NICE TREATY AND EU ENLARGEMENT
Sir, - The continued debate in your letters column on the above subject is a good thing. The matter is too important to go by default. I know there is a "National Forum on Europe", but who ever hears from it and what is it doing?
There seems to be a feeling now that the Government will arrange for some declaration on Irish neutrality and hope that this will convert enough of the No voters to carry a re-run referendum. But there must be many, like me, whose concerns are not being addressed. Let me mention two issues that should concern us:
Firstly, there is the matter of a reduction in our voting rights, and particularly the fact that we will lose our right to an Irish nominated Commissioner. I don't know how we conceded this; it should be reversed. If in an enlarged EU not every member-state can have a Commissioner, why not let the new members do without one for a probationary period of (say) 10 years?
Secondly, the haste to enlarge the EU should concern us. Why are the applicant countries not expected to meet the financial and economic standards that apply to us? Those who have travelled in these states have the greatest sympathy for them and would wish to assist them to meet our standards but we know this will take time. Remember our first efforts to join and the reception we got?
Anyhow, it's going to take more than a declaration of our neutrality to get a Yes from me! - Yours, etc.,
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Sir, - Prof Cornelius O'Leary claims (June 13th) that EU enlargement is impossible, in terms of EU and international law, if Ireland fails to ratify the Nice Treaty. He equates this impossibility with that of conceiving a child without having sexual intercourse.
However, as the President of the European Commission has admitted, it is certainly legally possible, if not necessarily easy, for enlargement to go ahead if the Nice Treaty is dust-binned; what's more, Louise Brown, the world's first test-tube baby, was born in 1978! - Yours, etc.,