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).

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