Less than half show support for EU
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard in Brussels
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jh ... world.html
Less than half the population in the European Union's member states now support the EU project, according to polling results yesterday.
The latest Eurobarometer to be released this week found that just 48 per cent of EU citizens viewed membership as a "good thing", down from 54 per cent last spring.
Britain was by far the most negative state, with positive feelings tumbling to 28 per cent, but even the French were below half for the first time after months of battles with Brussels over tax cuts and illegal aid to ailing firms.
The results emerged as EU leaders converge on Brussels this week to push through a European constitution that creates a full-time EU president and foreign minister and establishes EU control over most areas of national life, including justice, the environment, transport, energy and economic management.
There are growing fears that at least one country will reject the text in a referendum next year. Ireland, Denmark, Holland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Spain and the Czech Republic are committed to a vote. France appears to have pulled back from the idea.
Gisela Stuart, a Labour MP and Britain's sole voice on the 13-strong drafting "Praesidium", raised the pressure on Downing Street to stand firm on Britain's "red lines".
She said it was under no moral obligation to accept a text "riddled with imperfections" and rigged by "a self-selected group of the European political elite".
In a blistering pamphlet for the Fabian Society, German-born Mrs Stuart exposed the pretence that the wordy text is needed to tidy up the treaties or pave the way for EU expansion, saying "the real reason for the constitution - and its main impact - is the political deepening of the union".
She added: "Not once in the 16 months I spent on the convention did representatives question whether deeper integration is what the people of Europe want.
"The debates focused solely on where we could do more at EU level. Any representative who took issue with the fundamental goal of deeper integration was sidelined."
She said the secretive body chaired by Valery Giscard d'Estaing slipped through radical changes that had never been agreed, insisting on French documents to create confusion.
When the sole East European member dared to raise a dissenting voice he was told his vote "didn't count".
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