Partisans of the new EU constitution finally have something to celebrate, after the Union’s smallest member, Luxembourg, approved it in a referendum last night, with a yes vote of 56.5%. (I haven’t found an English report yet but here’s a French one).

It becomes the 13th country to ratify the constitution, but only the second (after Spain) to do so by referendum. Even this, however, was something less than a triumph. Luxembourg receives more money per head from the EU than anywhere else and so is usually fanatically pro-European; polls had previously shown 75% support.

Clearly the rejection of the constitution in France and the Netherlands has had a big impact, and it’s easy to see why other countries planning referenda (including Denmark, Ireland and the UK) have postponed them indefinitely. Luxembourg’s prime minister, Jean-Claude Juncker, said that: “The message to emerge for Europe and the world is that the constitution is not dead.”

But even a dead cat will bounce when it hits the ground, and it will take more than this to convince observers that it still shows signs of life.

Peter Fray

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