Lisbon Essay (9): They have not secured a single change to the text of the Lisbon Treaty

Eoin O’Broin lays out the core of Sinn Fein’s objections to the Lisbon Treaty. In line with the party’s position just after last year’s vote, their objection is primarily that nothing of any substance has changed in the meantime. The guarantees and the solemn declaration in favour of workers rights do not change in slightest the text of the document. He also points out that the self amending clause in the treaty undermines the Crotty (et al) judgements and means that future changes will be put beyond the reach of national referenda and, in effect, the Irish constitution. On June 12th 2008 900,000 people rejected the Lisbon Treaty. They did so because they believed that it was a bad Treaty and because they wanted for a better deal for Ireland and Europe.

The result presented the Irish government with a strong mandate to negotiate a better Treaty.

At the time Sinn Féin presented Brian Cowen with very detailed proposals as to how we felt the concerns of the electorate could be met. What did the government do? Just like their mismanagement of the economy, they prevaricated, sat on their hands and did nothing.

As a result they have not secured a single change to the text of the Lisbon Treaty. On October 2nd we will be voting on exactly the same treaty as we did last year. If it wasn’t good enough for the electorate then why on earth should it be good enough for us now?

At the European Council meeting in June of this year, the government agreed so-called legally binding guarantees on neutrality, taxation and ethical issues. They also agreed a “solemn declaration” on workers’ rights and reiterated their promise for every member state to retain a Commissioner.

On this basis the Yes side argue, the 53% of the electorate who rejected the Lisbon Treaty should reconsider their position. Unfortunately nothing in the so-called guarantees nor in the Solemn Declaration changes either text of the Treaty or the impact that it will have on Ireland or the EU.

We will still lose our Commissioner, only now in 2014 instead of 2009. Our neutrality (see Joe Higgins’ as yet unanswered concerns about sovereignty in LE4) will still be undermined. Workers rights and public services will still come under attack. And tax harmonisation will still be made easier.

The Government’s claims of having addressed the concerns of the electorate are entirely false.

Fianna Fail and their supporters in Labour and Fine Gael are also using the economic crisis to scare people into supporting the treaty. We are told that if we vote no we will lose investment, jobs, and support from our EU counterparts.

The truth is very different. The cause of this recession is the failed economic policies of this government and their counterparts across Europe. Many of these failed right wing politicians were responsible for negotiating the Treaty and many of their failed right wing policies are contained in the Treaty.

The route to economic recovery rests not in Lisbon, but in a change of direction at home and within the EU.

In 2008 Sinn Féin outlined the key reasons why people should oppose Lisbon. They remain the same. The Lisbon treaty:

* Reduces Ireland’s power in the EU – we will loose our permanent commissioner and our voting strength on the Council will be cut by half while the bigger states double their strength.

* Erodes our neutrality, drawing us further into a NATO compatible common defence and obliging us to increase military spending.

* Further undermines the viability of rural Ireland and family farming through the strengthened powers for the EU Trade Commissioner and effectively ending the Irish governments veto on mixed international trade deals.

Importantly Article 48 removes our automatic right to a referendum on future changes to existing treaties (see this blog post for some related thinking on the same point).

So what happens if we vote No again?

Ireland will remain a full and equal member of the EU. We cannot be expelled or marginalised. The EU will carry on as before. Inward investment will not be affected – indeed 2008 saw a 14% increase in foreign direct investment on the previous despite the scaremongering claims of the yes side.

And crucially a space will open for a debate on the future of the EU.

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  • tok

    As far as the economy of Ireland is concerned accepting assurances from psf have no credibility whatsoever they wanted to increase corporate taxation that would’ve created a massive capital outflow and lost thousands of jobs. Imagine if Ireland had not joined the EU we would still be in the doldrums of the 50s and 60s.

    This neutrality scare tactic has no basis whatsoever the anti EU left have used this argument about conscription since 92 has no bearing whatsoever.

    [text removed – mods]

  • bk

    if it means we’re all going to be ruled by a load of Germans – then: good! As long it is not Sinn Fein.

    The moral superiorty that exists in this country regarding neutrality is driven by nothing beyond cowardice and selfishness.

    unlogisch
    illogical {adj}
    irrational {adj}
    illogically {adv}
    Irish {adj} [coll.: illogical] [potentially offensive]

  • “Ireland will remain a full and equal member of the EU. We cannot be expelled or marginalised.”

