Five minute briefing: Does the split over Europe's future course spell danger for the euro?

Are all "no" voters singing from the same songsheet?

No. There are some similarities between some of those in France and the Netherlands who rejected the constitution. Left-wing parties in both countries opposed the treaty on the basis that it was infused with free-market liberalism.

But this element was much bigger in France than in the Netherlands where most voters are more at home with the idea of free markets and less worried about the threat to "social" Europe.

Many in both countries opposed the enlargement of the EU, which admitted 10 new countries last year, and hate the idea of Turkey starting membership talks. In France this was linked more to the fear of losing jobs.

In the Netherlands the issue was acutely sensitive because of the murder of two anti-immigration campaigners in the past three years. Meanwhile the Dutch were more motivated by UK-style worries about loss of sovereignty, fears that small nations will be dominated by larger ones, and anger about inflation following the introduction of the euro.

Is the euro about to become the next victim of the new wave of populism?

No. True, one fringe Italian minister has already called for a referendum on quitting the euro. And German media reports - strenuously denied - have suggested that a return to the D-mark was being contemplated. The significance of these events is only that, for the first time, some mavericks are thinking the unthinkable. But no governments are doing so. So much money and political credit has been invested in establishing the single currency. The euro may not have been the runaway success expected in terms of delivering economic growth, but it has not been a failure either.

Are we about to have a rerun of the old Europe-new Europe schism witnessed over Iraq?

On many issues, yes. The French vote will reinforce instincts in Paris to block liberal economic measures and may prompt several nations to delay or obstruct further EU enlargement. The first victim is likely to be a proposed directive to open up the EU market in services.

This proved a big issue in the French referendum and, even though it has been watered down, Paris may try to kill it stone dead. The French may also press for a new declaration in defence of their social model.

However the more free-market ideas championed by Tony Blair will be backed by a group of eastern European countries and, in some cases, by the Nordics. This week the UK saw off plans to end its opt-out to limits on working hours by drawing on such allies.

However British enthusiasm for Turkish accession to the EU will run into greater opposition, not just from France but also from the Netherlands, Austria and - if the government in Berlin changes - in Germany.

Meanwhile Romania and Bulgaria may have their membership bid held up for a year, and Croatia's application looks vulnerable.

Can the different visions of Europe be reconciled?

Probably not in the short term. The situation looks like a recipe for stagnation.

The French President, Jacques Chirac, and the German Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, do not look capable of relaunching a new process of integration. Both are discredited and weak politically, indeed Mr Schröder may be out of a job in September and M. Chirac is not likely to be in post after 2007. Britain, which holds the EU presidency from July, is too partisan to be a middleman.

The solution is a flexible EU where different levels of co-operation and integration between different and interlocking groups of countries is permitted. But getting there is going to prove far from easy.

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