Lisbon or Nice – the choice facing Irish voters

One point in José Manuel Barroso’s interview with RTÉ that has so far failed to receive much coverage is the EU Commission president’s admission that, even if there is a second no vote to the Lisbon Treaty, the world won’t fall in and the European Union will continue pretty much as before. If the Lisbon Treaty fails then it’s full steam ahead with the Nice Treaty instead. No talk of crisis, no mention of stasis, no mumblings about a disaster for Europe.

“We have either one Treaty or the other Treaty,” said Barroso. “If there is not the Lisbon Treaty we keep the treaties that are now our legal base.”
However, Barroso was also very clear that the Lisbon Treaty will not be changed in any shape or form and, interestingly, seems to believe it is possible to create something known as a legally binding reassurance of a consideration (I’m looking forward to seeing that one fleshed out.)

“Certainly we cannot now change the Treaty. It is possible, I think, to give legally binding reassurances to the Irish that some points of concern that were expressed by the Irish people during the referendum are taken into consideration,” he said.

Barroso also admitted that, in his view, the extension of the number of EU Commissioners to 27 had not been a problem:

“We are working very well, we are working efficiently. Some are saying we are even working better than before.”

I doubt Barroso meant it but he seems to have outlined one good argument for the No campaign: It’s not a no to Lisbon, it’s a yes to Nice.

  • JG

    Shag off Barroso, we’ve given our answer already. No means no.

  • In other words, we can’t be thrown out. Good. I’m voting no anyhow, unless we get an optout from the Charter of Fundamental Rights. I’m surprised how little attention that element of the Treaty go in the first campaign. In my humble opinion, when the electorate recognises how more authority will flow to the ECJ when Lisbon passes with the Charter enshrined into EU law (the UK and Poland have optouts implying concerns about it are shared elsewhere), including on emotive issues like asylum and immigration, capital punishment, and the right to strike, they will defeat Lisbon by at least a 60-40 margin.

  • Dave

    Brian, since the Lisbon Treaty is about promoting EU integration, the central ideological issue is whether the nation-state should continue to exist with the people being sovereign an determining their own affairs as a nation and in the national interest, or if they now accept that their internal affairs should be determined by people who are neither elected by them or accountable to them. They must decide if they are Irish people or Europeans for, despite the propaganda that informs that they can be both, the two claims to self-determination are not reconcilable. The EU project is a direct violation of Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (the principle on which the nation-state is founded): “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” The EU project nominally allows the various nations to remain culturally as a nation while systematically undermining the state that promotes the national interests of that nation, merging all of the nations into a homogenised group under the engineered common nationalism of European. You will find that nations do not prosper without a nation-state. Look at Irish history for an example of what happens to a nation when the state is not controlled by the nation, or look at the pitiful remnants of other stateless nations. The EU project is predicated on the Treaty of Rome, and the clause within this treaty imposing a legally binding obligation on the governments of member states to seek “ever closer union” between them is restated in the Maastricht and Nice treaties. The only logical outworking of “ever closer union” is unity. And as you observed, it is the ECJ who will interpret the Lisbon Treaty and its interpretations will take precedence in law – and that biased court in bound by the Treaty of Rome to promote “ever closer union” between member states, i.e. to remove ever more sovereign powers from the member states of the EU project and transfer them to the EU parliament. It is, of course, utter propaganda to claim that nations must transfer the sovereign powers of their state to a foreign parliment before they can trade freely with each other: all that is required is for those states who wish to trade freely not to impose protectionist tariffs with those states they wish to trade freely with.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Ratification will be no problem second time around – first time around ROI thought they could afford to reject it – now they konw they cant – middle Ireland will vote for its wallet.

    at least 1/2 on to be passed I would guess.

  • Jimmy

    Ireland said No to Nice 1, ended up with Nice 2
    Ireland said No to Lisbon 1, ended up with Lisbon 2.
    When is a Democratic decision not a Democratic decision in the eyes of Barrosso and the rest of his unacountable, unelected junta?