    There’s a point that can’t be made enough times, even by a SFer.

  • Big Maggie

    “On October 2nd we will be voting on exactly the same treaty as we did last year. If it wasn’t good enough for the electorate then why on earth should it be good enough for us now?”

    Well said and clearly stated, Eoin O’Broin. That makes a welcome change from the woolly talk from the Yes-vote obscurantists.

  • Importantly Article 48 removes our automatic right to a referendum on future changes to existing treaties…

    Repeating horseshit from the last campaign doesn’t make it true.

    Article 48(4):
    “A conference of representatives of the governments of the Member States shall be convened by the President of the Council for the purpose of determining by common accord the amendments to be made to the Treaties.

    The amendments shall enter into force after being ratified by all the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.

    Anyone fancy telling me what it would mean for the Irish to ratify “in accordance with their constitutional requirements?”

  • Dave

    Ciaran, it isn’t that hard to grasp. If the Irish people approve this treaty, then they will have approved a treaty that allows the State to consent to further derogate areas of their sovereignty under the terms specified within the treaty.

    The State – not the people – would then decide if any further derogation should be approved. By agreeing to this treaty, they pre-approve all further derogations that are undertaken in the manner as specified in the treaty. Therefore, the Crotty judgement would not apply if such derogation occured (i.e. there would be no ‘new’ derogation that would require the people’s consent).

    Get it?

    That is how any further derogations would be ratified “in accordance with their constitutional requirements.”

  • Dave

    Just to make a point regarding the Grotty judgement (Crotty v. An Taoiseach). The misinformation being proffered by europhiles is that the Grotty judgement declares that every derogation of sovereignty requires the approval of Irish people. They proffer this misinformation as the basis for the false claim that the self-amending provision of the Lisbon Treaty does not allow for further derogations of Irish sovereignty without requiring a referendum from the Irish people wherein they can choose to agree or disagree to the derogation. This is simply a brazen lie.

    The Crotty judgement, in fact, does not require the State to seek the approval of the Irish people for all additional derogations of their sovereignty within a treaty: it only requires the State to seek their approval if there is a significant change to the treaty (or if a new treaty derogates sovereignty). The Supreme Court, for example, did not allow Raymond Crotty’s appeal that the change from unanimity to a qualified majority was an unauthorised surrender of sovereignty; the creation of a court of first attached to the European Court was an unauthorised surrender of sovereignty of the judicial power, or that the new objectives that were added to the Treaty of Rome after ratification were an unauthorised surrender of sovereignty, etc.

    By my reckoning, they are “significant” alterations to the treaty, but not by the reckoning of the Supreme Court. The court did not dispute that sovereignty was further derogated by those alterations, rather that the additional derogations did not require the approval of the people because they had already approved them within the scope of a “dynamic” multilateral treaty (i.e. that they had, or should have had, a reasonable expectation of altering).

    The Supreme Court was of the opinion that the State is authorised to undertake an act “necessitated by the obligations of membership of the Communities” and that such acts are by the nature of the multilateral agreement and the supranational organisation that the people consented that the State could be party to are subject to alteration:

    “It is the opinion of the Court that the first sentence in Article 29, s. 4, sub-s. 3 of the Constitution must be construed as an authorisation given to the State not only to join the Communities as they stood in 1973, but also to join in amendments of the Treaties so long as such amendments do not alter the essential scope or objectives of the Communities. To hold that the first sentence of Article 29, s. 4, sub-s. 3 does not authorise any form of amendment to the Treaties after 1973 without a further amendment of the Constitution would be too narrow a construction; to construe it as an open-ended authority to agree, without further amendment of the Constitution, to any amendment of the Treaties would be too broad.” – Crotty v. An Taoiseach

    Given that Lisbon is an all-encompassing treaty that establishes a new federal state with a constitution that takes supremacy over the Irish constitution, the people should have a reasonable expectation that the treaty can and will be amended to consolidate the new state wherein they have consented that their state should become a subordinated region.

    In approving a treaty with a self-amending clause, they pre-approve all further derogations of their sovereignty that may come about by that means, just as long as they are consistent with the objectives of the treaty (and being an all-encompassing treaty, there is little that would be held to be inconsistent).

  • Dave

    Typo(s): “…[i]that[/i] the creation of a court of first [i]instance[/i] attached to the European Court was an unauthorised surrender of sovereignty [i]to[/i] the judicial power…”

  • Eoin Ó Broin

    Ciarán, your criticism is unfair. Let me explain why.

