think of the UK as an independent country and not subservient to a European Parliament, which is what will happen in spite of assurances from Tony Blair. He has already shown that he is not to be trusted in many ways. Why should we believe him now?
Jennifer Marchant, Bay Point California USA

Too many languages, cultures, religions and ways of life. Impossible to reconcile. Vote No
John Martin, Canterbury Kent England

Tearing a house down is much easier than building one. In an enormous effort a new constitution has been realised. You are obliged to accept it, because it is done in your interest against all the other European interests. Time to think as an European first and as a national second. The people elected to represent you in Europe are doing an excellent job in name of you. Referenda are useless in this respect because the majority of voters has no knowledge about the content and the only question you have to ask yourself is: Are you still confident in the skills of your representation in Europe.
Pierre Beerkens, Netherlands

In principle, I think a constitution for the EU is a good idea. I have tried to read the current one, but could not continue beyond page 10
Oscar Lima, (Italian citizen in) Brighton, UK

In principle, I think a constitution for the EU is a good idea. I have tried to read the current one, but could not continue beyond page 10. The prospect of 200 more pages discouraged me. Constitutions should be about basic principles and this one goes too much into the details. I hope it is rejected and that a newer class of politicians drafts something reasonable for the next try. However, those who reject it without even having bothered to read it should at least try.
Oscar Lima, (Italian citizen in) Brighton, UK - EU

It is interesting that whenever one hears criticism of the European Union, one never hears discussion of the real reason it exists: to prevent armed conflict. The economic aspect of the EU is, was and realistically forever will be a sideshow. The real reason for its existence is to prevent European-wide war. And the Constitution is simply another in a long line of attempts to make the possibility of war even more distant.
Tom Finnegan, Sheffield

Britain has a choice. Either we fully engage in the EU and participate in it wholeheartedly and accept that a constitution is necessary; or we slip away from Europe and eventually find ourselves subsumed into the United States; or we do as we usually do and muddle along, shrilly proclaiming our independence when in fact we are utterly dependent upon others for our security and economic well being. It strikes me that the loudest opponents are those who gain most from, for example, the excessive working hours culture which we have in the UK.
Simon Perkins, Tadcaster, North Yorkshire

I am a Labour voter and ardently pro-European in terms of trade, free movement of people, cultural exchange, etc, but am against anything that moves us closer to being part of a super state run by a European parliament and European Commission that have shown themselves to be self-serving at best and corrupt at worst. How dare Tony Blair try to scare us into thinking that a no-vote on the constitution would mean the end of Europe. What rubbish. Is he so obsessed with securing this "Blairite legacy" we keep hearing about that he's forgotten what the job of a UK PM is - to govern the UK in our best interests, not his?
Sandra Halliday, London, UK

What confounds me is that here we have our government telling us that this is not a step towards a federal Europe, rather a tidying up exercise. Yet in France and Germany Chirac and Schroeder are emphasising the fact that it is a step closer to a federal Europe. Either way someone is lying, and as to why anyone would want further undemocratic intrusiveness into our domestic politics also baffles me!
Jim, UK

The beauty of England, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and all the other countries of Europe is that they have their own identity that has grown and developed over centuries. Now some distant politicians want to make us all the same and turn this into some plastic super state. Allow us just to get on with our lives and allow our country and our laws to develop as we see fit.
Oliver, W Sussex, England

Hopefully the British will be smart and reject this constitution. Already we have seen the EU trying to dictate to the UK how many hours we can work. It should be up to the individual to decide and I know lots of people that will suffer, if this rule goes ahead. The UK has the strong economy in Europe at this time and the EU on its present course is set to destroy that.
Ryan, London

I don't know one benefit to Britain joining the EU. We have falling unemployment whilst Germany has 10 million unemployed. There's no question of us being left behind as we're ahead of the pack. If they didn't need us to join because of our wealth they would've moved on without us years ago.
Richard, UK

We need this constitution to make the EU run effectively with all the recent new members. It does not take away significant powers from the UK. Also, we still have the veto over issues such as defence, immigration, etc. The constitution will be a good thing for Europe in the long term.
Matthew Pearson, Oxford, UK

