Healthcare reform helped French No vote
So, France has voted no in its referendum. Europe's constitution lies in
ruins. Or not, depending on what Europe's foreign ministers can cobble
together in a Brussels backroom.
Which points out a key reason why France's voters sent a resounding non!
to its government and Europe's elite.
But another major reason why France voted no to Europe was France's own
programme of health and social welfare reforms. These have proved deeply
unpopular. And remarkably effective at mobilising millions of French
workers, to take to the streets in protest. Or even Butlins, as a group of
French surgeons last month took refuge in a Kent holiday camp to escape
arrest by the police: in France it's illegal for hospital doctors to go on
Of course, France's gallic-accented "up yours, Delors" to Jacques Chirac
and the country's gilded pro-European elite has many individual causes: fear
of competition from lower paid "new Europeans" from east of the Vistula,
fear of "Anglo-Saxon" work practices, fear of Turkish entry into the EU.
And, above all, sheer dislike of Chirac and his discredited government.
Perhaps nothing has discredited Chirac in the eyes of his own people as
much as his Government's attempted health and social welfare reforms. For
the last two years, there have been strikes and sit-ins by doctors in
hospitals across France. The trade unions have mobilised a national campaign
against the government's national IT programme, with several national days
of action. France's leading human rights organisations are decrying
government plans for EPR as a direct attack on the liberties of the
individual. The Constitutional Council, the supreme constitutional court,
has been called upon to rule on the legitimacy of electronic patient
French public spending policy in crisis
France's national disease coding
DMP: the French EPR
The lesson for Europe