The Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2005

The Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union 2005

URL (Internet address) :

Back to the origin page

Press Release
Statement by Luxembourg Prime Minister and current President of the European Council, Jean-Claude Juncker, following the results of the French referendum

Date of release : 30-05-2005

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

France has voted.

And France has said no.

A majority of French have rejected the constitutional treaty in its proposed form.

Admittedly, this gives us a heavy heart.

But we have taken note of the decision of the French people, with the respect that the expression of universal suffrage inspires.

The French debate over these past months has been instructive in many ways.

Firstly, it was a great moment of democracy. To have seen every French person debating in an intense manner, and to have seen three out of four vote, has impressed us. If all the people of Europe showed the same interest in the European causa as the French, we would at last witness the emergence of this European public opinion which is so cruelly lacking at present.

I am convinced that the French, having now taken on European affairs, will not give up this interest. They will continue the debate among themselves and will listen to the discussions of the other Europeans.

And then, the debate brought to the fore several different conceptions of Europe, alternating between the standpoint of those who want more Europe, and those who believe that the Europe of today has already gone too far.

We have listened to both sides, and have come out perplexed. Among those who have said no, some would like to put a halt to all, while others want to go still further. It proves to be a difficult task to find agreement between these diverging conceptions of Europe.

It is therefore impossible to renegotiate the treaty under these conditions. We need to reflect on these French contradictions which are perhaps European ones.

Finally, it is important to know what the attitude of the other Europeans will be. Yes, the constitutional debate is French. But it is also a European debate.

I therefore believe that the ratification process should go ahead in the other countries. Nine countries have ratified the treaty. Others will have to make their choice. The French debate will feed the discussions in the other countries. The debates of others will feed future French debates. We will take stock of the situation during the usual meeting of the European Council planned for mid-June. I will prepare this evaluation, as I will all the other points on the agenda of the European Council, as of tomorrow morning, by receiving all the other members of the European Council one after the other.

The European construction does not stop today.

Last update of this page on : 31-05-2005