Quand la France dit non

Un politologue américain comparait récemment la perte d’influence de la France en Europe après le « Non » au référendum de 2005 sur le traité constitutionnel, à la capitulation de 1940. Cette analogie – provocatrice – est-elle judicieuse ? La capitulation de 1940 témoignait de la fragilité de la démocratie française et d’une perte de confiance dans la capacité du pays à faire face à des menaces extérieures. En rejetant la Constitution européenne, la France a exprimé ses craintes, notamment vis-à-vis de la mondialisation.

On peut dresser une comparaison plus exacte avec le rejet en 1954 du traité portant création d’une Communauté européenne de défense (la CED). Dans les deux cas, une erreur historique majeure a été faite. La France était dans une large mesure à l’origine de ces deux traités, avait réussi à les faire accepter par ses partenaires européens, et a finalement opposé son veto.

Pourquoi, en 1954 et en 2005, les Français – l’Assemblée nationale dans le premier cas, les électeurs dans le second – ont-ils rejeté les propositions qu’ils avaient eux-mêmes formulées ? Les deux projets visaient la construction d’une Europe véritablement supranationale. La CED aurait créé une armée européenne, comprenant même un contingent allemand. Le traité devait aussi être renforcé par une communauté politique européenne, dont les principales caractéristiques auraient été définies par une commission constitutionnelle composée de membres des parlements nationaux. Concrètement, cette commission aurait été le précurseur de la Convention sur l’avenir de l’Europe qui en 2003-2004, sous la direction de l’ancien Président français Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, a rédigé le traité constitutionnel.

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