    The section of Article 48 you quote is from the Ordinary Revision Procedure, which is the current procedure for altering the Treaties.

    The significant change which concerns me is from 48(6) onwards or what is termed the ‘simplified revision procedure.’

    This new procedure allows the Council, acting unanimously, to make changes to the Treaties one by one.

    Such changes would still have to be ‘ratified by all the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements’ but this doesn’t mean that we will get a referendum.

    The most common basis for a referendum on EU Treaties is (a) if the Treaty gives the EU a new competence or (b) if the Treaty deals with defence matters.

    Most of what is in the Lisbon Treaty does not necessitate a referendum. But because there are some elements that do (i.e. the common defence elements) then we get to have a referendum on the whole package.

    In my view this is a good thing, as even decisions that do not strictly necessitate a referendum should be debated by the public and decided by referenda.

    Post Lisbon as a consequence of Article 48 the Council will have the power to make significant changes to the procedures and rules of the EU, such moving Council decisions in certain areas from unanimity to QMV, or altering the voting strengths at Council, and in such areas no referendum would be constitutionally required.

    Thus the people will loose the right to have a say in what are fundamental changes to the way in which the EU operates.

  • “We will still lose our Commissioner, only now in 2014 instead of 2009”. The European Council Decision on all countries keeping their Commissioner is legally binding. However, if there is a No vote the Council will already have to reduce the size of the Commission from November 2009 under the Nice Treaty. Only if the Lisbon Treaty enters into force will Ireland keep its Commissioner permanently.

    The “so-called legally binding guarantees” are so-called because they that is what they are. Legally binding guarantees.

  • and on the Article 48 stuff:

    Under the Lisbon Treaty the majority of amendments to the treaties would continue to be double-locked by the existing requirement of unanimous agreement of the Member States plus ratification or approval in accordance with national constitutional requirements.

    A smaller number, including shifts from unanimity to qualified majority voting, would be double locked with a requirement of the unanimous agreement of Member States plus the absence of a veto on any such shift by any single parliament in the EU, including the Oireachtas. It would also require the agreement of the European Parliament. Should the Irish Government in this second case choose to impose the additional “lock” of a referendum there is nothing in the Treaty of Lisbon which would stop it from doing so. Under the Irish Lisbon Treaty Referendum Bill, any such move from unanimity to QMV would also require explicit Oireachtas agreement.

  • Eoin Ó Broin

    Joe,

    The agreement on the Commissioner is not legally binding. It was made at the Council meeting in December 2008 and only covers the period from 2009 to 2014.

    Unlike the so called guarantees on neutrality, taxation and ethical issues it will not be lodged at the UN post ratification nor will it be added to any future accession Treaty as a protocol.

    If Lisbon is ratified the proposal to reduce the size of the Commission remains and can and in my firm view will be implemented in 2014.

    If Lisbon is not ratified the Nice Treaty requirement for the Commission to reduce in size will kick in. Of course any change can only be made with the unanimous agreement of the Council.

    Two possible solutions could be used here. The first would be for the Council to agree to park the issue until a new Treaty has been negotiated (which is my preference). The other would be to reduce the Commission to 26 members and give the 27th member the High Representative for Foreign Affairs post (which has a status akin to a Commissioner) until such time as a new Treaty is agreed (which was proposed by the Taoiseach of Sweden in the Irish Times last week).

    On Article 48 the issue is whether or not you think it is appropriate to allow the Council acting by unanimity to change EU Treaty law without popular consent via a referendum. The issue of Oireachtas endorsement is a moot point as a government will have a majority in the House. In the South the right to amend the Constitution is vested soley with the people. My own view is that the same practice should always apply to changes to EU Treaty law, which is in effect the Constitutional law of the EU.

  • Dave

    Are they binding? Sure, but not on the EU and they’re not enforceable. Why? Because they take the form of an international agreement that is lodged with the UN. The UN does not enforce EU law. EU law is not international law. The fact that it is lodged with the UN (when all EU treaties are lodged with the Italian government) shows that while it might be binding it not binding on the EU. It is, in fact, an agreement between the heads of state of 27 countries.

