Chirac relents:

France will have a referendum on the proposed EU constitution in the second half of 2005. (Story is in French.)

Other bits and pieces from the President’s Bastille Day interview:

Chirac reaffirmed his commitment to the 35-hour workweek but expressed support for liberalizing the law to increase the freedom of workers “who want to work more in order to earn more.” He denounced gay marriage as “a parody of marriage,” but discussed further improvements and expansions of the rights associated with the French equivalent of civil unions. He reiterated his stock hostility to “communitarianisme” (“communalism” is probably a closer English match than “communitarianism”) and his stock endorsement of civic education, schooling for equality, etc.– i.e. there will be no movement on the headscarf issue. He mentioned the need to “rehabilitate work, responsibility, and merit in our society” in the context of discussing unemployment, sympathizing with those who “feel that they’re always paying more for those who don’t work” and insisting that “it is unacceptable for an unemployed person to refuse to ever get a job.”

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