The French have voted down the proposed European Union by a substantial margin. Of course, what the article points out is that those who voted no in France overwhelmingly voted no for the wrong reasons.
Unlike the Dutch, who seem likely to vote down the treaty this Wednesday, French detractors are not necessarily worried about ceding sovereignty to an unelected bureaucracy in Brussels (with weak powers of oversight granted to the European Parliament) but rather, seemed to be frightened that powerful supranational authority would shove capitalism down their collective throats and attack the French "social model."
After observing the general economic/social trajectory of Western European nations, Kid Various has no understanding of where they got that idea.
However, it does seem to be a general fear of the influx of nations from New Europe, which are much more dynamic and less statist than Old Europe. The French being afraid that those nations will remake them, rather than they remaking Eastern Europe. Maybe it wasn't such a bad idea for Lithuania to join the EU after all.
The NY Times article also neatly sums up the problem with France in general:
At the polling place at the Karl Marx primary school in downtown Bobigny, a working-class suburb of Paris, by contrast, there was no sense that Europe's future hinged on the constitution.
With 18 percent unemployment and a large ethnic Arab and African population, 72 percent of the voters there said no.
The probelm being, that there is a Karl Marx primary school in France!!!
What the hell is up with that? What is that saying about French society? And you wonder why France has double digit unemployment and stagnant growth.
Regardless, The Kid is happy that the French have had the opportunity to make such decisions for themselves in a real election rather than just having the Euroelites tell them what's good for them. In the end that's healthier.
Of course, as Mark Steyn notes, whether or not the Euroelites will allow that to happen is an open question:
So, a couple of days before the first referendum, Jean-Claude Juncker, the "president" of the European Union, let French and Dutch voters know how much he values their opinion:
"If at the end of the ratification process, we do not manage to solve the problems, the countries that would have said No, would have to ask themselves the question again," "President" Juncker told the Belgian newspaper Le Soir.
Got that? You have the right to vote, but only if you give the answer your rulers want you to give. But don't worry, if you don't, we'll treat you like a particularly backward nursery school and keep asking the question until you get the answer right. Even America's bossiest nanny-state Democrats don't usually express their contempt for the will of the people quite so crudely.
Juncker is a man from Luxembourg, a country two-thirds the size of your rec room, and, under the agreeably clubby EU arrangements, he gets to serve as "president" without anything so tiresome as having to be voted into the job by "ordinary people." His remarks capture precisely the difference between the new Europe and the American republic.