Treaty of Lisbon, questions for europe.....
Lancaster, New Hampshire
October 5, 2009 7:24am CST
I have been kinda half arsed following things in Ireland the past week or so and i have a question for my European coligues here. Reguarding the referendum the other day in Ireland on the Treaty of Lisbon. Now, as I understand it, this was voted on once already in Ireland by referendum and it was soundly voted down. So I guess my questions would be, why a second referendum, who called it and why? From what I understand, the bone of contention among Irish citizens was that the the treaty would was a back door EU consitution that would over ride the Irish constitution when the two conflicted. I'll post the following article that makes this argument pretty ell, at least from my stand point. Please, bear in mind, I am American and this does not directly affect me so I am offering no real opinion either way, it isn't any of my business. But I do usualy come down on the side of liberty and state soviergnty here in the U.S. so I guess my heart is with the people of Ireland, and besides, it is my direct heretige. Please read the document before commenting, it contains relevent information. http://www.wiseupjournal.com/?p=146 An EU Constitution: The Treaty of Lisbon is a revamped version of the treaty which gave the EU its own Constitution over and above the constitutions of its Member States, but which the peoples of France and Holland rejected in referendums in 2005. Instead of accepting that decision the EU Prime Ministers and Presidents decided to give the EU a constitution indirectly rather than directly, but not to call it a constitution, and on no account to hold referendums on it for fear people would reject it again. Why an Irish referendum?: A referendum must be held on it in Ireland however because the Supreme Court laid down in the 1986 Crotty case that sovereignty in this State rests with the Irish people and that only they can surrender sovereignty to the EU by referendum, or else refuse to surrender it as the case might be. The purpose of the referendum would be to change the Irish Constitution so as to make EU law superior to Irish law in the areas set out in the Lisbon Treaty. Lisbon gives the EU a constitution indirectly rather than directly: The two current basic European Treaties are called “The Treaty on European Union (TEU) and “The Treaty on the Functioning of the Union”(TFEU). These two documents include all the previous treaties from the 1957 Rome Treaty to the 2002 Nice Treaty. The EU Constitution which the French and Dutch rejected would have repealed these two treaties and replaced them with a document called “A Constitution for Europe”. The Lisbon Treaty implements 96% of the legal content of this “Constitution for Europe” by proposing amendments to the two basic EU Treaties and thereby turning them into the effective constitution of the new Federal EU that Lisbon would bring about. The following are the main changes Lisbon would make in the EU’s two constituent Treaties: 1. Lisbon makes the EU Constitution superior to the Irish Constitution in all areas of EU law: We would still keep the Irish Constitution, but “Declaration 17 concerning Primacy”, which is attached to Lisbon, makes clear that EU law would have primacy over and be superior to the Irish Constitution and laws in any case of conflict between the two. EU law and national law deal with different areas and matters, but the EU now makes the majority of our new laws each year. The Lisbon Treaty would give the EU the power to make laws binding on us in many new areas and would take that power away from the Irish Dáil and from Irish citizens who elect the Dáil. 2. Lisbon gives the EU the constitutional form of a supranational European Federal State and turns Ireland and the other Member States into regions or provinces of this Federation: It does this in three legal steps: (a) giving the new European Union which it would bring into being its own legal personality and independent corporate existence for the first time, separate from and superior to its Member States; (b) abolishing the European Community which we have been members of since 1973 and replacing it with the new Union; and (c) bringing all spheres of public policy either actually or potentially within the scope of the new Union. From the inside this new post-Lisbon EU would seem to be based on treaties between States. From the outside it would look like a State itself. Lisbon would then make us all real citizens of this new Federal EU for the first time, owing to it the normal citizen’s duty of obedience to its laws and loyalty to its authority. One can only be a citizen of a State and all States must have citizens. We would still retain our Irish citizenship, but the rights and duties attached to that would be subordinate to those of our EU citizenship in any case of conflict between the two. The EU’s authority would be superior. Post-Lisbon, we would be like citizens of Virginia vis-a-vis the USA or citizens of Bavaria vis-a-vis Federal Germany. This new Federal EU would sign Treaties with other States, would have its own political President, Foreign Minister and foreign and security policy, its own diplomatic service and voice at the UN, and its own Public Prosecutor. It would make most of our laws and would decide what our basic rights are in all areas of EU law. 3. Lisbon shifts influence over law-making and decision-taking in the EU towards the Big States and away from the smaller ones like Ireland: It does this by replacing the voting system for making EU laws that has existed since the 1957 Rome Treaty by a primarily population-based system which would give most influence to the Member States with big populations and reduce the influence of smaller ones like Ireland. Under Lisbon a “weighted” or “qualified” majority vote (QMV) for making EU laws in future would be 15 States out of 27 as long as they included 65% of the EU’s total population. When Ireland joined the then EEC in 1973 we had 3 votes in making European laws as against 10 each for the Big States, a ratio of one-third. Under the current Nice Treaty arrangements we have 7 votes as against their 29 each, a ratio of one-quarter. Under Lisbon Ireland would have 4 million people as against Germany’s 82 million, a ratio of one-twentieth, and an average of 60 million each for France, Italy and Britain, a ratio of one-fifteenth. Under Lisbon Ireland’s voting weight vis-a-vis the other 26 Member States would fall to one-third its present level, from 2% to 0.8%. 