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更新时间:2006/7/13
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French and Dutch Reject EU Constitution (Part B)

Things were supposed to be so different -- this was the way the EU would connect with its citizens. The constitution would be the basic building block of a more powerful and more confident Union for years to come. But now -- in France and in the Netherlands -- the citizens have struck back.

"They took us for granted" said one man in The Hague as he jumped onto his bicycle after casting his vote. "I don't think they'll be doing that again", he added, as he peddled off into the crowd.

"We've already got our own constitution", said a woman further down the road. She stared at the European version which I'd just pulled out of my bag, as if she'd just seen a ghost. "Why on earth would we want that?"

So four years on - and my last European summit as a correspondent based here in Brussels is fast approaching. What's it all been for? Other things have moved on -- even the giant spheres of the Atomium -- looming over the skyline of northern Brussels -- are being clad in a brand new shiny aluminium skin.

But the EU constitution seems to have gone back to square one. This lengthy document, which grew from the seeds planted on that first freezing summit morning in the Atomium's shadow, needs rather more than a quick repair job -- the French and the Dutch have taken a couple of wrecking balls to the European structure, and still no-one is quite sure what will be left standing when the dust finally settles.

Never a week goes by here without someone explaining how they're going to communicate better with the citizens of Europe, and make the EU more accessible. If there was an easy way to do that, it would have been done already. The EU is a complex beast which doesn't lend itself too readily to instant explanations. Many of its citizens simply aren't interested; others are too quick to blame the Union for mishaps created elsewhere.

And that was crystal clear in the two referendum campaigns. People were opposed to the constitution for a wide variety of sometimes contradictory reasons. For every French voter who wanted more Europe with better social protection there was a Dutch voter who wanted less Europe which cost them less money. For every angry no vote cast in protest against an unpopular government today, there was another cast in fear of an uncertain future tomorrow.

So it will take months if not years to fathom the real long-term consequences of the French "non" and the Dutch "nee". The EU will have to rethink some basic principles. But I don't think this is the beginning of the end of the Union. It could now branch out in a rather different direction of course. If the events of the last few days mean the voice of the people really will be heard -- then perhaps this long constitutional process will have brought some clarity, and will have been worthwhile after all.


参考译文:

事情本来可以是另一个样子的——这就是欧盟国家领导人同他们的民众之间的沟通的问题了。这个宪法本可以成为一个强大的基础,可以使欧洲在未来的几年里成为一个更加强大,更加有自信的联盟的。但是现在,法国和荷兰的民众已经使这种可能性破灭了。

 “他们想当然地认为我们会同意”,一个荷兰人在投票以后跳上自行车后说道,“我觉得他们以后就不会再这样认为了”说完,他便融入了熙熙攘攘的人群。

沿着路继续走,我们又碰见了一个妇女。她说,“我们已经得到了我们自己的宪法。”我从我的提包中拿出一本欧洲宪法,她一直盯着看,就像看到鬼了一样。“我们为什么一定要这个?”

四年以后,就是在我作为记者所经历的在布鲁塞尔举行的最后一次欧洲峰会上,事情进展神速。究竟是怎么回事?很多其它的事情都进展地十分快。甚至从布鲁塞尔北部地平线上缓缓浮现的那个巨大的原子半球也镀了一层铝,显得格外耀眼。

但是欧盟宪法却似乎在原地踏步,没有什么进展。这份冗长的文件就是在布鲁塞尔的一个吹着微风的早上公布的,但是现在看来,却需要对它快速进行修整。法国和荷兰已经给欧盟一次强有力的打击,不知道在以后的时间里,还会有什么事情会发生。

每个星期,欧盟领导人都会向民众解释他们会如何努力增进他们同民众之间的交流,并使欧盟更加平易近人。但是如果有一个简单的方法可以做到的话,那么这个方法早就用上了。欧盟是一个复杂的怪兽,它不会轻易屈从于这样的解释。很多民众根本不感兴趣;还有的人直接就责备欧盟在其他方面所带来的灾难。

这一点在两次全民公决中已经体现得十分明显。民众反对欧盟,原因有很多,而且这些原因有时候还是互相矛盾的。有多少法国人支持一个统一的欧洲,需要更多的社会保护,就有多少荷兰人支持一个小欧洲,不需要他们付那么多钱。有多少人拒绝投票来抗议不受欢迎的政府,就有多少人去投票,因为他们害怕未来那种不稳定的社会。

所以说,想要探究荷兰人和法国人为什么投了反对票的深层原因,就算不需要几年,至少也需要几个月。欧盟必须仔细考虑一下那些基本原则。但是我并不认为这是欧盟走下坡路的一个开始。欧盟现在完全可以向着一个完全不同的方向扩展它的范围。如果前几天的事情证明了欧盟开始考虑民众的想法的话,那么这条漫长的欧洲宪法之路将会澄清一些事情,同时,这条宪法之路也值得走下去。

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