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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: March 25, 2009 @ 10:37 am

    Prague Problem for Lisbon Treaty

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    With all the economic problems that exist, the last thing Brussels wanted was another question-mark over the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. The imminent collapse of the Czech Government has created further uncertainty.

    Czech President Vaclav Klaus looks (pronounced “Vaslav” not “Vaklav”)  set to become the key figure in his country’s administration and its current European presidency. An out-and-out Eurosceptic he will not be seeking to facilitate the majority EU leadership in its efforts to bring the Treaty process to a conclusion.

    In a sense it takes the pressure off Ireland because we will not be the only ones seen as holding-up the ratification process. Even if the Treaty is ratified at parliamentary level, President Klaus has said he will not sign it into Czech law until Ireland has completed its second referendum (I am quoting the RTE reports this morning: click here.)

    The fact remains that all EU states have to ratify the Treaty before it can come into effect so even if Ireland says “Yes” in a second referendum, we may still have to wait for the Czechs to sign off on it.

    Anecdotal evidence suggests that many people who voted No in Ireland last time will now change their mind when the second referendum is called, probably in October. But I woudn’t underestimate the effect of the campaign – not so much the capacity of the No side to win but the potential for key people in the Yes camp to screw it up, which is in large part what happened last June.

     See also today’s Irish Times report: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2009/0325/breaking8.htm

    • Ray D says:

      I thought, as Eamon Gilmore so succinctly put it, that the Lisbon Treaty was dead. Since the Treaty is legally dead, what Treaty are you writing about?

    • Deaglán says:

      Here’s a news update on this somewhat confusing situation:


    • robespierre says:

      Lisbon has been passed by a number of countries, some like Spain and Luxembourg also held plebiscites so ours is not a final and ultimate arbiter of democratic validity or invalidity. The votes in Spain and Luxembourg [matter] just as much as ours did. Should their voices be ignored also???

      The people are entitled to say no twice like they have on PR-STV or other more complex moral issues.

      The next referendum should be used as an opportunity to vote on participation in Europe and to change the current constitution to confer future powers for making these decisions to the elected parliament of the people of Ireland.

    • Deaglán says:

      You left a word out in your first paragraph, R. I trust “matter” fills the bill.

    • dealga says:

      I look forward to the world the likes of Ray D obviously want to live in where people’s first answer must be their last.

    • Ray D says:

      I have never believed that, in general, the first answer to everything should be the last. That would be nonsensical.

      We are talking about a referendum here though. I take it that if instead we had voted yes, you would have insisted on the the referendum being rerun to see what our second, third, etc. answers were (and what then) – and pigs may fly. We rejected the Treaty and, as Eamon Gilmore said, that treaty is now dead.

    • Brian Boru says:

      Problem – what problem? Anything that blocks this Treaty coming into force is welcome as far as respect for the democraticdecision of the Irish people is concerned. The elites have to learn to take no for an answer if the EU is to repair its democratic deficit.
      The democratic deficit includes the failure to accept “no” from the people. As stated before, my problem is the Charter of Fundamental Rights, notably the impact Articles 15 (‘everybody has the right to work in freely chosen occupations’) will have in terms of allowing the European Court of Justice to force us to lift the ban on employment for asylum-seekers. We are in a recession and the last thing we need are measures like these.
      I also believe that the fact the so-called ‘assurances’ are not even going to be added to the text of the Lisbon Treaty speaks of bad faith on the part of the politicians in Ireland and Europe. If they were serious about addressing our concerns they would be inserting them into the Treaty now, rather than feeding us some fairytale about what will happen in some unknown future treaty.
      Unless we get an opt-out from the Charter, I am committed to voting no a second time. I was impressed by Declan Ganley’s angle on the economic crisis and how it relates to Lisbon. The single interest-rate helped create the property crash in this country, and it underlines how more European integration doesn’t necessarily equate to more economic growth.
      For the first 25 years of EU membership we had mass unemployment and emigration, but somehow they are to be credited with the Celtic Tiger? Sorry, but it doesn’t work like that for me. We are closer to Boston than Berlin, linguistically and culturally. The ties to Boston were more relevant to the Celtic Tiger, in my humble opinion.

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