    Eoin, as Devil’s Advocate, as Justice C.J. Finlay of the Supreme Court declared in Crotty v. An Taoiseach (not the majority verdict), all European treaties are intrinsically ‘self-amending’ treaties:

    “It was contended on behalf of the plaintiff that any amendment of the Treaties establishing the Communities made after the 1st January, 1973, when Ireland joined those Communities would require a further amendment of the Constitution. It was contended on behalf of the defendants that the authorisation contained in the first sentence of Article 29, s. 4, sub-s. 3 was to join Communities which were established by Treaties as dynamic and developing entities and that it should be interpreted as authorising the State to participate in and agree to amendments of the Treaties which are within the original scope and objectives of the Treaties. It is the opinion of the Court that the first sentence in Article 29, s. 4, sub-s. 3 of the Constitution must be construed as an authorisation given to the State not only to join the Communities as they stood in 1973, but also to join in amendments of the Treaties so long as such amendments do not alter the essential scope or objectives of the Communities. To hold that the first sentence of Article 29, s. 4, sub-s. 3 does not authorise any form of amendment to the Treaties after 1973 without a further amendment of the Constitution would be too narrow a construction; to construe it as an open-ended authority to agree, without further amendment of the Constitution, to any amendment of the Treaties would be too broad.”

    If all EU treaties are de facto self-amending, what is so worrying about a treaty that is self-amending de jure? After all, no additional area of sovereignty that is outside the scope of a treaty can be derogated by the State without a referendum (thanks to the Crotty judgement), so why worry?

  • Mack

    Dave –

    If areas outside of the original scope of the treaty are added later – what is the position? Does that create a conflict between any new EU laws in those areas and Irish law with EU law taking primacy?

    What would happen if a referendum was held and returned the wrong result? With a conflict between the amended treaty and the Constituition (which itself passes primacy to the treaty) – in that instance would any EU laws have primacy or not? I.e. we might have to hold a referendum, but there can only be one valid result (short of renouncing our membership of the EU / unilaterally withdrawing from the agreement) – the one that facilitates the amendments to an international treaty we have agreed to and removes the conflict?

  • Neville Bagnall

    The agreement on the Commissioner is not legally binding. It was made at the Council meeting in December 2008 and only covers the period from 2009 to 2014.

    From the Treaty:

    4. The Commission appointed between the date of entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon and 31 October 2014, shall consist of one national of each Member State, including its President and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy who shall be one of its Vice-Presidents.

    From the declaration:

    provided the Treaty of Lisbon enters into force, a decision would be taken, in accordance with the necessary legal procedures, to the effect that the Commission shall continue to include one national of each Member State.

    The treaty says that each member shall have a commissioner until 2014. So the Council does not need to make a decision affecting the situation prior to 2014. So it seems to me the decision would apply to the situation after 2014. And I can’t find a statement limiting the duration of such a decision, so the state retains a veto on the size of the commission, not that we are alone in wanting one commissioner per state.

  • “So it seems to me the decision would apply to the situation after 2014. ”

    Basically what you’re saying is that the Council has already decided the outcome of the vote per 9d.5… right?

    As from 1 November 2014, the Commission shall consist of a number of members, including its President and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, corresponding to two thirds of the number of Member States, unless the European Council, acting unanimously, decides to alter this number.

  • Neville Bagnall

    What would happen if a referendum was held and returned the wrong result? With a conflict between the amended treaty and the Constituition


    Ordinary revision procedure

    The amendments shall enter into force after being ratified by all the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.

    Simplified revision procedures

    That decision shall not enter into force until it is approved by the Member States in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements.
    The decision referred to in the second subparagraph shall not increase the competences conferred on the Union in the Treaties.

    The Treaty amendments do not enter into force until ratified/approved by all member states according to their own constitutional requirements. A legal conflict cannot arise with something that hasn’t entered into force.

    Further, any amendment that changes competences or non-internal provisions requires a Convention(unless the Parliament agrees to waive it) and an IGC.

  • Neville Bagnall

    Mark,

    Yes, thats how I read it, the decision has been made in principle and unanimously, that from 2014 the commission will have one member per state. It only requires the ratification of Lisbon for the decision to be formally and legally made.

  • Neville Bagnall

    Sinn Fein argued for effectively a complete renegotiation of the EU Treaties in the wake of the last referendum, and a major shift in the direction of evolution of the EU.

    I would argue such a renegotiation would require a Convention, in the same way as the current family of proposals originated in a Convention. Anything else would be an increase in the democratic deficit.

