It is hard to resist the conclusion of many of my free-market confreres that France, while doing the right thing by voting out the proposed EU constitution, has done so for the “wrong” reason of opposing Anglo-Saxon “ultra-liberalism” but resist it I will. Now, I’m a pretty “ultra-liberal” kinda guy. In French terms I’m probably a notch or two past “ultra”, (perhaps a “mecha-liberal”?). But, this highlights the basic problem with the entire EU integration project: If France doesn’t want “ultra-liberalism” - or more accurately a slightly more reformed and liberalised version of dirigisme - why should she be forced to endure it? What better reason can there be for saying “Non”?
In rejecting the constitution because the compromise on offer was still a step too far for France’s cherished “social model”, the French voters have (for once!) done a valuable service by demonstrating that there is unlikely ever to be one economic model which will suit every EU country and it is folly to pursue this chimera.