Friday, 6 June 2008

8 Reasons to Vote No to Lisbon

1. Creates an unelected President and a Foreign Minister of Europe

The new President and Foreign Minister for Europe will be appointed by the European Council by qualified majority vote. Although many of the terms and conditions of these roles have yet to be decided, they will be committed through the Lisbon Treaty to ‘drive forward’ the agenda of the Council and discussions have already taken place to provide a presidential palace and executive jet for the President.

2. Halves Ireland’s voting weight while doubling Germany’s

The Lisbon Treaty would implement a new system of voting by the European Council which is primarily based on population size. This means that Ireland’s voting weight would be reduced from 2% at present to 0.8% if the Treaty was implemented, while Germany’s would increase from 8% to 17%.

3. Abolishes Ireland’s Commissioner for five years at a time

The Lisbon Treaty proposes to reduce the number of Commissioners to two thirds of the number of member states. This would mean that, on a rotating basis, Ireland would have no seat for five years out of every 15 in the body that has the monopoly on initiating legislation. This would clearly affect a small country like Ireland to a far greater extent than, for example, Germany which is having its voting weight doubled under the Treaty.

4. Opens the door to interference in tax and other key economic interests

Article 113 of the Lisbon Treaty specifically inserts a new obligation on the European Council to act to avoid ‘distortion of competition’ in respect of indirect taxes. The proposals for a common consolidated tax base and the commitment of the French government to pursue it combined with a weakening of Ireland’s voice in Europe through the loss of a permanent Commissioner and halving of its voting weight represent a clear and present danger to our tax competitiveness.

5. Hands over power in 60 areas of decision making to Brussels

The Lisbon Treaty provides for more than 60 areas of decision making from unanimity at present to qualified majority voting. Some of those areas include decision-making on immigration, sport, culture, transport and the appointment of the European President and Foreign Minister.

6. Gives exclusive competence to Brussels over International Trade and Foreign Direct Investment

For the first time, under the Lisbon Treaty foreign direct investment would become an exclusive competence of the EU as part of its common commercial policy. This means that the tools which have been used so successfully by the IDA to attract tens of thousands of jobs to Ireland will become the sole preserve of the European Union and the Irish Government will have to seek permissions

7. Enshrines EU law as superior to Irish law

On June 12th we will be voting on the 28th amendment to the Irish Constitution which clearly restates the following:

11° No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State that are necessitated by the obligations of membership of the European Union referred to in subsection 10° of this section, or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the said European Union or by institutions thereof, or by bodies competent under the treaties referred to in this section, from having the force of law in the State.’

8. The Treaty can be changed without another referendum

Article 48 of the Treaty enables changes to be made to it after ratification without the constitutional requirement for another referendum in Ireland. This is confirmed by the independent Referendum Commission on its website which states: there ‘may’ be a requirement for a referendum to implement such changes.

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