An economic platform of free trade in what people want - not a single European government
Kathy Winton, Scottsdale, AZ, USA

A constitution would mean there is a solid political union and the basis for a United States of Europe. I do not think this is a valid idea - there is no shared history, language or culture. It is clearly an attempt to create yet another layer of government. An economic platform of free trade in what people want - not a single European government.
Kathy Winton, Scottsdale, AZ, USA

It's been said that democracy is the worst form of governance... apart from all the other alternatives. Likewise the EU and this constitution are far from perfect, but they're still better than the alternative of a continent of individual states all fighting (sometimes literally) for their own selfish interests.... The EU is the only show in town, and the sooner we spend our time positively trying to make it work for us, the better. The French "no" campaign, by the way, says "no" because it thinks the constitution is too "British!"
Graeme Bell, Dinan, France

The EU constitution has been drafted by the usual band of unanswerable European administration untouchables, who are more interested in pushing forward their precious EU project than looking after the well being of tax-paying citizens. I have already funded this worthless exercise with my tax for several years, and I do not see how it will improve my well being at all. I will be voting "No".
Duncan, London, UK

I support the idea of a constitution in principal. However I cannot make a decision on whether I support this one, as I have not read it! It baffles me when people dismiss (or support for that matter) it if they have not read it. I hope the Government makes copies available, so I can read it and make an informed decision.
Fergus Howell, Wombleton, North Yorkshire, UK

We spent the late 80s and early 90s encouraging the break up of the centrally-controlled Soviet Union (and later on Yugoslavia), applauding the newly formed sovereign states. Now our politicians are trying to encourage, or (more specifically) frighten us into voting to give up our sovereign powers and hand them over to a, you guessed it, centrally-controlled super state!
John Gardiner, Worcester

Clearly this treaty will take the EU further down the road of integration, and must be viewed as such. In theory, this is beneficial in terms of ultimately creating another superpower, but one with a more humane and responsible face. In practice however it will lead to more of the same but worse : a disjointed, undemocratic, bureaucratic, and wasteful set- up, dominated by the French and Germans, and riddled with competing national interests. No thank you.
Peter, Basildon, Essex

I think to ignore Europe is very foolish and short sighted. Europe is the future we need to be part of it. Our laws won't be changed so what's to be scared off. Too many "Little Englanders" scared of change. Together with Europe we can become stronger on the world stage. And not reliant on the US.
Kieran Holland, London

I am for Europe and for a constitution. I am against this constitution, as it is too complicated and too rigid. We need a constitution which will allow the Union to flourish, not force it to stagnate in the grip of Franco-German control.
Robert Gallen, Reading

First you build a united and equal Europe, then you talk with its members about giving a constitution. How is it that the French and Germans are so keen on imposing this poorly discussed and even more poorly explained text on all of the Europeans? Constitutions are evolved over a long period of discussion, not conjured up or subjected to referenda.
Russ, Paris, France

Saying no to anything European is becoming a badge of Britishness. We need to get over this ignorant and reactionary attitude or we will end up the laughing stock of Europe - not one of its leaders
Emma, Netherlands (ex-pat)
With the ill-informed anti-European press in the UK I don't know how the British public can be expected to make any sensible decision regarding Europe. Throughout the election and now concerning the constitution our politicians and press have displayed the kind of short-sighted island mentality which seems to be being encouraged more and more. Saying no to anything European is becoming a badge of Britishness. We need to get over this ignorant and reactionary attitude or we will end up the laughing stock of Europe - not one of its leaders.
Emma, Netherlands (ex-pat)

We started by joining something sensible - the "Common Market" - but now we are on the brink of political union with 24 other countries, most of which have some kind of Socialist leanings. I don't want this, and I only know of one person in my street who does. We must vote No.
Andy, Cheshire, England

This document was drafted in public by MPs, MEPs and experts from all over Europe. It is a delicate balance between national and European powers. If that's some kind of secret project for a super state then I'm Robert Kilroy-Silk!
Mohammed, Glasgow

Here in Sweden there are roundtable discussion groups available where you can go and learn about what is and is not in the new "Treaty" as well as discuss it. Yet again, there is a distinct lack of information or public debates in the UK. It's saddening to know that the majority voting in a UK referendum will probably have only informed themselves via the propaganda of the anti-European tabloids, instead of forming their own opinion based on clear, unbiased and jargon-free information.
Helen Platt, Sweden

