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March 28, 2004
French Voters Rejecting EU?

French voters sent a message to the center-right government of Jacques Chirac, who tried to rein in government spending in order to comply with EU budget restrictions. The electorate doesn't approve of Chirac's cutbacks in social spending, and the Socialists are poised to take control:

President Jacques Chirac's government suffered humiliating defeats Sunday in the second round of regional elections in what was seen as a backlash against his painful economic reforms.

The results, which breathed life back into France's left-wing opposition, will increase pressure on Chirac to reshuffle his conservative government and perhaps even ditch his prime minister, the unpopular Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

The French, who already had reneged on their EU obligations for debt reduction, now wants to continue adding to their budget deficits by either maintaining or expanding their social services as their population continues to skew older. Chirac once had designs on controlling the EU by partnering with Germany and Gerhard Schroeder. Now Schroeder is out, thanks to the same need to meet EU debt obligations, and Chirac may have trouble getting a pass from the EU for the fourth year in a row.

Chirac initiated France's irrelevance at the UN, and his political opponents may just answer by confirming France's irrelevance in Europe. If anything, it demonstrates the decadent nature of socialism; once an electorate indulges in the narcotic of cradle-to-grave nannyism, they find it almost impossible to wean themselves off, even when the bills are coming due.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at March 28, 2004 11:40 PM

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