France’s opposition Socialists are jubilant after a solid majority voted in favour of the EU constitution. It is good news for Socialist boss Francois Hollande whose party has been staunchly divided over the issue. But it is a stinging defeat for the leader of the “No” campaign, Laurent Fabius. He has long backed the party’s traditional pro-European stand but says the treaty doesn’t do enough to protect workers’ rights.
The result comes as a relief for conservative president Jacques Chirac who has promised a nationwide referendum next year and for the European Socialists who had feared a “No” vote could jeopardise the whole project.
It is widely believed the Socialists’ backing in France will boost chances for nationwide approval next year. The constitution must be ratified by all EU members to come into force. Referendums are planned in a number of countries. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has welcomed the result, saying France’s approval of the constitution is essential towards building Europe.