Monday, June 06, 2005

Round Table on the French and Dutch Referenda

Today Monday 6 June, at the European University institute, there will be A Discussion of the Results of the Dutch and French Referenda on the EU Constitutional Treaty

Panellists will include: Bruno De Witte, Tom Eijsbouts, Yves Mény, Rick van der Ploeg, Jacques Ziller.

A report will be posted later on


European Academics are puzzled on the issue of referenda. Honestly, they did not expect it to be so bad. I do not know why --it looked pretty previsible-- but this is it. The overall impression is that they do not know what to say, and do. They blame this failure on politicians and badly timed political choices. They stress that there are no leaders at the moment in Europe. Plus, those who are there seem to be dramatically weakened. Schroeder, Chirac, Blair, and Berlusconi are very weak.

So are european intellectuals, I say. To point to the lack of leadership is a distressingly unhelpful from the academic viewpoint. If leadership cannot gather consensus, this is also--and maybe mainly-- because there are no fresh ideas on what Europe should be and how Europe should be presented to Europeans at large.

Pessimism for this result should not prevent us from thinking innovatively. This would be the worst thing!

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