“It is either Lisbon or Nice..”

The Dáil voted itself on holiday today, until September 24th, which might give Taoiseach Brian Cowen time to work out what happens next in Europe. French President Nicolas Sarkozy never did get round to visiting the Republic of Ireland in the aftermath of the Lisbon Treaty referendum but he has just opened France’s six month presidency of the EU by laying out some stark choices ahead.

Mr Sarkozy said the choice was either to stick with the Lisbon Treaty or revert to the old Nice Treaty, which the Lisbon Treaty replaces. The problem with the Nice Treaty, Mr Sarkozy said, was that it implied no further expansion of the EU without the streamlined EU decision-making arrangements which the Lisbon Treaty introduces.

“It is not for a Frenchman to judge the Irish ‘No’. We must not offend our Irish colleagues but we need to know under what Treaty we are going to organise the Euro-elections in 2009 – either the Lisbon treaty or the Nice Treaty” said Mr Sarkozy.

The report continues

“It is either Lisbon or Nice – there can be no more institutional conferences,” he said referring to the IGCs which are the forum for treaty negotiations.

He also said he thought it was wrong to put such as issue to a referendum in the first place. To applause from MEPs, he commented: “Institutional things are for members of parliament, rather than referendums – it’s a political choice and perfectly democratic.”

He added that without reformed institutions, the EU could not enlarge beyond its current 27 members, even though it would continue negotiations with Croatia, the next candidate in line. He said he would propose a solution for the reform treaty this year in consultation with Ireland’s leaders.

“The French presidency will propose a method and, I hope, a solution either in October or in December,” Mr Sarkozy said.

Mr Sarkozy said he would visit Ireland on July 21st to sound out political leaders on a way forward for the treaty.

A separate report adds this

French president Nicolas Sarkozy ruled out a two-tier European Union today following Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon Treaty.

He said no member of the European “family” could be left behind – but further expansion of the 27-nation Union was out of the question unless the Lisbon Treaty was kept on track.

Adds Over at the Telegraph Blog Conservative MEP for South East England, Daniel Hannan, has some thoughts about what might be being planned

My guess is that there will be an attempt to pare down the text and push it through the Dáil, claiming that the amended version is somehow still the Lisbon Treaty. In other words, Ireland will seek to sidestep the referendum requirement (which comes from a 1987 court ruling, rather than being an intrinsic property of the 1937 constitution). Several Irish Europhiles are already agitating for a “review” of the Attorney General’s ruling that the European Constitution Lisbon Treaty should trigger a plebiscite. I’d say this is that this is what Sarko and Biffo are working towards.

Hmm.. I’m not sure how they could alter the text without having to re-ratify elsewhere..

Meanwhile Belgium ratifies the Lisbon treaty.

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  • Dave

    [i]“It is not for a Frenchman to judge the Irish ‘No’. We must not offend our Irish colleagues but we need to know under what Treaty we are going to organise the Euro-elections in 2009 – either the Lisbon treaty or the Nice Treaty” said Mr Sarkozy.[/i]

    This question was answered on June 12th by a referendum in the Republic of Ireland. The Lisbon Treaty was rejected under the Unanimity Rule by failing to secure – and here’s that word again – ‘unanimous’ ratification among the member states of the EU. Mr Sarkozy needs to acquaint himself with the rules of (a) the EU, and (b) democracy.

    The EU project has perverted the concept of democracy in Western culture to the point where it seen as an irrelevance to the operation of the state and where people are not allowed to determine how they organise their own affairs because it is proffered that the forces that influence those affairs are global in nature and beyond their control, with the will of the people being secondary to the will of the (foreign) political elite who may control our affairs because they are proffered as being global players who can have influence (despite being less than 8% of the global population and a very small number of the world’s 195 nation states). Thus we are encouraged to believe that our prosperity is to be determined by others and that our status as an independent and sovereign nation state with a right to self-determination must be abandoned and said sovereignty transferred to said influential others because our prosperity is more important than our democracy and our nation state.

    Europhiles do not accept the legitimacy of national sovereignty within the nation states on the continent of Europe because that sovereignty impedes their attempt to convert the continent of Europe in the country of Europe. That sovereignty, they believe, must be transferred to the EU if the EU project is to honour its constitutionally binding obligation in the Treaty of Rome (and restated in subsequent treaties) to seek “ever closer union” between the member states – and “ever closer union” means unity, i.e. a new nation state of Europe, so they won’t stop at a federal Europe. They have no respect for the democratic will of member states because they have created a culture that actively seeks to undermine democracy in order to promote their own project.

