Archive for the ‘Lisbon Treaty’ Category

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Another blow to Lisbon – Czechs won’t sign

September 21, 2009
Czech Republic ‘planning to delay
signing Lisbon treaty’

(Julien Warnand/EPA)
Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer

September 21, 2009

David Charter in Brussels

Source

EU leaders are said to be furious that the Czech Republic is planning to delay signing the Lisbon treaty for up to six months even if the Irish vote “yes” in their referendum next month. The country might even try to delay it until after the British general election campaign when a Tory victory would see the question put to voters by David Cameron.

Nicolas Sarkozy, who helped to draw up the treaty after the French and Dutch voted against its predecessor, the EU Constitution, has warned Prague that it faces “consequences” if it does not swiftly follow an Irish “yes” with its own ratification.

The outburst followed a private warning from Jan Fischer, the Czech caretaker Prime Minister, to his EU counterparts over dinner at their summit in Brussels last Thursday, it has emerged. Related Links

Mr Fischer said that Václav Klaus, the country’s unpredictable President, was planning to have a group of loyal senators in the Czech Upper House refer the treaty back to the country’s constitutional court for a second time, which could delay ratification for between three and six months. This would mean that the treaty could still be unratified going into the British general election campaign, expected next April or May. Mr Cameron has pledged that, if the document remained a live issue, even though Britain has completed its own ratification, he would call a referendum on it. This prospect horrifies most EU leaders, given the strong vein of euroscepticism in Britain.

Tensions are already running high among EU leaders over whether the Irish will vote in favour of the treaty on October 2 after a close-run referendum campaign. They are desperate that the momentum of a “yes” is not lost on the eurosceptic Czech and Polish presidents, the final two signatures required for EU ratification. The treaty further erodes national powers to veto EU decisions, and a Tory government would campaign against it.

President Klaus is understood to have told allies that he wants to wait if possible to see if Mr Cameron wins the next election. Speaking after last Thursday’s dinner, Mr Sarkozy said: “I stated clearly that if the Irish say ‘yes’, there is no question that we will accept to stay in a no-man’s land with a Europe that does not have the institutions to cope with the crisis,” he said. Asked about what could be done to persuade President Klaus to sign, he added: “It will be necessary to draw the consequences — but those will be the subject of another meeting.”

Mr Fischer is acting as caretaker Prime Minister after the Government of Mirek Topolánek fell in the summer and while fresh elections are organised. He has warned privately that he has little control over the country’s headstrong President. Speaking to Czech journalists after last week’s summit, he admitted: “It is certainly a fact that several government leaders perceive the ratification process in the Czech Republic with a degree of nervousness.”

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Common sense about Lisbon

September 20, 2009

After all the brouhaha on Lisbon, I have come to see what I must do and why. The reasons have been neatly summed up in the article below. I wish I had written it; but, I didn’t. It is delightful to have the issues clarified when so much of the Lisbon Treaty seems to depend on confusing the Irish voter.

Three good reasons to spurn Lisbon once again

06 September 2009
By Vincent Browne

Source

The deceivers and manipulators are out again. ‘Ireland Needs Europe,’ a Fianna Fail poster proclaims. ‘Yes to Jobs, Yes to Europe,’ a Fine Gael one declares. ‘It’s simple, I want a strong voice in Europe,’ another poster proclaims.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen was on radio last Wednesday talking about the other EU member states going ahead without us by inaugurating a ‘‘two-speed Europe’’ if we voted No again. ‘‘It’s in Ireland’s interests to be at the core of Europe,” he said.

They rage about the disinformation on the No side, the posters from the last time about conscription, abortion and corporation tax. Those messages may have been bogus, but so are the messages this time from the Yes side. What has the Lisbon Treaty to do with whether Ireland needs Europe or not? The phony implication is that, if we vote No again, we will be rejecting not just the treaty, but the European Union. What has the Fine Gael poster ‘Yes to Jobs, Yes to Europe’ to do with the Lisbon Treaty? Again, it is a sham message suggesting that, if we vote No, we will be voting against jobs and against Europe. As for the ‘‘strong voice’’ stuff, surely the exercise of a strong voice would be to voice our opposition to a treaty that is bad for Europe and, therefore, bad for Ireland, too?

On the two-speed threat, it is impossible for the EU to change the rules and opt for an inner core to proceed towards further integration, while leaving an outer core in a slow lane. It cannot be done, not without us voting Yes to a treaty approving it – and would we be daft enough to do that? Let me repeat: it cannot be done. The main point of the Lisbon Treaty was to streamline decision-making in the EU at a time when it was becoming so large that the old decision-making mechanisms were too cumbersome to work effectively – or so it was thought.

There was also a concession to concerns about the democratic nature of the EU. National parliaments were given a role on EU legislation, and the European Parliament was to be given more competence. But we now find, after five years of working with the old rules, that the EU works just fine and those earlier apprehensions were misplaced. As for the democratic issue, the main problem remains. The Council of Ministers, the main decision-making body, remains unaccountable, as all inter-governmental bodies are (which seems to be the point of them).

The changes also proposed the end of the circus of the rotating presidency, whereby every member state gets to hold the EU presidency for six months. There are 27 member states. The system means that every state has to wait 13-and-a-half years to get its six months of power.

