Clinton Counsels Chirac on EU Constitution
Associated Press | June 6, 2005
PARIS -- Former President Bill Clinton urged French President Jacques Chirac on Monday not to be discouraged by the travails of the EU constitution, counseling him to listen to voters' concerns and "go back to work."
Clinton said France's rejection of the landmark charter doesn't spell the end of the European Union.
In a meeting with Chirac, Clinton talked briefly about France's "no" vote last month on the constitution, which was followed by a resounding rejection in the Netherlands. The referendums triggered a crisis of confidence in the 25-member EU.
"I told (Chirac) not to be too discouraged," Clinton said, recalling that he faced similar setbacks as Arkansas governor when he pushed for a new state constitution.
Clinton said it was very difficult to convince voters to approve complicated documents like 448-article EU charter.
"So I don't think it means the end of the European Union," Clinton said. "I think everybody should just take a deep breath, listen to the concerns of voters and go back to work."
He said he spoke with Chirac about his work to fight AIDS and his travels as U.N. special envoy for tsunami recovery. They also talked about a conference that Clinton will sponsor in September modeled on the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.