Luxembourg's half-hearted yes 'last twitch of Constitution's corpse'


That 56,5% of Luxembourg's electorate of 223.000 voted in favour of the European Constitution hardly comes as a surprise. On the other hand, the fact that the majority was so paltry is remarkable. Commenting on the result, Harry van Bommel, a Member of the Dutch Parliament for the Socialist Party and one of the leaders of the Netherlands' successful 'No' campaign, said, “The European Constitution was dead and it's still dead. It has not been reincarnated in Luxembourg.”

For Luxembourg, the European Union is a daily reality, due largely to the presence of numerous EU institutions within its borders. The Court of Justice, the Court of First Instance, the European Investment Bank, the Court of Auditors, the Secretariat of the European Parliament, the Office for Official Publications, the Statistical Bureau and a number of European Commission services all find their home in the tiny country's modestly-sized capital city. This makes the EU one of Luxembourg's major employers, bringing it vital revenue. “Luxembourg is both a tax haven and one of the three capital cities of the European Union,” Mr Van Bommel pointed out. “That nearly half of its inhabitants nevertheless voted 'No' merely confirms that the Constitution is dead.”

The fact that Luxembourg's prime minister said that he would resign if the people voted 'No' was Van Bommel argues, nothing but “blackmail.” Given that voting in the Grand Duchy is compulsory, many people voted 'Yes' simply to avoid an unwanted general election, especially as Mr Juncker's government remains reasonably popular. That “so much pressure was needed to persuade the country's citizens to vote 'Yes' speaks volumes." Mr Van Bommel said. "The French killed the Constitution and the Dutch nailed down the coffin lid. 126,000 Luxembourgers voting 'Yes' is no more than the last twitching of the corpse.”