Brexit and defending national interests
A chara, – Simon O’Connor (Letters, July 9th) decries the development of the European Union and claims that this is being done without “the democratic consent of the people of Europe”.
Are these the same people who have just elected the European Parliament, and who have elected 28 national governments, all of which are represented on the European Council, and who ratified the Lisbon treaty in accordance with the constitutional requirements of their own countries?
He then goes on to praise Brexit as a democratic rejection of “a United States of Europe” and castigates letter writer A Leavy (July 8th) for calling it “a declaration of economic war on European countries”.
But no one is disputing the right of the UK to leave the EU “in accordance with the requirements its own [unwritten] constitution”, and its obligation under article 50 to negotiate a withdrawal agreement with the EU.
It should be noted that the British representative, Lord Kerr, was instrumental in the drafting of that article, and that referendums are not binding on the Westminster parliament under the UK constitution, whereas international treaties are. What the UK chooses to do is ultimately its own business. However, it is also clear that a “no deal” UK departure would be extremely damaging to the EU and to the economic and political wellbeing of Ireland in particular.
Are we not therefore entitled to seek to protect and pursue our own national interests as well?
It seems Mr O’Connor is willing to grant the UK not only the right to leave the European Union, but to do so without regard to the multiple mutually agreed obligations it has incurred over the years, including the Belfast Agreement, the EU Blue Skies Agreement, the rights of EU citizens within the UK, and various security, trade and customs agreements.
No doubt he will then blame the EU for the creation of an EU/UK border within Ireland and the massive disruption of employment, trade and travel that could result.
We don’t have a problem with John Bull doing his own thing, but we do have a duty to try to protect our own national interests from a bull in the china shop run amok. – Yours, etc,