    This is why they proffer the propaganda that the citizens of the nation states of Europe are citizens of the EU (it isn’t a state and it doesn’t have any citizens) and it it why they are engineering a new nationality of European to run parallel the national identity of the respective member states with the intention that the new identity will supplant the old identity when it is rendered redundant/impotent via integration. In this sense, the will of the individual nations is irrelevant because the one true nation is now deemed to be the EU – hence the Lisbon Treaty divides the power between the ‘citizens’ of Europe when it is actually the member states of Europe who join it, not citizens.

    Sarkozy and his ilk talk out of both sides of their mouths at the same time, saying “We must respect the will of the Irish in rejecting the treaty BUT the treaty must be implemented.” This is laughable but accepted as valid politics by a vast number of people who have had their grasp of democracy perverted by this dismal EU project. People who do not respect the will of the people should not be trusted with power over the people, and the Irish in their wisdom, are fully aware of this and have accordingly rejected the transfer to their sovereign powers to the crypto-fascist elite. Sarkozy wants to say “Makes the bastards vote again until they vote the right way” and being a devious but savvy slimebag, he knows that is bad PR, so he must act with contempt for democracy while making an effort to disguise his and the rest of his Europhile ilk’s abject contempt for it. A lot of these slimebags aren’t actually committed Europhiles, by the way, they’re just doing what will gain them political kudos from those who are.

  • joeCanuck

    He also said he thought it was wrong to put such as issue to a referendum in the first place. To applause from MEPs, he commented: “Institutional things are for members of parliament, rather than referendums – it’s a political choice and perfectly democratic.”

    That comment reminds me of a comment made by the incumbent Canadian P.M. during an election campaign in the early 90s. She was asked a question on television about what her policy was on a certain issue and she replied that policies were too important to be discussed during an election campaign!
    Perhaps not surprisingly, her party which had 162 or so MPs going into the election ended up with only 2, herself not included.

    The people have spoken, the bastards. (with acknowledgement to whomsoever first said that).

  • John Palmer

    Dave – You have not understood the difference between a transfer of sovereignty to what you describe as a “foreign body” and what is really at issue – whether and to what degree to “share” sovereignty with other states and peoples in a shared union. Your approach is entirely consistent with that of the (mainly right wing) euro-phobes in Britain and elsewhere. However your use of language such as “slime ball” suggests that you may have a different political provenance. In any case you do not seem to grasp the fact that more and more issues facing citizens in all states cannot be resolved in a rapidly and increasingly globalised world without a great deal more cooperation and a significant among of joint decision making. I have no time for the politics of Sarkozy. And one reason for that is that he has often trumpeted similar paeans of praise to the “eternal nation state” – France in his case – that you evoke in Ireland’s case. His nationalism has invariably been deployed for reactionary purposes. If your nationalist doctrine gains further ground in Ireland, it will also be used for deeply reactionary ends.

  • Dave

    Joe, the main purpose of a constitution is to stipulate rights that the political elite don’t have any control over. It is the business of the people to approve any alteration of their fundamental rights, not the business of parliament. The Americans clearly grasp that the government does not control the constitution – they must be absolutely separate – but Europeans have been brainwashed into thinking that this gross perversion is acceptable and indeed beneficial to the interests of the people. The Lisbon Treaty AKA the Constitutional Treaty alters the fundamental political, civil, national, economic, social, and human rights of the people without the consent of the people – with the political elite contriving to exclude them precisely because they know that the people do not approve. That should not be tolerated.

    John Palmer, there won’t any shared sovereignty post-integration. Sovereignty will reside with the new state of Europe. That is the end game that is being engineered here. They talk about cooperation between independent member states on the continent of Europe when the actual aim and core dynamic is unification. Co-operation between nations on mutual interests of globalisation does not require that those nations pool their sovereignty. The vast majority of other 195 nations do not pool their sovereignty in order to compete. This is propaganda that has been fed to you in order to support the EU, and which you have swallowed without chewing. Those who do not respect democracy are slimebags. Dupes who assist them unwittingly are in a lesser degraded class. 😉

  • BenDover

    Sarkozy has a point. Referendum, whatever it’s moral correctitude or otherwise, is a poor vehicle for deciding on something like the Lisbon Treaty (or the constitution for that matter). This is amply demonstrated by the complete lack of serious proposals for what parts of the Treaty should be replaced and with what by those who opposed it. The referendum question effectively became “Is the EU sugar and spice and all things nice or does it smell like poo?” and the resounding answer was “meh, European Union, a wee bit smelly”. Putting every finance bill to a referendum or every company restructuring to a shareholder vote would be dumb for the same reason.

