Realities of European integration
Sir, – Further to “Decision time coming for Ireland on further European integration” (Ronan McCrea, Opinion & Analysis, April 24th), the Lisbon Treaty already provides, under article 20, for a multispeed Europe, or “enhanced cooperation” as it is more properly described in the treaty. Indeed, the concept is not a new one; it was envisaged as far back as the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997.
And Irish diplomacy has lived in a perpetual state of fear ever since that France and Germany would pick up that ball and run into the far distance with it, leaving small countries such as ourselves behind.
That is why the UK provided a valuable brake on all such initiatives, behind which we could shelter; but no longer.
And it is ironic that one of the first instances of our attempts to enter new alliances in Europe should be with a “Coalition of the Cautious”, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Benelux and the Baltics, conveniently nine member states, the minimum necessary under article 20, which announced itself last month, to oppose France in suggesting greater European banking integration.
It would be refreshing if Irish politicians were more candid about the realities we face post-Brexit. Our liberal credentials will be tested as never before. – Yours, etc,