In mid-2005, French and Dutch voters rejected a proposal for a European Constitution that had taken the member states of the European Union (EU) many years to negotiate. The resounding ‘No’ by two of the founding nations of the EU immediately gave rise to a vivid debate on the pros and cons of the European project. Had this visionary and unparalleled achievement in international cooperation, which promised to overcome the pattern of state rivalry characterizing Europe since the Middle Ages, come to an undignified halt? Was this the beginning of the end of an experiment which was presented by European leaders as a shining example to other regions of the world? Or was the vote just a temporary lull in a continuous process of reform? Many detractors have likened the EU to a bicycle which can only work as long as it is in motion.
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