Having studied EU law as part of my law degree last year, and having briefly looked at parts of the new Constitution, it seems to me to be a nonsense having a public vote on so complex a document, which makes many changes to current EU law. How can anyone vote for or against a document they have never read, and would not really understand if they did?!
Anna, London, UK

Irrespective of its merits, (if any) there is little or no public appetite for this EU constitution
Tim Huff, UK
Irrespective of its merits, (if any) there is little or no public appetite for this EU constitution, still less for current interference in domestic politics by Brussels. It is hard to see how any lasting good can come from signing up to such a document until it has actual active and widespread public support.
Tim Huff, UK

I think the EU constitution is in no mans land. It sits between a simple free market area at one end and a full "United States of Europe" at the other. It has none of the advantages of either extreme but has the disadvantages of keeping both full national and full federal governments with all the associated costs and bureaucracy. It needs to be either one or the other; I don't think it'll work as a halfway house. (I don't really care which as there are advantages to both but for goodness sake, make your minds up.)
Michael Boyns, Lincoln, England

A constitution doesn't need to be over 300 pages long and it doesn't need to set out "aims". The constitution should only be the cast iron things we stand for. Which leaves me pro-European, but anti-constitution.
Ian, Hitchin, Herts

The problem will be that, if we have a referendum, I don't think it will just be on the constitution. They will also try and split in a hidden vote on taking the Euro into the UK. I think this would be wrong. Regarding the constitution, I haven't even heard what it contains. Why should we vote yes for something that we haven't read?
Tim, Croydon, UK

A defeat of the EU constitution would be a stunning example of political stupidity
John, Ossining, USA
A defeat of the EU constitution would be a stunning example of political stupidity. Any warm body could gather 51% of popular vote in England and Europe simply by opposing Bush and USA.
John, Ossining, USA

I hope the debate will just stick to the facts. The EU was set up with six countries, now there are 25 and more to come. The rules need to change and it looks like this constitution clarifies those rules without any real change in authority. I think it should be welcomed as it should make everything more efficient - a big criticism at the moment.
Derek Smith, Leeds

How can we make such an important decision when European issues such has this are poorly covered by our media. The one thing our tabloids are very good at is Europe "bashing" but when it comes to what Europe can do for this country, they look on how to cover the point in a negative way.
Bumble, Dartford, Kent

Why on earth would we want an EU constitution? - drawn up by unrepresentative and untouchable 'jobsworths' who draft laws and change things to keep themselves busy and seemingly productive, rather than be of any use. We don't need the 'best' about Europe - we're already the best! Ask any immigrant!
Mark, Leicester

Personally, I hope that the contents are debated openly rather than just dismissed
Chris Johnson, Romford, Essex
Personally, I hope that the contents are debated openly rather than just dismissed, either for or against, as a knee-jerk reaction based on party political lines. Chance would be a fine thing...
Chris Johnson, Romford, Essex

As a Scotsman living in Luxembourg and studying in England I can see the whole perspective. I believe the no campaign are failing to see the advantages for UK business (like my small scarf export business) and are blinded by the fear of losing the British identity, something actually protected by the constitution.
Richard, Cambridge

If people react badly to the EU constitution it will be from a gut feeling based on nationalism, which is nothing but imagined sentiment. If people actually read the document they would realise that it changes very little but rather codifies the existing treaties. If anything it just makes things a bit more straightforward and accessible.
Daniel (19), Glasgow

As a UNISON activist I'll be voting 'no'. The proposed constitution enshrines neo-liberal economic policies like privatisation and makes it difficult if not impossible for states to pursue more radical economic strategies. In short, it reads like a blueprint for a bosses' Europe. Like most trade unionists I consider myself an internationalist, but not with this top-down approach.
Ben Drake, York, UK

Given that the EU now want to make a Europe-wide speed limit of 62mph and most people in Britain want to see the speed limit on motorways increased, I can see a lot of justified opposition to any form of EU diktat, which this constitution appears to be.
Martin, Glasgow


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