Lisbon Myths

Spreading misinformation was a defining feature of the No campaign during the Lisbon I referenda. Unfortunately many of those myths seem to be deep seated, and they are beginning to appear again. British Eurosceptic Jim McConalogue produced a list of ‘100 Reasons to Vote ‘No’ to the Lisbon treaty’, unfortunately a large portion of those reasons were not grounded in reality.

1. Lisbon undermines Ireland’s corporation tax regime


150,000 Irish jobs, at least, are under threat through direct employment in multinational companies. Since Lisbon will interfere in taxation and the low corporate tax rate, those multinationals will simply leave for lands with lower corporate tax rates.

Ignoring for one moment, the inherent contradiction that Lisbon would result in both Europe increasing Ireland’s corporation tax rate while allowing competitors within the EU to lower their’s to below ours, the Lisbon Treaty does not harmonise or otherwise change the level of corporation tax levied by member states. The real threat to corporation tax comes from the proposals for a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) and not The Lisbon Treaty. The CCCTB has been strongly resisted by our politicians while the Lisbon Treaty promoted. Tax experts agree that The Lisbon Treaty does not threaten Irish corporation tax levels and some argue that it makes the implementation of the CCCTB even more difficult. E.g.

In addition, he noted that the Lisbon Treaty would make it more difficult for a group of countries to take forward any CCCTB proposal under the enhanced cooperation procedure since the Treaty would increase from eight to nine the minimum number of countries required to make such a move.

Chris Sanger, Head of Tax Policy with Ernst and Young, 19th February 2009

Neutrality, abortion, immigration, sovereignty covered below the fold..2. Lisbon will undermine Ireland’s neutrality

The increased militarisation of Europe is of great concern to many people who would prefer to see Ireland retain neutrality. In the referendums on Nice, Ireland was assured that a European Army would never happen, but now the basis for a common defence policy and EU battlegroups are in place. Lisbon looks toward a ‘progressive framing of a common Union defence policy’.


The common security and defence policy shall include the progressive framing of a common Union defence policy. This will lead to a common defence, when the European Council, acting unanimously, so decides. It shall in that case recommend to the Member States the adoption of such a decision in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.

per Bunreacht na hÉireann

The State shall not adopt a decision taken by the European Council to establish a common defence pursuant to Article 1.2 of the Treaty referred to in subsection 7° of this section where that common defence would include the State.

In order for Ireland to join any EU common defence program our leaders would have to give their consent in the first instance, and the Irish people via an additional referendum in the second for any such program to be legal under Irish law.

Is Ireland’s tradition of military neutrality protected?

Yes. One of the legal guarantees secured by Ireland confirms that the Lisbon Treaty does not affect or prejudice Ireland’s traditional policy of military neutrality. This legal guarantee confirms that there will be no conscription and no European army. It also makes clear that nothing in the Lisbon Treaty will take away from Ireland’s entitlement to determine the nature or volume of our defence expenditure.

3. Lisbon will undermine Ireland’s position on abortion

Pro-life laws will be overruled if Lisbon is passed, as it will only take one court case (such as the D case, funded by the Irish Family Planning Association) to come before the European Court of Justice. The ECJ will overrule on this. The Irish Government will have its hands tied since there would be absolutely nothing it could do to reverse the European decision, or indeed reverse Lisbon.

The Lisbon Treaty says

PROTOCOL (No. 35) ON ARTICLE 40.3.3 OF THE CONSTITUTION OF IRELAND (1992) THE HIGH CONTRACTING PARTIES, HAVE AGREED upon the following provision, which shall be annexed to the Treaty on European Union, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community:

Nothing in the Treaties, or in the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community, or in the Treaties or Acts modifying or supplementing those Treaties, shall affect the application in Ireland of Article 40.3.3. of the Constitution of Ireland.

Article 40.3.3 protects the right to life of the unborn child.

4. Lisbon will undermine Ireland’s ability to set her own immigration policies

Myth –

Lisbon hands full control over immigration and asylum policy to the EU, under Article 79, for workers inside and outside the EU – from England to India

In reality…

This area is usually called Justice and Home Affairs at present. It includes issues such as asylum, immigration, border controls, judicial co-operation in criminal matters and police co-operation. The decision-making process in these areas is complex. Ireland and the UK are not obliged to be bound by decisions in this area but each may decide to be involved in particular issues – they may opt in or opt out of particular decisions.

5. Lisbon destroys Irish soveriegnty

Lisbon introduces a mechanism by which member states can withdraw from the EU, or modify the terms and conditions of her membership (Article 49 TFEU).

  • steve

    Heres a few more Myths for you, but of course Euire or N Irish Region actually NEEDS the EUSSR as you know full well youve got to get your subsidy from somewhere, regardless if its being part of a Dictatorship, therefore pacify yourself that its all sweetness and light.

    Go on and grasp your ‘Destiny’ with both hands, a ‘United’ Puppet Region of the EU ruled from Brussels!.

    What a Pathetic little Region.

    Myth of the Week

    The European Union is democratically controlled

    Part I – The Council of Ministers

    Part II – The European Parliament

  • Mack

    Actually Steve, Ireland is a net contributor to the EU at this stage (and in Euro amounts almost certainly always was – farm subsidises for fish) and it’s more than a little idiotic to compare a Union founded on Free Trade to a failed communist state.

  • barnshee

    PER HEAD of the population the republic remains the highest recipient of EU funds— followed by Greece.

    Fish?? FISH?? how many fish did the Irish catch before EC membership? What was the size of the fishing fleet before and after?

    Where were these elusive fish to be found.

  • Mack

    Barnshee –

    Ireland has the largest territorial waters of any EU state. When the value of fish extracted by foreign vessels, tax free, from our waters is calculated it puts Ireland as the second highest (NOT per capita) contributor to the EU.

  • anony mouse

    “The increased militarisation of Europe is of great concern to many people who would prefer to see Ireland retain neutrality. In the referendums on Nice, Ireland was assured that a European Army would never happen, but now the basis for a common defence policy and EU battlegroups are in place. Lisbon looks toward a ‘progressive framing of a common Union defence policy’.”

    It is indeed.
    I was recently surprised to find that we had troops in Afghanistan.
    That could hardly be called a “peace-keeping operation”, could it?

  • Mack

    anony mouse

    I was recently surprised to find that we had troops in Afghanistan.

    They’re there with the UN, not related to the EU.

    The Constituitional amendments related to Lisbon ensure Ireland won’t take any part in any common European defence initiatives.
    If anything threatens Ireland’s neutrality, it’s Irelands relationship with the US and involvement in UN missions – not Europe. The people who were saying Europe threatens Ireland’s neutrality were wrong about Nice and they’re wrong about Lisbon. Most of the same people were wrong about Europe in every debate since 1973, what’s changed?

  • Ireland’s independent taxation policy is threatened especially by Article 269 of the TFEU as amended by Lisbon: “The Union shall provide itself with the means necessary to attain its objectives and carry through its policies. The Council, acting in accordance with a special legislative procedure, shall unanimously and after consulting the European Parliament adopt a decision laying down the provisions relating to the system of own resources of the Union. In this context it may establish new categories of own resources or abolish an existing category.”

    Sounds like Euro-taxes to me.

  • Mack

    It sounds like a mechanism for managing EU specific contributions and distributions not a mechanism for standardising the tax rates of member states to me…