    We can be Irish and Europeans,Its the either you are or your not mentality by the EU integrationists-Federalists that is the most offensive to the people.

  • ZoonPol

    What is undemocratic about asking the Republic of Ireland to rerun the referenda? After all if there was a NO vote for a united island of Ireland there would be a section of the community that would cry for another rerun …

  • What is the point of democracy in the EU, they will only accept a result which is acceptable to them!

  • Oilifear

    Oh my God! We’re having another referendum! And the president of the Commission has said that – just as with the last one – the decision of the majority Irish voters will be legally binding!?

    That’s just sooooo undemocratic!!!!!

    And do you know what makeS it worse??? That the main concerns for voting ‘no’ the last time are addressed … that would be like … ugh! just such an insult to democracy!!

    I mean, people vote, the government do something on the back of that, and the government then returns to the people to approve their actions!?!??

    And the call THAT democracy!!?

  • Wilde Rover


    “And the president of the Commission has said that – just as with the last one – the decision of the majority Irish voters will be legally binding!?”

    The decision isn’t really legally binding if it has to be voted on again.

    “And do you know what makeS it worse??? That the main concerns for voting ‘no’ the last time are addressed … that would be like … ugh! just such an insult to democracy!!”

    The main concerns of No voters have been addressed? I suppose we will have to wait until the referendum to answer that question.

  • veritas

    its quite simple really….

    Ireland will vote until we get a Yes vote…

    in fact why don`t the Irish simplify the process…

    disenfranchise the No voters, end of story.

    vote veritas!

  • Oilifear

    “The decision isn’t really legally binding if it has to be voted on again.”

    Yes, it is legally binding. If you vote ‘no’, the government cannot ratify the treaty.

    (In fact, it is a ‘yes’ vote that is technically not legally binding, since if the result is ‘yes’ the government is not *obliged* to ratify the treaty. Compare with the senate reform referendum of ’78 – the result was ‘yes’, but the measure has never been enacted.)

    “The main concerns of No voters have been addressed?”

    Remember the sign posts:

    – “Vote No and Keep Our Commissioner”
    – “Vote No to an EU Army”
    – “Vote No to Abortion”
    – “Vote No to Keep Our Tax System”
    – etc.

    The biggest reason for voting ‘no’has not been adequately daelt with, however, IMHO: “I didn’t know enough about it”.

  • Wilde Rover


    “Remember the sign posts:”

    So what you are saying is that you think the No vote in the first referendum was a good thing?

    “The biggest reason for voting ‘no’has not been adequately daelt with, however, IMHO: “I didn’t know enough about it”.”

    No doubt, many of those who voted No did so because they felt they didn’t know enough about it. However, how many people who voted Yes did so despite the feeling that they didn’t know enough about it?

  • Oilifear

    “So what you are saying is that you think the No vote in the first referendum was a good thing?”

    I’m satisfied with the result on the Commissioner. I think more could be done on the Constitutional side to pin the government in on the what they could do post-ratification (see my current discussion with George) but the safe guards received now are a good thing.

    I worried about the diplomatic damage (the safeguards could have been put in place on the Bunreacht side the first time around IMHO), but maybe I’m over-estimating it. The one-state-one-commissioner result is good though.

    Indeed, it is a vindication of democracy if it comes around that we said ‘No’, pushed to government for more, and got it. That’s my opinion.

