Here is one tradition in France that does not involve food: collecting Muguets (Lily of the Valley) on May 1st. I’ve known about this tradition for years but last year was the first time I collected Muguets in the wild. Muguets are small plants that give off a very pleasant smell. The tradition is: you go out and gather the Muguets and then put them in a vase to make your home smell nice.
After experiencing snow in the middle of April, looks like spring or maybe even summer is here. The last few days - T-shirt and shorts weather prevailed. Thanks to the heat our Muguet hunt was much smaller than last year. I’ll take that over the snow in the middle of April. There is still snow on the French Alps where we live.
Oui ou Non (Yes or No)
I misspoke last month when I described the May 29th national referendum as a yes or no vote on a proposed European Constitution. What will be voted on is a European Constitutional Treaty (CT). The CT talks about much more than how the European Union (EU) will function, economic police is also discussed. The proposed CT is divided into four parts: Part One is an explanation of the goals, influence, decision-making measures and organization of the EU. Part Two is a charter of fundamental rights. Part Three talks about the policies and actions of the EU. Lastly Part Four includes the procedures for adopting and reviewing the CT.
In France Part Three seems to be the most talked about, at least for those advocating a no vote. Some of the focus is on Article III-177 - Economic And Monetary Policy. Including this statement that the EU should work “…in accordance with the principle of an open market economy with free competition.”
In fact this type of free market language is already a part of the EU and has been since the beginning. Some advocating a “yes vote” believe a renegotiated CT would become even more pro free market. The CT was negotiated before the entry of the 10 Eastern European countries into the EU in 2004. Some believe these countries are more pro free market than the other 15, difficult to know if this is true or not.
If the “no vote” wins, and of this writing, it looks very possible, I think there are two reasons why. Many French people are unhappy with the government and don’t like the direction the country is going. The CT is so long and complicated that people will “vote no” because they don’t know what they are voting for. To read the CT see - EUROPA - Constitution - Table of Contents.