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French foreign minister warns of EU constitution crisis

[JURIST] France's Foreign Minister Michel Barnier [official profile] warned a 'no' vote in France's referendum on the European constitution [official website in English; JURIST news archive] will kill the treaty and create a crisis at the European Union [official website]. Recent polls in France have suggested voters will reject the constitution, something Barnier blames on confusion over the treaty, fears over globalisation, fears of Turkey's admission into the union, and a lack of clarity over Europe's direction. Barnier maintains the country has no secondary plan in the event of a 'no' vote and that such a vote could lead to an institutional breakdown. Every country in the EU needs to ratify the constitution for it to take effect. Barnier rejected suggestions that the larger countries in the EU could somehow save some elements of the constitution in the event of a 'no' vote. The fight over the EU constitution has been pitched as an idealogical battle between advocates of a free-market path and those in favor of Europe's traditions of strong social protection. France votes on the constitution next month. The Independent has more.

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