Lisbon Essay (31): Checks, balances and a stronger social dimension

And in the last of our Lisbon essays, Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore rather trenchantly asserts that Lisbon is not about transfering power from Dublin to Brussels. It is he believes, in contrast to Jimmy Kelly in LE26, enhances a social Europe by setting the Charter up as a watchdog on all EU institutions when it comes to the framing and passing of law. And in contrast with Joe Higgins’ concerns in LE4 he believes it would provide a bulwark …

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Lisbon Essay (30): The least impact upon the Irish Constitution of any Treaty ever voted on…

Ciarán Toland is a barrister (so we’ve given him a bit more space to make his case). In this, essay he lays out why he thinks the Lisbon Treaty has taken on a significance in Irish law that barely reflects insignificance in real terms. It lies primarily in the proposal to give the EU (previously three pillar multiple personality) and single legal personality of its own. Much else, he concludes is moving the furniture around: “…the Lisbon Treaty has the …

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Lisbon Essay (29): It is Ireland’s credibility that’s at stake…

John O’Farrell picks up on Heaney’s focus on the word ‘credit’ (nó creid as Gaeilge), and reckons that the poet has put his finger on what’s at stake for Ireland in the referendum when he argued that a No vote will mean that it will be “up to our EU neighbours – not us – to decide how we will be treated in the future.” It’s a theme taken up previously in LE17 and LE13. O’Farrell argues that even though …

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Lisbon Essay (28): How on earth do we switch this (EU) thing off?

Declan Ganley of Libertas notes that if you vote yes tomorrow, then there may be no more opportunities for the plain people of Ireland to turn this process around. This, he argues, is not the second time this treaty has been voted on but the fifth. That the only changes that have been made to it in all of that time (he makes the score 3-2 to the No side by the way) are purely cosmetic demonstrates just how far …

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Lisbon Essay (27): If it’s No, Europe will simply find a way to move on without us…

Dan O’Brien, senior Europe editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit in London, posts from Berlin where he is covering the aftermath of the Germany election. He takes a sounding of insider opinion on Ireland and Lisbon, in several of Europe’s major capitals. The general assumption is that Irish voters will, as they did with Nice, change their minds in tomorrow’s poll. Most negative opinion is constellated around Paris and Berlin. In brief, that negativity centres around a disbelief that a …

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Lisbon Essay (26): A ‘No’ vote would show solidarity with the Charter and a social Europe

Jimmy Kelly of the Unite Union is one of the most respected figures of the No platform. His position is relatively straightforward. In Ireland workers protections lag hugely behind that of much of Europe. In particular he argues that the Charter for Fundamental Rights is being sold as a fait accomplai, when in fact there is no obligation for national governments to comply with its imperatives: “In effect, the Government is asking us to support the ‘form’ of fundamental rights …

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Lisbon Essay (25): As Iceland discovered the EU is the firebrigade…

Jason O’Mahoney lays out a scenario he believes the No side is studiously avoiding: what happens to Ireland’s national interest within Europe if there is a No vote and Lisbon is abandoned for a more centralised, bi or tri-lateral decision making processes in its stead. The Treaty itself is dry and technical because it is dry and technical, not because anyone is trying pull a fast one. And he believes that counter to Nigel Farage’s assertions in LE10 the “alternative …

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Aiste Liospóin (24): Níl, mar tá neamhspleachas mar oidhreacht duinne…

Vótáil Concubhar i gcoinne an Chonartha an uair dheireanach, agus ní bheith sé ag athrú a vóta an uair seo.. Tá dhá cheist difriúil ann dar leis: fearg leis an Rialtas, agus na rudaí a mbaineann go díreach leis an Chonradh féin. Níl an cheist faoi rogha idir an fhoireann seo nó an ceann eile; ach is rogha polaitiúil (agus, níos tábhachtaí, bunreachtúil) é. Faoi dheireadh, tarraingíonn an dara reifreann seo ar Chonradh Liospn, tar ?is breith chomh cinnte an …

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Lisbon Essay (23): Why Ireland can’t afford the Lisbon Treaty…

Niamh Uí Bhriain of Cóir sites her anti Lisbon argument in the material crisis of the Tiger economy. Nevertheless she notes that “the Lisbon Treaty is not about providing jobs or encouraging enterprise – it’s a treaty designed to centralise political power in the European Union”. She denies there are any short term economic consequences to signing up to the EU, but that in the longer term it leaves Ireland strategically weaker inside the EU… The attraction for foreign firms …

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Lisbon Essay (22): Vote Yes to this unloved bastard son of the European Convention…

Another European view and another from the Yes perspective comes from Daniel Cohn-Bendit, renegade from 1968 and currently co-president of the European Greens–European Free Alliance group in the European Parliament… No one loves it, he says. Who could? It long, legalistic, and complicated. An ad man’s nightmare. But it is the shaken down product of 8 years of filtering and dispute between all the countries of Europe. It’s not as democratic as he would like, nor as democratic as that …

