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Europe

Dossier: France and the EU's Future

The campaign to ratify the EU Constitution in France has been a heated one, especially in the last days before the vote. In the run-up to decision day on Sunday, DW-WORLD looks at what's motivating both sides.

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When the heads of the EU's member states signed their names to the proposed constitution in October 2004, they knew they would have a hard time convincing the union's 450 million people to accept it.

They agreed the British would be skeptical and that it would be difficult to persuade Poland to vote for the document, but few expected they would have to go to such great lengths to get France to sign off on the document.

The 448-article constitution has divided France, sometimes bitterly. Even the French Socialists, once thought to be firmly behind the constitution, are split into two camps.

Supporters say the proposed treaty would give France more international influence while making the EU more democratic and transparent. The other side maintains that the constitution abandons France's social welfare model for a free-wheeling, US-style free-market system. Opponents also argue it gives too much power to Brussels.

The "yes" camp started ahead, but domestic troubles in France have given the "no" side a clear and stable lead in the campaign's final weeks. Still, up to 20 percent of French voters say they are still undecided or willing to change their minds.

DW-WORLD looks back at France and its fraught relationship with the proposed EU constitution.

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