    Giving Ireland concessions on abortion, neutrality or tax are impossible. The treaty already had them. If it’s opponents themselves are not coming back and saying “change this, this and this to this and we’d say yea” then what’s the point in renegotiation? What is there to negotiate about? Anyway, it would be immoral for Ireland to stand in the way of a military dimension of the EU if, like monetary union, or like Schengen it was optional. If it’s going to happen it will happen under Nice rules anyway. Indeed, like Schengen, the battlegroups, a kind of mini European rapid reaction army, include a country or two who aren’t even members of the EU.

  • “Referendum, whatever it’s moral correctitude or otherwise, is a poor vehicle for deciding on something like the Lisbon Treaty (or the constitution for that matter).”

    Then what *would* you think a good subject for a referendum?

    The People give consent to be governed to their proxies. It should not be for the proxies to make changes to how the People may be governed.

  • Dave

    John Palmer, just to address your last sentence by guessing at its meaning in regard to nationalism and the state. Perhaps the most creative attempt at denigrating the concept of the nation-state I’ve read recently came in the form of convoluted prose by someone posting under the moniker of “When” on Fair Deal’s Unionist Academy thread, wherein it was dismissed as being as non-linear as flocks of birds flying in different directions, thereby using a Complex Adaptive System from Complexity Theory for a novel (albeit ill-fitting) purpose. Your attempt, alas, lacks is more routine.

    Now, my “nationalist doctrine” in so far as you can claim to understand it, refers to believing in the sovereign territorial entity of a nation state wherein a people determine their own affairs for their mutual benefit. This doesn’t require further debate since it is the basis for all of the nation states in the world. In apparent contrast to this is the engineering of the EU which many confuse as being advocacy of a new age hippy commune that will make love and not war but which is in fact merely a merger of 27 (or more) nation states into one larger nation state which will them operate according to the exact same “nationalist doctrine” that you seem to disapprove of.

    Underpinning the delusion is a sense of omnipotence that new nation state (which will simply serve to reduce the number of nation states in the world to 169 from 195 and which account for less than 8% of the world’s population) will be all-powerful in the world, rather than being a bit-part player living by its wits just like all of the other states (excluding China and India). Now, of course, brainwashed Europhiles instinctively protest that the new state of Europe won’t be a nation state because they claim it lacks homogeneity and so it won’t be a cause of war as they claim that nation states are. This claim is easily dismissed as pro-EU propaganda by pointing out that America isn’t a nation state by that definition either, yet it has been the cause of many wars. In addition, the EU is actively engineering the harmonisation – in all areas of national life, not just economics – that is to form the basis of the homogeneity for its new nation state and for the nationalism which is required in order to sustain it. You will notice that Turkey isn’t wanted as a member because it is Islamic rather than Christian and that heterogeneity will dilute the required homogeneity – which is predominantly white and Christian. What actually caused Europe’s two wars was imperialism, not nationalism, and the EU project is imperialism by another name. The president of the European Commission Jose Barroso said recently “Sometimes, I like to compare the EU as a creation to the organisation of empire. We have the dimensions of empire.” Indeed they do, and the EU is the most aggressively imperial, expansionist entity still remaining on the planet.

    So rather than the EU project meaning the death of the nation state, it simply means the creation of a bigger nation state – and one that is predicated on the disrespect for democracy and the principle of self-determination that is the hallmark of imperialism. There will still be “foreigners” in the world but they will be the non-Europeans. The state of Europe will selfishly pursue its own interests, competing against those foreign interests. This new nation state will be beset with separatist violence as the people who were engineered into it sans their consent use terrorism to assert their rights to self-determination, leading in the long run to civil wars between those who became loyal to the new national identity of European and those who renamed loyal to their old identity and want to live again as a nation state based on their nation, so most of its efforts will be focused on suppressing violent internal dissent rather than on wealth-creation.

    And besides, child, if you followed your own logic, you’d end up with one nation and one state in the world with the Earthlings undermining those who are happy to be just Europeans, eventually engaging in war with them to further their one-world aim. And who wants to live in a world where there is no-choice other than to do whatever the all-powerful state tells you? Escape to Mars year 2100. 😉

  • Oilifear

    “Giving Ireland concessions on abortion, neutrality or tax are impossible. The treaty already had them.”