    I’ve argued elsewhere that I wouldn’t expect the Convention, IGC and ratification process to conclude before 2016 at the earliest.

    Given the political landscape of Europe at the present time, I think the likelyhood is that euroalternative parties would be less pleased with the Treaties that would emerge from such a process. I suspect right wing eurosceptic parties would be most pleased, simply because the UK Conservatives are likely to have a bigger influence on the text.

    The simple fact remains that if the EU is to make a significant change in the direction Sinn Fein suggests it will require significant changes in the political landscape within most of the member states and the emergence and governmental dominance of clearly euroalternative parties.

    Expecting anything else is both unrealistic and undemocratic.

    Given all that, and the well rehearsed arguments that the declarations only reflect and reinforce the existing Lisbon text and the adopted political will of the Council, I’d argue a second referendum was at least sensible. At worst we will have wasted 18 months before we begin negotiations on a new treaty.

  • Dave

    Mack, that was answered in 54 of the majority verdict (42 to 62) of Supreme Court by Justice J. Walsh in Crotty v. An Taoiseach. If the State ratifies a treaty that is subsequently translated into domestic law but some part or all of the treaty is later found to be unconstitutional then the State “would still be bound by the Treaty”:

    “The object of this Treaty, so far as Ireland is concerned, is to bind this State in its relations with the other Member States of the European Communities. Adherence to the Treaty, or indeed the Treaty itself, is not in any sense an obligation arising from or necessitated by membership of the European Communities. I do not accept the submission made on behalf of the defendants that unless and until the terms of the Treaty are translated into domestic legislation the Court has no competence in the matter. In international law the State in entering into a treaty must act in good faith. That is why the provision in the Treaty itself for ratification in accordance with the constitutional requirements of this State is so important. If some part or all of the Treaty were subsequently translated into domestic legislation and found to be unconstitutional it would avail the State nothing in its obligations to its fellow members. It would still be bound by the Treaty. Therefore if the ratification of this Treaty under the Irish Constitution requires a referendum to amend the Constitution to give effect to it, the fact that the State did not hold a referendum would not prevent the State from being bound in international law by the Treaty. If a referendum were to be held or had been held and the Treaty were rejected then the State would not be in breach of its international obligations because it would not have ratified the Treaty. It is not for the other states to the Treaty to satisfy themselves that the Government of Ireland observed its own constitutional requirements. This is solely a matter for the Government of Ireland and if it fails to take the necessary steps, the State cannot afterwards be heard to plead that it is not bound by the Treaty.”

    If it is unconstitutional, then the Courts will likely void the applicable domestic law or the State will ask the people to amend the constitution to remove the provision that is held to be in conflict. Otherwise, that leaves the State in abrogation of the treaty.

    As things stand, the Irish constitution is the highest form of law in the land. Whatever it says, basically goes. However, it has been “fettered” by the EU treaties so these form part of the Irish constitution. Clearly, a constitution cannot be allowed to conflict with itself, so if the Irish people wanted to make an amendment that was contrary to a provision of a treaty that they have consented to be bound by then they would have to request that the State withdraws from or abrogates from the offending treaty (they could try asking the State to ask the EU to amend their offending treaty but guess what answer they’ll likely get?).

    If the Lisbon Treaty is ratified, then your constitution becomes subordinate to a federal state and its constitution. If any provision of your constitution is found by the ECJ (which replaces the Supreme Court as the highest court in the land) to be incompatible with the EU constitution, then the ECJ can declare that provision void. Judgements of the ECJ are binding on Member States (and citizens) under the EU law principles of Direct Effect and Supremacy. The ECJ enforces the obligations of the EU treaties – bugger all to do with the UN. Under Public International Law, derogation of sovereignty to international organisations is done by either a monist (French, Dutch) or a dualist (UK, Ireland) system but Direct Effect and Supremacy apply either way. There is nothing particular special about the Irish constitution that will ‘save’ it from the fate that it will have consented to bound by.

    Now, keep in mind that you have solicited legal advice from someone who is not qualified to offer it, the State is not authorised to approve any significant derogation of sovereignty that is outside of the scope of a treaty. The government does not own the people’s sovereignty and it cannot, therefore, give it away without seeking the consent of those who do own it. The people elect their government to serve the national interest, and not to derogate or abrogate it or to declare it void. In the words of Justice J. Hederman, “The State’s organs cannot contract…in any way to fetter powers bestowed unfettered by the Constitution. They are the guardians of these powers – not the disposers of them.”

