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France is no longer master of Europe, and the scramble for a "yes" vote is nearing hysteria

By Tim King   May 2005

The question that most troubles French people about the 29th May referendum on the European constitution is whether it embodies the French vision of Europe. In the aftermath of the second world war, the French fifth republic and the new Europe were conceived simultaneously and along parallel lines. France, reconstructing its own political and administrative institutions, imagined and created with the same breath what became Europe’s. France dominated the content as well as the form of European politics. “The major initiatives,” as Larry Siedentop has written in Democracy in Europe (2002), “from Schuman’s plan for a coal and steel community,…

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