    It is wholly possible to give someone concessions they already had, particularly if that person was not aware that they had them in the first place.

    22% of No voters did so because they “do not know enough about the Treaty and would not want to vote for something I am not familiar with“. Did you hear one Yes campaigner tell how the Tá option included a constitutional ban on Ireland joining a common EU defence? Why not re-present the treaty to the Irish public with explicit declarations that Ireland is to be respected as “neutral” on these matters? There is nothing wrong with repeating what has already been said, especially if people did not understand you the first time around.

    (Incidentally, I am very surprised at Sarkozy’s wording/approach. In the – certain – event of a rerun, it is far better to go in with the air clear of pressure from the continent. It also breaths some life back into European democracy, which for a while there teetered on self-annihilation.)

    (p.s. Dave, you’re a funny man – write some more!)

  • consul


    22% of No voters did so because they ”do not know enough about the Treaty and would not want to vote for something I am not familiar with”.

    You can hardly claim that 100% of the 47% who voted yes were entirely familiar with the full ramifications of the treaty. For every pound of information proffered, there was a tonne of misinformation (both sides guilty). You suggest that if more was known many of the No voters may have Yes voters. This in some cases might very possibly be true. But by the same token, if more were known, the reverse might just as easily be true and many Yes voters could become No voters.

  • El Paso

    Does anybody know what happened to the survey of people who voted “yes”? I, for one, would love to know what they were thinking.

  • Oilifear

    consul, a logical presumption. Indeed the same survey indicates that both sides may have been just as ill-informed as each other: “One-fifth of the ‘no’ voters and one-sixth of the ‘yes’ voters did not know if the Lisbon Treaty would be good or bad for Ireland.” (And, “I voted yes because I didn’t know what it was about” is an even scarier prospect than people voting No out of ignorance.)

    Although, while the proportion of Yes voters that thought the treaty was good for Ireland (75%) is unsurprising, you have to ask yourself what the 42% of No voters that thought the Treaty was a good thing were about? “It’s a good thing, so I voted no”?

    El Paso, see the same survey (linked above).

  • Oilifear

    (Indeed, the survey suggests that if people had voted simply on whether they thought the Treaty was good or bad for Ireland, the result would have been – back of fag box calculation – 57% in favour of ratification.)

  • Oilifear

    (Even assuming all “don’t know” voted Níl!)

  • Dave

    Oilifear, be a dear and go look the difference between a multiple choice poll and a zero-sum poll that asks a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question.

    In a zero-sum poll, the voter either rejects the entire document or rejects none of it. Get it now, sweet pie? No? Well, it just means that Irish voters rejected all that is contained within the Lisbon Treaty in a zero-sum poll. Ergo, your attempt (or rather the attempt at propaganda by the EU mandarins you are mimicking here) to redefine the poll as multiple choice is irrelevant to the actual outcome and is designed merely to undermine it, and with it, the democratic process.

    Thank you, however, for unwittingly confirming my point regarding the extent to which the EU project has perverted the concept of democracy in Western culture.

  • Dave

    By the way, if you wanted a multiple choice poll then why wasn’t the Lisbon Treaty presented for ratification as a list of pick-and-choose options? Precisely because it is all-or-none by default, i.e. zero-sum.

    This attempt to redefine a poll that was zero-sum option as being non zero-sum is just another way of saying, “You voted the wrong way; now you must vote again and vote the right way.” It is a blatant display of the abject contempt that the EU holds for democracy and the will of the people – but only to those who haven’t been brainwashed into believing that such perversity is an acceptable means of furthering a project that cannot be furthered if it requires the consent of the people, while the brainwashed cling to the (laughable) plausible deniability spiels that the EU mandarins spew forth as cover for their motives real agenda.

    For all their conceit about how sophisticated and ‘European’ they are, people who support the EU are as thick as constipated pig’s shit in willingly abandoning their rights to those who hold their will in contempt. As is often pointed out, the biggest supporters of that other grand project, the USSR, were also the quasi-intellectual class.

  • Democracy??

    The majority of those people who cast their votes voted no, yet the EU wants to circumvent that fact. It just proves the old saying – if voting changed anything, it would have been outlawed years ago.

  • The cat is out of the bag – if Lisbon does not go through we will get Nice i.e. the status-quo. Blows apart a central plank of the “yes” camp argument for a yes vote to Lisbon II – that a no vote would lead to the other countries pressing on without us. Thank you Mr.Sarkozy.

