French parliament voted "yes" yesterday to hold a referendum on Turkey's bid for EU membership. Despite fighting strong opposition from his centre-right party UMP, French Prime Minister Jack Chirac is in favor of Turkish EU membership. The party is currently split down the middle on the subject, but are expected to reach an agreement in December 2005.
Before the referendum on Turkey can take place, France will hold a referendum on the EU constitution. This referendum was originally going to be held late in 2005, but as France wants to keep the issue of "Turkey's EU bid" completely separate, the date may be brought forward to May 8. , symbolising the end of world war II.
Once all member states have signed the treaty on October 29. , the ratification process can begin.