4. Lisbon removes Ireland’s right to a permanent EU Commissioner: The Commission is the body which has the monopoly of proposing all EU laws, which are then made by the Council of Ministers, with some powers of amendment for the European Parliament. Under Lisbon Ireland would have no member on the Commission for one out of every three Commission terms. This means that for five years out of every fifteen, laws affecting all our lives would be put forward entirely by a committee of EU officials on which there was no representative from Ireland. The Big EU States would lose their right to a permanent Commissioner also, but their size and weight give them other means of exerting influence on that key body. As Dr Garret FitzGerald and others have emphasised over the years, being represented on the EU Commission is especially important for smaller States like Ireland. 5. Lisbon deprives the Irish Government of its right to decide who Ireland’s Commissioner would be when it comes to our turn to be on the Commission: It provides that Ireland’s present right to “propose” a national Commissioner and to have that proposal accepted by the others, would be replaced by a right to make “suggestions” regarding a name, but with no guarantee that a particular suggestion would be accepted by the 27 Prime Ministers and Presidents who would decide the list of Commissioners as a whole by qualified majority vote. If the Irish Government were to suggest someone as its EU Commissioner who had, for example, antagonised the government of some other Member State in the past, or who was regarded as not enthusiastic enough for further EU integration, it could be asked to suggest another name as more acceptable. The Commission President, appointed by vote of the Prime Ministers and Presidents, would decide in practice who Ireland’s Commissioner would be. The new Commission President could ask a Commissioner to resign at any time, just as a Taoiseach has full control over his cabinet. The new Commission would be like an EU Government, except that this government would not be elected by the citizens. 6. Lisbon gives the European Union the power to make laws in 32 new areas that are removed from the Dail and other National Parliaments: These new areas of EU law-making include civil and criminal law, justice and policing, immigration, public services, energy, transport, tourism, space, sport, culture, civil protection, public health and the EU budget. There would be majority voting also by EU Foreign Ministers in some areas of foreign policy. The EU Council of Ministers would obtain power to take decisions by qualified majority vote on many matters other than EU laws - up to 68 in all - so that Member States would no longer exercise a veto regarding them. This increase in EU powers simultaneously increases the personal power of the 27 national politicians who make up the EU Council of Ministers by enabling them to make further laws behind closed doors for 500 million Europeans, while taking power away from the citizens and national Parliaments which elect those politicians and which have made these laws for their own countries up to now. Each shift of power from the national level to the EU entails a further shift of power from the Irish Dail and people to Irish Government Ministers at EU level. It hollows out our national democracy further. The Treaty also increases the power of the non-elected Brussels Commission, which has the monopoly of propo
5 Oct 09
I think a lot of Europeans are very skeptical about an enlarged European Union with ever-increasing powers. People have fought for Centuries to have sovereignty and now that seems as though it's being eroded by a very bureaucratic EU. A lot of taxpayer money also goes to funding the EU and people seem to resent that, especially as tax rates in Europe are some of the highest in the world. The Irish debacle is a sign of what the EU deems as "democracy". Essentially they think along the lines of "we'll give you a chance to vote because we believe in democracy, but we'll make you vote again and again until we get the answer we want from you". Democracy, but with a punch in the face with an iron fist. In the UK, the very unpopular Labour Party has signed the Lisbon Treaty, despite pledging in their election manifesto to give a referendum. They didn't give one because they knew the British people would vote no. The Conservative Party, currently leading in the election polls for the next general election in May 2010, have said that they will give a referendum. The only problem is that if the whole treaty is ratified by all member states before the Conservatives gain power it could be too late. The EU already has too much control over peoples' every day lives and it's controlled by people who are ultimately unaccountable to the citizens of its member states. It's a very worrying organization that is hell-bent on gaining as much power as it can and it should be stopped.