  • Dave

    That has always been the position, FutureTaoiseach, and nothing has changed by Sarkozy’s comment. Ireland cannot be expelled from the EU for voting against and the Lisbon Treaty and the treaty cannot be implemented. That unneeded clarity isn’t Sarkozy’s intent: he is merely proffering that to pretend that he isn’t applying any “pressure” on the Irish to change their minds when he and other states are busy doing exactly that by proceeding with ratification regardless of the rejection. Ireland, of course, rejected the Nice Treaty but was compelled to vote again until it accepted it (accomplished on the pretext of pretending that the poll was a multiple option rather than zero-sum and that the rerun could be justified by finding out what imaginary option they rejected and excluding it from the rerun, i.e. hence the Seville Declaration).

    [i]Mr Sarkozy was furious with the Irish. “They are bloody fools,” he told aides, according to le Canard Enchaîné weekly. “They have been stuffing their faces at Europe’s expense for years and now they dump us in the shit.” He then ordered his Government to play down the “no”, proceed with their plans and find ways to save the treaty. “We have to manage the Irish ‘no’ with calm, with sang-froid and neither dramatise nor minimise it,” he said.

    The French “hyper-president” is determined to make the Irish vote again, if possible even before European Parliament elections next June. [/i]

    Loaded language such as “move forward without us” and “pressing on” and “Ireland will be left behind” fallaciously creates the impression that the EU project represents some unspecified form of progress and that those who don’t support the EU project will experience some unspecified form of retardation. Other fallacies that are regularly used include “being at the centre of it” and conversely “being isolated on the fringes” of Europe – this again creates a bogus impression that the EU is the epicentre of world affairs and at the epicentre is where we must be (lest we, presumably, fall into a dark hole and are never again heard from).

    Nice allows for a two-tier EU with fools surrendering their sovereignty and wiser men refusing to do so. Let the fools jump first – as they always do. 😉

  • Dave

    One final comment, FutureTaoiseach. If the Irish government had any honour, they would resign from office since they clearly do not agree with the will of the people that they represent. Are you ready to start your career early?

  • John Palmer

    Dave – Ignoring your patronising tone – “child” etc – let me just point out that a sovereignty sharing union cannot, will not and is not intended to lead to something you describe as “a European nation state.” You clearly are a prisoner of 19th century political catagories – in so far as you can only think in terms of “nation state”. A political union in which states increasingly share sovereignty and where a European democracy developes in parallel with democracy at the nation state and substate levels – is quite consistent with the existence of national polities. Indeed it has encouraged the emergence of political identities (indeed actual “nations”) below the existing nation state level – think only of Catalonia, or Scotland or Flanders. This demonstrates that European integration has not led to some kind of “European nation”. But you have a point about world governance. Sovereignty sharing is under active debate in other emerging global regions (ASEAN – south east Asia, Mercosur – South America, the African Union etc). But there is an urgent need for sovereignty sharing at the global level (think: climate, financial crisis or steps needed to curb the great power hegemons.) For anyone concerned that globalisation should be brought under greater democratic control – such sovereignty sharing is essential which makes the EU an increasingly important beacon for the future.

  • Oilifear

    “Oilifear, be a dear and go look the difference between a multiple choice poll and a zero-sum poll that asks a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question.”

    “Multiple response”, you mean, not “multiple choice”. That question was a simple choice between Good/Bad/Don’t know. (See page 0.)

    That said, I can’t really be to smart about whether it was multiple choice or multiple response … looking back I see a rather fatal slip in my reading: I read the “All Voters” results for “‘No’ Voters”. Doh!

    The correct calculation would be as follows:

    Among all voters, the opinion was:
    * 42% thought the treaty was good for Ireland
    * 41% thought it was bad for Ireland
    * 17% didn’t know

    * “Don’t knows” cast their votes at a radio of 161:270, with a majority against the treaty. (14*0.46 = 6.44, 20*0.54 = 10.8, 6.44:10.8 = 161:270)

    Going by this, the result was broadly in line with opinion on whether the treay was good or bad for Ireland.

    a) that the same people voted
    b) everybody voted soly according to whether they thought the treaty was good or bad for Ireland
    c) “don’t knows” divided between Yes and No in the same proportion as they did on referendum day
    d) the Eurobarometer survey is accurate

    The results would have been 48.3% in favour of the treaty (42+(17*161/(161+270))).