Daniel Cohn-Bendit is always worth listening to. Once one of the street leaders of the 1968 student rebellion in France, and since then Member of the European Parliament from first France and then Germany, he is now a leader of the Greens in that Parliament and a vocal debater on most European issues.
He’s distinctly in favour of the new Constitutional Treaty and distinctly worried about the consequences of the No that he anticipates in the referendum on the issue in France on Sunday. And his arguments are worth listening to.
Nothing is certain in an election or a referendum. Opinion polls still indicate that a quarter of the electorate in France haven’t yet made up their minds. There is still hope.
But if there is a No in France there is likely to be a No in the Netherlands three days later and that means, for all practical purposes, that the present proposed Constitutional Treaty is dead. To keep the process alive will only prolong the agony.
This will have consequences of different sorts, although – as Daniel points out – both the world and Europe will go on.The European Union works today and it will work tomorrow, but it has missed a good possibility of working even better in the years ahead.
And that’s really needed. There is a large risk that Europe will be squeezed between the innovation potential of America and the production potential of Asia in the decades ahead.
Only a Europe that moves forward will have the ability to inspire not only its own citizens but also the wider global community.