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
5 Oct 09
What I dont understand is, Ireland already voted it down once, why did it come up again? Who was responsable for forcing it? The Irish government? When the U.S. was formed, our constitution was pretty simple and laid out a very minimal list of powers the general government would have, and in our 10th amendment it clearly stated that if it wasn't listed as a federal power, it defered to the state. this seems to be the exact oposit with the Lisbon Treaty. I would think if it ran that way, the treaty would be more accpetable.
2 people like this
6 Oct 09
As long as i know you can vote the same question in a referendum as many times you wanted. It was promoted by the gouvernement ans Irish people vote yes because they felt their economy is more secure thanks to the EU and that they want to continue being par of this process. They have voted no last time for some issues about the possible impossition of gay marriage by the EU and fishing industry in Ireland but this was clarified so they have now voted yes.
• United States
5 Oct 09
I was unaware of all this happening. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. I don't pretend to understand it all. But I will say the spirit of the Irish people is for freedom from tyranny and the right to determine for themselves what will happen in their own country. God bless them all.
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
5 Oct 09
lol, only because I am Irish and I have a few friends in another forum that this was a big concern with. anyway, would ove your input on this one....so I will leaves you to your plant enzymes for now..... he he. theres one.
3 people like this
• United States
5 Oct 09
I had a thought when I first responded to this...think I will go ahead and post it and see what I get. Perhaps it is the huge infusion of Irish DNA and culture in America that gives us our love for liberty and a good argument... What say you?
5 Oct 09
debra - i am not going to go for that one but you do know that you have created a massive gaping hole of opportunity for someone to really get digs in at the americans? i have been so tempted myself to let launch that i have decided that nobody is getting any remotely sensible responses until tomorrow - so by the way what is your favourite equine - pony/horse/donkey/mule? i like mules - they're bright and pushy but not to be honest the easiest beasties to train...
• United States
18 Oct 09
Come on X if your writing this much you should be getting paid for it. The thing I know about Europe they remember War ravaging in their cities. Something that we as Americans do not know. It tempers their responce to situations while we in America are more used to being cowboy like. You should write articles and get paid. Try Associated content and give me referral. Unless your already writing somewhere else.
• Lancaster, New Hampshire
19 Oct 09
lol, I am already a an AC member, I haven't written anything in a while though. I'm not very good at it. Once in a while I get a wild hair and write something but it's been a while. I do have a little something in the works that my go up there in a few weeks, a piece on the whole false left/right paradigm. I didn't write the piece I cited in the original post for this thread, I wish I had, it's a brilliant piece of work, I wish I was even half that good.
5 Oct 09
I may be way off, or I may be stating the obvious, but this is my understanding... Every country of the EU needs to approve the Treaty of Lisbon, for it to take affect, but before Ireland can approve the treaty, they need to change their own constitution because something in that is stopping them from approving it. And so in the referendums, they are not voting on whether to accept or reject the Treaty of Lisbon, they are voting on the changes made to the wording in their own consitution. The first vote was part of the 'Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2008 ' and the second referendum was part of the 'Twenty-eighth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland Bill, 2009'. Until they agreed the correct changes, they will keep amending. After this, I don't think they get a referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon itself, I think it has to be granted a Presidential Assent (which I assume happens automatically).