There are obvious logistical problems with this, and some states are better at hosting the presidency than others. Also, there was the ‘problem’ of member states attempting to run their own agendas while they held the presidency. It seemed sensible enough to end that and have just a single presidency – a single president of the European Council, who would hold the position for five years. Allied to that was the idea of having just one person representing Europe on foreign affairs.

That seemed like a good idea too, better than having three people – a commissioner; the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (that’s the job Javier Solana holds at present); and the foreign minister of the country that holds the presidency. But these ‘sensible’ ideas have dangers. The rotating presidency, while messy, did decentralise power in the EU from Brussels, and that was a good idea. Any subversion of the ‘official’ agenda is also no bad thing. A five-year president, by definition, would have to be the creature of the large powers (certainly Germany and France) and he or she would pursue their agenda. As for a single foreign minister, expressing a single voice on foreign policy on behalf of the EU – no way, Jose.

If we’d had that at the time of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, you can bet your bottom euro w e would all have been embroiled up to our necks in that criminal enterprise – not necessarily militarily, but politically. So where is the case for the treaty? It boils down to us not annoying our partners in the EU at a time when we need their forbearance to ensure the European Central Bank continues to give us credit. Not a great case, is it? Is it really true that the ECB would withhold funds from us as a penalty for voting No again? And doesn’t it say something about the case for voting Yes that it degenerates into blackmail and damn all else? I think there are strong reasons to vote No. Among them are the following.

First: this Lisbon Treaty is a con job, deliberately constructed to deprive electorates in other member states from having a say on the changes it proposes. The treaty is essentially a redraft of the EU constitution that was rejected by the people of France and the Netherlands. It was then reformulated in unintelligible mumbo-jumbo to allow governments in these and other member states to argue that there was no need to have the electorates decide; parliamentary endorsement would suffice. Now the Irish electorate is being asked again to vote for a treaty that is unintelligible. On that basis alone, we should vote No.

Secondly: for the first time, the treaty incorporates into the institutional structure of the European Union the European Defence Agency, whose primary role is to assist the European armaments industry to prosper – in other words, to assist in the refinement of the instruments of killing. We are often told by EU fans how the organisation ensured peace in Europe for 50 years. How, then, can the incorporation of the dogs of war into its institutional structure be justified?

Thirdly: the treaty seeks to centralise power in the EU. We should not have that.

(A-fecking-men is what I say.)

Related

I stay up all night reading treaty, quips McCreevy

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People of Great Britain call for Lisbon referendum

September 14, 2009

And now something for friends from Great Britain: thank God the English have the moxy to stand up to their dictators on the Lisbon Treaty. In the few weeks left until the second Irish vote, I will publish as many articles as possible on the what the PEOPLE of Europe have to say about Lisbon and being prohibited from voting on this massively powerful treaty which gives away unprecedented sovereignity to the EU bureaucracy. Kudos to the spirit of the Brits.

David Cameron under pressure over EU referendum: poll

David Cameron is under pressure to pledge a referendum on the new European “constitution” even if it has already been introduced – after a poll found that the majority of Britons want the chance to express their views.
David Cameron: David Cameron under pressure over EU referendum: poll
The Conservative leader, David Cameron Photo: PA

By Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor
14 Sep 2009
Source
The Conservative leader has only pledged a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty if it has not yet been ratified across Europe but, if elected, he is now under pressure to hold a retrospective poll if necessary. Labour refuses to hold a referendum under any circumstances.

Ireland, the only country to be blocking the introduction of the treaty, is due to hold a second referendum next month having previously rejected it. However, with Ireland now facing economic difficulties, voters there are expected to be more willing to back the Treaty.

It will then be quickly introduced throughout Europe – before the next general election in this country.

However, today’s poll found that 57 percent of those questioned believe that a future Conservative government should offer a referendum on the ratified treaty, with only 15 percent saying there should be no such vote.

More than forty percent (43 per cent) of those polled said that Britain should leave the EU altogether rather than accept the Lisbon Treaty without a vote.

Twenty-six percent of those questioned said that Britain should accept the Lisbon Treaty rather than leave the union.

The YouGov poll was commissioned to mark the start of a major series in the Telegraph over the next fortnight which will analyse Britain’s relationship with Europe.

There is growing concern over the increasing reach of Europe in the domestic, rather than economic and commercial, affairs of this country. Less than 20 percent of those polled thought that Europe should be integrated further.

Just 13 percent of people polled said they would vote for the treaty in a referendum with 36 percent saying they would vote against. However, 39 percent said they were unsure how to vote.

Gordon Brown has refused to call a referendum on the Treaty despite Labour’s manifesto pledging to call such a vote on a European constitution. Ministers claim that the treaty is not a constitution even though it is virtually identical to the proposed constitution which was previously rejected.

Yesterday, the campaigner who spearheaded the Irish “no” vote against the treaty during the country’s first referendum said that he would help campaign during the new poll. Declan Ganley had previously said he would not take part in the campaign but says he has been “provoked” to intervene.

He believes the treaty will “be sunk” in the referendum on October 2nd, adding it was a “myth” that endorsing the treaty would help Ireland’s economy. He told reporters in Dublin that he was hoping to raise as much as 200,000 euros for advertising against the treaty.