Campaigners call for Lisbon 'No' vote


An alliance of groups campaigning for a No vote in the Lisbon Treaty referendum has claimed there is “no truth” in the assertion by senior trade union figures that a Yes vote will give more rights to Irish workers.

The Campaign Against the EU Constitution, an alliance of 13 groups and individuals including Sinn Fén and the Socialist Party, today opened its campaign claiming Lisbon “offers nothing” to the Irish people.

It called on Ictu general secretary David Begg and Blair Horan of the CPSU to state how the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which would be made binding under Lisbon, would protect workers.

Spokesman for the campaign group Brendan Young said: “David Begg and Blair Horan are leading people to believe that the Charter of Fundamental Rights would give us more rights and that it would prevent another Laval ruling by the European Court of Justice. We are of the opinion, supported by legal advice, that there is no truth in these claims. We call on Mr Begg and Mr Horan to say precisely how the Charter would prevent another Laval ruling.”

The Laval case accepted that the right to strike is a fundamental right, but not as fundamental a right as that of businesses to supply cross-border services.

The group also claimed Article 188c of the Lisbon Treaty would remove the veto on international trade agreements in health, education and social services “in all but exceptional, undefined circumstances”.

“Trade in public services leads to privatisation, service charges and two-tier services – especially in health and education,” the group said.

The campaigners also claimed Lisbon would accelerate the “militarisation of the EU”.

“Article 28 commits the EU to a ‘common defence’, even if by unanimous agreement. But if we vote for this treaty, we are tied into a commitment to increase military spending. We could also be pressed to give military support to another Member State, or to a non-EU state, in what EU leaders call the fight against terrorism.”

“Lisbon would allow a group of well-armed states to form a military alliance within the EU in cooperation with US-dominated Nato. The remaining states would have no say in the workings of this group, but its actions would inevitably affect us all. Lisbon reinforces EU-Nato links and gives the US more influence over European foreign policy. Yet the Treaty would not require a UN mandate for EU military action."

It was also claimed that additional powers given to the European Parliament under the Lisbon Treaty “do not redress the lack of accountability of the Commission, nor the enshrinement of neoliberal and militarising policies in treaties we cannot change”.

“If we don’t like our government, we can vote them out. But we can’t change EU treaties once they’re in place. Lisbon offers nothing to ordinary people and would give us less control.”

Those affiliated to the group are: Communist Party of Ireland; Community & Workers Action Group, Crumlin; Éirígí; Irish Anti-war Movement; Irish Republican Socialist Party; Irish Socialist Network; Peace and Neutrality Alliance; People Before Profit Alliance; People’s Movement; Sinn Fein; Socialist Party; Socialist Workers Party and the Workers Party.