Support will smooth way for a 'yes' vote in the national referendum next year A political commentator laying out the pros and cons of the European Constitutional treaty on French radio last week admitted halfway through the interview that he had not actually read it. Who can blame him? The text is 349 pages, and is, at best, a dry and complex read. Yet on Wednesday, France's opposition Socialist Party turned out in force to vote in an internal referendum on the topic. EU proponents breathed a sigh of relief as a majority backed the constitution. A 'no' vote could have swayed public opinion in the national referendum next year and jeopardised France's adoption of the text. The document, which was agreed by EU leaders in June after a drawn-out battle over its content, has to be ratified unanimously by the union's 25 member states. With the Socialists on board as 'oui' campaigners, supporters of the constitution can hope for smooth sailing in the referendum in France, a founder of the EU. Public opinion reflects that. A recent poll showed 63 per cent of the French were in favour of adopting the EU constitution - even though few seemed to know what was actually in it. With French voters, backing Europe comes first. 'I'll vote for it,' said Antoine Chambeyron, 28, a lawyer in Paris. 'The constitution is a good thing, even if I find it quite difficult to understand all the different parts. It's complex, but it's either that or chaos. At least it gives us a common base.' Although some observers argue that the constitution will not change much within the EU, the treaty reinforces integration and proposes changes in key areas such as law, foreign policy and defence. It also includes a charter of fundamental rights, which includes clauses on subjects ranging from euthanasia to the right to strike. The debate about the constitution had threatened to split the French socialists. The party's deputy leader, Laurent Fabuis, campaigned against Europe becoming too 'liberal' and what he viewed as the constitution's threat to France's 'social model'. Party president Francois Hollande's approach recommended that the treaty was not ideal but a 'real political move forward' and should be ratified. The division in the Socialist Party mirrors one among French voters. Some fear the constitution will bring unwanted 'Anglo-Saxon style' liberalisation, others worry that greater integration may threaten the French identity. But regardless of criticisms addressed at the treaty, for mainstream voters, voting against the EU is not an option. 'Europe means peace and we need it,' said Bernard Mesjan, 53, a computer technician. 'I don't know the content of the treaty, but I'll vote for it.'