Thursday, June 12, 2008

What Will The Irish Do?

That's the question all Europe is asking today, as the Irish go to the polls to decide whether to ratify the Lisbon Treaty,which would give the EU substantial powers over Europe's sovereign nations.

This is essentially the same 'EU Constitution' rejected by Dutch and French voters last year, and represents an attempt to make an end run around Europe's voters and the ballot box.

Due to a constitutional oddity, Ireland’s four million people are the only Europeans who will have a direct say in whether the Treaty of Lisbon can take effect. It can only do so if ratified by each of the EU’s 27 member states.

The treaty is being sold as a way to make the operation of the EU more efficient and allow the EU to speak with a unified voice. But the treaty runs a hefty 300 pages, is extremely complex in its language and has a lot of provisions that open themselves up to different interpretations.

There are also a number of challenges to the sovereignty of individual countries,such as a provision that would change the composition of the EU's ruling Commission to take away direct representation on the commission by each country,changing that to only two-thirds of countries being represented at any one time, on a rotating basis.It also removes any single country's veto power...which means, essentially,that the EU commissioners are responsible to no one but themselves.

Another provision in the treaty that has the Irish up in arms, so to speak, calls for
member states to assist each other if they are victims of armed aggression.The Irish are aggressively neutral,not even finding it necessary to oppose the Nazis during WWII....something Hitler's U-Boats appreciated when they needed anchorage in the Atlantic.

Another point that the Irish may be considering since they,like many other Europeans appreciate the fact that someone else is willing to pay to defend their prosperity is that the Treaty as it stands essentially undercuts NATO. John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, mentioned this an interview with Britain’s Daily Telegraph. If NATO falls by the wayside, the Irish, like the rest of Europe will have to pay for its own defense.

A big selling point for the Yes proponents is the idea that a closer lockstep with the EU would be good for Irish prosperity,which depends a lot on foreign investment.
And proponents of the treaty haven't been adverse to hinting at some stick along with the carrot: French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, for instance, has dropped some strong hints that a No vote could jeopardize future EU funding for Irish development projects.

Ratification was once considered a sure thing,but the polls lately have been too close to call.

A no vote would embarrass the EU and delay the 'EU project substantially.

So what will the Irish do? It remains to be seen,but we'll know soon.

2 comments:

Peter Horne said...

God bless the Irish. It's a 'No'.
Go out and find yourself an Irishman and buy him (or her)a pint of Guinness.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hello Peter,
Yeah, it's heartening, but I'll wait and see what the EUSSR does.What I think you likely have here is a mere breather.

They will likely continue to ram through ratification in the other EU countries ( including the UK) and either co-opt the Irish by giving them a special deal or simply hold another vote until the Irish 'vote right.'

The battle against Lisbon needs to proceed in the courts of the countries involved. and the voters need to hold their representatives accountable to defeat this farce.

All Best,
rm