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Brussels is paralysed with fear and dismay over the French referendum. Plus—why can't the British and the Americans get on over trade?

By Manneken Pis   May 2005

The French referendum horror Official Brussels is paralysed with fear. All potentially controversial actions are on hold until after the French referendum: the services directive is being “re-examined”; plans for tougher rules on state aid have been deferred. The official explanation for this latest (in)action—that the commission has too crowded an agenda—is a joke. The reality is that the commission now barely dares to breathe, lest the sound somehow enrage the voters of France. The prospect of the French rejecting the constitution on 29th May seems too awful to contemplate. It is inexplicable, too—how could anyone turn down such a…

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