|Monday, 23 June 2008||
* Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Minister Michael Martin give in to Franco-German and EU Commission pressure to permit the remaining Lisbon ratifications to continue, when they could have stopped these by saying that Ireland cannot and will not ratify the Lisbon Treaty, as the Irish people have rejected it.
* The Irish Government lines up with Brussels against the Irish people rather than stands by the people’s democratic decision of last week to defend it vis-a-vis Brussels – so as to bring about a 26/1 situation by year’s end with which to bludgeon Irish voters in a referendum re-run.
* Talk of ‘respecting’ Ireland’s vote turns out in practice to be a cover for setting out to overturn it in a referendum re-run, with Brian Cowen’s, Michael Martin’s and Dick Roche’s full support – and behind a thick barrier of hypocrisy, spoofing and lies.
Friday 20 June 2008
* These are the three principal lies Irish Government Ministers and the EU people are telling to hide their first steps towards preparing this Lisbon referendum re-run:
* LIE NO.1: That the nine EU States that have not yet ratified Lishon have a ‘right’ to do so irrespective of the Irish No. There is no such right under either EU law or customary international law. Brian Cowen could stop any further ratifications by saying to his EU partners that he respects the Irish No, that because of that there is no question of trying to overturn it by re-running the referendum, and that therefore Lisbon is dead because Ireland cannot ratify it and there is no point any other ratifications continuing, for Lisbon cannot come into force unless all 27 ratify it. British Foreign Secretary David Milliband underlined this point last weekend when he said that it depended on Brian Cowen whether Lisbon was alive or dead.
* LIE No. 2: Minister Dick Roche was up to this usual spoofery on ‘Morning Ireland’ today when he attacked Patricia McKenna for saying that the French and Dutch Governments stopped further ratifications of the EU Constitution in 2005 after their peoples voted No in their referendums. Minister Roche said that Luxembourg held a referendum on this Treaty after the French and Dutch No and in his usual gentlemanly fashion accused Ms McKenna of ‘telling lies’. In fact, as the Minister is well aware, the Luxembourg referendum was held shortly after the French and Dutch referendums but BEFORE the French and Dutch Governments decided they would not re-run them, and therefore that they could not ratify the Constitutional Treaty – which led the remaining EU States, including Ireland, to abandon further ratifications at that time.
Messrs Cowen, Martin and Roche are spoofing like this, with their EU confreres helping them, to try to cover up the fact that the Irish Government is urging the nine remaining EU States to continue with their ratifications so as to bring about a 26/1 situation which can then be used to pressurise the Irish people to turn their No into a Yes in a second Lisbon referendum.
It is Messrs Cowen, Martin and Roche who are failing to ‘respect’ the Irish people’s No vote by effectively telling the other EU States not to respect it either, but to continue with their ratifications. Why should the other EU States respect last Thursday’s referendum result when the Irish Government does not respect it, but sets out rather to subvert it, as they decided to do even while the voting tallies were being counted on Friday morning last?
Remember Foreign Minister Martin saying at luncthtime on the day of the count that ‘of course’ the remaining ratifications would continue. Remember Commission President Barroso’s at his press conference held before the count was even finished, following a phone chat with Taoiseach Cowen, saying the same thing.
If Messrs Cowen, Martin and Roche had a scintilla of the political courage and statesmanship of the founder of their Party, they would be telling their EU counterparts that they had no alternative but to open up Lisbon and work out a better Treaty for Ireland, for Europe and for a more democratic EU, instead of the supranational EU Federation, with laws made on a population basis, which is what is on offer in Lisbon.
* LIE NO.3: That the other EU States can go ahead with the Lisbon Treaty provisions under the rules for ‘enhanced cooperation’. The barrack-room lawyers of the Irish media are speaking here. It is the enhanced cooperation rules of the EU Treaties as amended by the Nice Treaty that currently apply. It is nonsense to suggest that the enhanced cooperation provisions of one Treaty, viz. Nice, can be used to bring into force the far wider provisions of another Treaty, viz. Lisbon.
* NB: The number of EU Commissioners must be decided unanimously. Under the current Nice Treaty (Protocol on the enlargement of the EU, Article 4), a reduction in the number of Commissioners to fewer than the number of Member States must be decided unanimously in 2009. Under the Lisbon Treaty(Article 17.5 TEU) the number of Commissioners must be reduced by two-thirds from 2014, ‘unless the European Council, acting unanimously, decides to alter this number.’
At their next summit meeting in October or December the European Council of Prime Ministers and Presidents will make a ‘European decision’ that when it comes to allocating EU Commissioners in 2014 in the post-Lisbon EU, Ireland and all Member States will be permitted to retain a permanent Commissioner, although in practice there may be senior and junior Commissioners. Because both the Nice and Lisbon Treaties lay down that arrangements for the Commission require unanimity, a commitment on these lines can be given without opening Lisbon.
Taoiseach Cowen will present this as a triumph for Irish diplomacy, while his EU colleagues will smile cynically to themselves. Then various Declarations will be given – to meet Irish concerns on company taxation, human rights, neutrality etc. – which will be tagged on to the Lisbon Treaty, but wll not alter a jot or tittle of its contents.
What threats or implicit threats will be needed to go with these promises? The most obvious one is that Irish voters will be told, as they were not told over the past months – that the Lisbon Treaty aims to establish a constitutionally new Federal Union and that the Irish must decide whether they want to be members of this or not, or do they want to keep the present EU as it stands under the Nice Treaty rules.
The other Member States still cannot ratify Lisbon and establish this new Union without Ireland’s agreement. But the hope will be that this mix of promises and implicit threats will suffice to overturn the Irish people’s No in Lisbon One and turn it into a Yes in Lisbon Two.
A peaceable democratic popular revolt in Ireland and across the EU is needed to prevent this happening and to prevent the anti-democratic Lisbon Treaty-cum EU-Constitution being clamped on most of the peoples of our continent.
- Anthony Coughlan
Anthony Coughlan is the secretary of the National Platform for Ireland and a prominent leader in the “No” campaign.