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The French Rejection of the European Constitutional Treaty: Two-level Games Perspective

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Chapter Summary

A two-level games analysis to explain the fate of the European Constitutional Treaty (ECT) must address an involuntary defection: the failure of the 29 May 2005 referendum to ratify the text in France. The puzzle that the chapter addresses is that despite a relatively large win-set, the risk of involuntary defection increased in France as the ratification debate entered its final stage. The argument it questions is: if the win-sets were known with certainty, the negotiators would never propose for ratification an agreement that would be rejected. This chapter starts at Level II, within the French domestic context, in order to grapple with events at Level I, at the table with the French President and other Heads of Government in the European Council. The thesis is that a two-level games analysis must be revisited to assess its relevance as an explanation of the national referendum outcome.

Keywords: European Constitutional Treaty (ECT); European Council; French President; French rejection; national referendum; negotiators



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