  • Dave

    Jimmy, we can be cultural Europeans, but that is not the basis of the current process: it is that we are to become European nationals in a stealth process that is being sold to the punters as an alliance of states rather than a merger of them. The right to self-determination of a nation is meaningless if the nation to whom it applies does not exercise it. Over 70% of all laws in Ireland are devised by the EU. Use it or lose it. The EU promotes the propaganda that there is no longer any national interest, only a ‘multinational interest’ and that is why other Europhiles who abide by the Treaty of Rome believe that the will of “our European masters partners” rightfully takes precedence over the will of the citizens of the respective member states. These Europhiles believe that there is no separate right to self-determination for each nation, but one right to self-determination as European. Under the Lisbon Treaty, the EU is no longer held to be an alliance of states but rather a merger of the citizens of them and the balance of power is distributed on a pro rata basis – hence Ireland’s vote falls to 0.8% under the treaty (which is pro rata with its share of the merged ‘European’ citizens). Folks in Ireland are encouraged to engage in this process by propaganda which informs them that they owe their prosperity to the EU. Yet EU grants never accounted for more than a fraction of GDP and *0% of them went to the farmers. The effect of those grants was to retard the food industry by making its subvention dependent and to force up the price of food for consumers in the EU (who pay the taxes that sustains the EU’s idiotic policies). In addition, the monetary policies of the EU’s ECB have destroyed the economy, and its mountain of regulation imposes a burden of billions on Irish industry – not to mention that it has taken over 100 billion of fishing stock out of Irish territorial waters and decimated the Irish fishing industry in the process (and the value of that stock alone is a multiple of the EU’s grants to Ireland over 35 years). The American model created 5 times the amount of jobs over the same period as the backward EU model. Staying within the EU limits the Irish economy to a mean average of EU mediocrity. If Irish people trade their sovereignty for 30 pieces of silver when they could earn many times more as a sovereign nation, then fuck ‘em – I’ll revert to Israeli citizenship but the Irish will have made utter fools out of themselves by giving away their sovereignty and independence within 100 years of their forefathers dying to secure them for the nation (and all done at the behest of quisling Europhiles). 😉

  • Dave

    Typo: “Yet EU grants never accounted for more than a fraction of GDP and [b]80%[/b] of them went to the farmers.”

  • I voted “No” in Lisbon 1.
    At a debate in Letterkenny between pat The Cope Gallagher and Padraig mac Lochlainn I asked “The Cope” if it was a “No” vote when would the 2nd referendum be?
    He gave out a nervous laugh.
    I know wpople who votd “yes” here in Donegal who told me today that ,becuase the government wasnt respecting the first vote they too would be voting “No”.
    What then Lisbon 3?

  • Dave

    No, you won’t get Lisbon 3 if Lisbon 2 is rejected. In fact, you may not even get Lisbon 2 if the people call the government’s bluff on its mock bravado. Contrary to the media reports, the Irish government hasn’t committed itself to holding a second referendum. There are plenty of conditions attached, and the government could use any one of them as an ‘out’ by claiming that they haven’t been met to its satisfaction. The only reason they haven’t given an unequivocal guarantee to the EU that they will hold a second referendum is precisely because Mr Cowen has sweet feck all intention of holding one if he doesn’t believe that he can successfully bully his own people into substituting the will of the EU mandarins for their own will. If he calls it and it fails, he will be out of office permanently, and he and his tribe of self-serving FF hacks know that. They will only risk it if they think their mock bravado and scare tactics will work.

    The problem the government now have is that their bi-partisan policy with Fine Gael which ensures that no democratic debate on the merits of EU membership ever occurs in the Irish parliament – a policy that is supported by a Europhiliac media – will not prevent such a debate from occurring this time because the government have very foolishly extended the debate beyond the treaty to claim that Ireland’s membership of the EU – particularly its membership of the Eurozone – was a considerable advantage to Ireland, when the objective evidence all supports the opposite conclusion. They have now opened a wider debate, and they are going to lose that wider debate, and lose it badly.

  • Thanks Dave- very comprehensive.
    I voted “No” despite not liking many of the folks campaigning on the “No” side and having many friends on the “Yes” side.
    However that is the nature of democratic decison making in referenda.
    Now I am ready to campaign for a “No” vote.
    People I have spoken to about this across the ROI are quite angry that the first decision has been ignored.