    In the Crotty judgement, the Supreme Court declared in its majority verdict that the government of Garret FitzGerald (a notorious europhile) did not have the authority “to bind the State in its freedom of action in its foreign policy” by seeking to ratify the SEA via the Oireachtas:

  • Dave

    [b]Continued[/b]

    “The freedom to formulate foreign policy is just as much a mark of sovereignty as the freedom to form economic policy and the freedom to legislate. The latter two have now been curtailed by the consent of the people to the amendment of the Constitution which is contained in Article 29, s. 4, sub-s. 3 of the Constitution. If it is now desired to qualify, curtail or inhibit the existing sovereign power to formulate and to pursue such foreign policies as from time to time to the Government may seem proper, it is not within the power of the Government itself to do so.” – Justice J. Walsh, Supreme Court, Crotty v. An Taoiseach

    The appeal was allowed only on these grounds (Title III of the Single European Act). The Court did not dispute Crotty’s claim that sovereignty was derogated on the other grounds of the appeal but it held that these derogations were either insignificant or that the people would or should have had a reasonable expectation that the treaties would or could be so amended because these treaties were “dynamic and developing entities and that it should be interpreted as authorising the State to participate in and agree to amendments of the Treaties which are within the original scope and objectives of the Treaties.” (Justice C.J. Finlay)

    “The foreign policy organ of the State cannot, within the terms of the Constitution, agree to impose upon itself, the State or upon the people the contemplated restrictions upon freedom of action. To acquire the power to do so would, in my opinion, require a recourse to the people “whose right it is” in the words of Article 6 “…in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy, according to the requirements of the common good.” In the last analysis it is the people themselves who are the guardians of the Constitution. In my view, the assent of the people is a necessary prerequisite to the ratification of so much of the Single European Act as consists of title III thereof. On these grounds I would allow this appeal.” – Justice J. Walsh, Supreme Court, Crotty v. An Taoiseach

    The Court was of the opinion that additional derogations of sovereignty that were not explicitly consented to by the people at the time of ratification (or even postulated) where deemed to be implicitly consented to as those additional derogations could be held to be consistent with the aims of the treaty. Accordingly, they did not uphold Crotty’s appeal that the additional derogations of sovereignty were unauthorised (i.e. that they were not in accordance with the constitutional requirement).

    However, the Supreme Court declared that “The powers of external sovereignty on the part of the State do not depend on the affirmative grant of this in the Constitution. They are implicit in the provisions of Article 5 of the Constitution. The State would not be completely sovereign if it did not have in common with other members of the family of nations the right and power in the field of international relations equal to the right and power of other states. These powers of the State include the power to declare war or to participate in a war, to conclude peace, to make treaties, and maintain diplomatic relations with other states.”

    EU law is fluid and emergent (look at where the Doctrine of Direct Effect came from), so it is not a reasonable expectation to think that the ultimate powers and form of the EU can be fully predicted or proscribed within a treaty. It is reasonably expected that a treaty will be subject to amendment and, indeed, that it will do so according to a constitutionally binding obligation to promote “ever closer union” between its Member States. This implicit consent to further derogate sovereignty in the furtherance of “ever closer union” is made explicit in ratifying a treaty that contains a self-amending provision for this express purpose. There is very little that falls outside the scope of this treaty; and, therefore, every little that could be held to be inconsistent with it.

    Folks should only approve the creation of a federal state if they wish to live as a subjugated region of it. They should not approve thinking that this profound treaty changes nothing but is is simply an ‘efficieny’ exercise that can be undone if they so wish. Once you’re in, you’re never getting back out again. And in case you think that your government is neutral on the issue, think again. Both of your political parties operate a bi-partisan policy on EU issues that censors all democratic debate about the merits of EU membership and keeps the cost burdens and severe economic disadvantages of it from you. Worse, the main political parties screen all candidates to prevent anyone who is eurosceptic from being nominated to run for public office. That is why 160 out of 165 TDs are europhiles. Folks have the option of stopping their europhiliac government from further derogating their sovereignty. If they approve this self-amending treaty, they won’t.

  • Dave

    Whether or not Ireland has commissioner is a red herring, since the commissioner is duty bound to represent the EU’s interests, not the interests of the Member State that appoints him. And in Ireland’s case, try naming one commissioner who wasn’t a rapid europhile.