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Lisbon Essay (21): Europeans cannot opt out of globalisation and its problems…

Richard Gowan notes that with the changing of the guard at the US Whitehouse President Obama is not likely to constrain himself to old alliances to deal with the problems of a much larger and more complex (not to mention more dangerous) world than most of us knew growing up… Richard notes that already huge amounts of time are being chewed up in 27 sets of bilaterals on different sets of policy initiatives … And he argues that since the …

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Lisbon Essay (20): After eight years of intense political negotiation it is time to move on…

Margot Wallström the current Vice-President of the European Commission lays out her case for Lisbon. In particular she notes the high level of distrust lingering in some circles with regard to the changes agreed (ie Ireland’s right to a commissioner, and the legal guarantees), but argues that these are political decisions the unbinding of which would have severe political consequences for whomsoever tried to do it. She also argues that whilst the dangers of a race to the bottom are …

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Lisbon Essay (19): A No vote will stop the drift to ‘undemocracy’…

Jason Walsh argues that when you strip away the contralto hyperbole of some of the more extreme claims of No campaigners like Coir, there is more than a grain of truth to their case that Irish sovereignty is under attack, primarily because multilateral institutions do not take national sovereignty seriously any more. The default assumption is that primary field of play is now on the multilateral plane… Worse than that, he argues, that all manner of powers (fiscal control has …

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Lisbon Essay (18): Giving the Celtic Tiger back its growl

Today Martin Schultz, leader of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament argues that a yes to Lisbon is essential to reviving Ireland’s fortunes (a view previously supported by LE11 but opposed in LE5 (and in this follow up from Stephen Kinsella). The question, he argues, is not apocalyptical. It about making Europe more transparent and democratically accountable by strengthening parliamentary rights at the national level. The benefits of the Union to smaller countries like Ireland, …

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Lisbon (17): Without the treaty Ireland cedes its interests to bigger fish…

Senator Deirdre de Burca argues that for all the legitimate misgivings surrounding the beefing of a European foreign policy, not least round those concerns in LE4 and LE16, the mere act of the EU coming together in a single multilateral body to tackle issues like climate change, international terrorism or with wild hiccuping in global markets. Collective action is not a choice, it is a necessity. Without that capacity Ireland can have little hope that its own interests that will …

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LIsbon Essay (16): Building of a militaristic trojan horse…

Today Andy Storey of UCD takes a contrary view of Ireland’s neutrality status post Lisbon to that expressed in LE13, and argues that whatever other countries mean by ‘neutrality’ in Ireland for generations now it has meant, as outlined in Lisbon’s ‘legal guarantees’ “non-membership of a military defence alliance”. He also questions whether it really is in Ireland’s interest to contribute to “a more assertive union [EU military] role … will contribute to the vitality of a renewed [NATO].” And, …

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Aiste Liospóin (15): Ag líonadh na bearnaí daonlathais…

Creideann Aonghus Ó hAlmhain go mbeidh torthaí fónta ar Chonradh Liospóin, torthaí a chuireann le gné daonláthach an Aontais agus, anuas ar sin, cuireann siad lena éifeacht. Maíonn sé nach mbeidh ról nua an Uachtaráin ar an gComhairle Eorpach nios mó ná ról chathaoirligh nó ról mholtóra. Dar leis go dtugann staitistic amháin léargas ar an ghné sin – agus is mór idir é agus na postaeiri atá crochta ar chuaillí Bhaile Átha Cliath. Is é sin go mbeidh suíochán …

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Lisbon Essays (14): Women of Ireland, what will it be?

Gerard O’Neill speculates on whether or not women will decide the Lisbon vote. They were the largest single group (numerically) to swing the last vote to a No. He observes that neither side have particularly targeted the female voter. This is largely correct, if the evidence my camera-phone in Dublin last week is anything to go by, (although Coir’s new Heart poster campaign seems almost entirely directed at women). Left to their own devices, Gerard reckons women may just swing …

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LIsbon Essay (13): Ireland cannot commit to anything beyond “the Chinese veto”…

Ben Tonra argues that the concerns around sovereignty and military interventionism (LE4) betray a timidity in Ireland’s sense of its own sovereign power, rather than an assertion of it. He argues that Ireland rather than retiring into the corner, should use the opportunity being opened by Lisbon and press forward and into spaces where its troops can proactively do some good, rather than “howling, free and unfettered, from the shores of the Atlantic”. Here’s a question – why would anyone …

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Lisbon Essay (12): Three decades of building Irish independence inside the EU…

Today Conall is the first of our Yes essayists to tackle the question of what has happened to Irish sovereignty through its thirty six year membership of what began as the European Economic Community, then became the European Community, and is now known as the European Union. He notes that in 1973, Ireland went in in lock-step with – and on terms largely negotiated by – the UK, but that in the time that has elapsed since the Republic has …

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