French opinion: 'This will not be a disaster for Europe - we need some more time for reflection'

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The Independent Online

I didn't make up my mind until the very last minute. Even though I'm very pro-European, I don't think that we are ready to say "yes" to this treaty quite yet. There has been a lot of pressure from the "yes" campaign but I don't believe that it will be a disaster for Europe or for France if the "no" wins. We need more time for reflection and understanding.

No: MATHIEU HARDY, Architecture student

I didn't make up my mind until the very last minute. Even though I'm very pro-European, I don't think that we are ready to say "yes" to this treaty quite yet. There has been a lot of pressure from the "yes" campaign but I don't believe that it will be a disaster for Europe or for France if the "no" wins. We need more time for reflection and understanding.

Yes: FABIEN PETIT, Management consultant

A rejection of this treaty would be a massive blow to Europe. I approve of the principles that seem to underpin this constitution, such as equality between men and women for example, and I think they reflect those which have always been important to us in France. Despite what people say about it being too "liberal", I actually think this is a very social constitution.

No: GERTRUDE TOKO, Computer programmer

I am absolutely against this constitution. There are a thousand and one reasons to vote against it but what concerns me most is the effect it could have on employment in France. The prospect of big companies moving to cheaper parts of the EU really worries me. This treaty was drawn up by a bunch of cronies in Brussels without ordinary people like me in mind.

No: JÉROME SICSIC, Businessman

I have always been pro-European but recently I have been disappointed by the political stagnation in Europe. This treaty doesn't represent any kind of positive evolution of the EU. Decision-making on a European level is difficult enough with the present number of countries - the constitution should address this issue before the Union is enlarged to 25.

Yes: FRANÇOISE LEMAIRE, Aeronautics sales agent

For the first time I have voted half-heartedly. I am extremely pro-European but unwilling to indirectly support Jacques Chirac. His arrogance and manipulation in this referendum have disgusted me and I was tempted to vote "no" as a way of registering my unhappiness. However, I know that this vote should ultimately be for the benefit of future generations.

Yes: BOHM LE BON, Philosophy teacher

If Jean-Marie Le Pen and the extreme right are against this treaty, I couldn't vote the same way! I read the constitution and did a lot of work to make sure I was making an informed decision. As far as I can see the text contains nothing more dangerous than the Treaty of Nice which prepared the EU for enlargement in 2000.

No: CHRESHAN COWLESSEUR, IT worker

This constitution would pave the way for other large countries to reduce our power. In an enlarged EU, I think we would find ourselves disadvantaged. We already have a big problem with unemployment. There aren't enough jobs to go around and it would just encourage immigrants from poorer countries to come.

Abstain: OLIVIER BEYNAC, Brand manager

I wanted to use my vote but I didn't feel able to vote for either the "yes" or the "no". I'm in favour of the treaty but I have no desire to support the political figures trying to sell it to us. For weeks the debate has had little to do with Europe. It's about national politics and self-promotion. Leaving my ballot blank is a rebellion against that.

Yes: ANTONIA TIRILI, Bank worker

France was one of the first countries to fight to create the EU and we have to carry on moving forward. If we don't keep developing Europe, we are going to be left behind globally. I'm in my thirties and my generation is open to progress but I think we are quite split on this. The "yes" campaign has been far too complacent.

No: ALINE GARCIA, Unemployed

I am very frightened by the idea that this constitution might be approved. I'm particularly worried about the implications for employment and the economy. After we've ratified this constitution there'll be no going back. Sometimes you have to reject something to make real progress.

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