Thursday, 24 September 2009

Scaremongering anyone?

This article reads like a snippet from a zombie movie, it really is some of the worst kind of scaremongering that has ever been produced. The EU-sponsored 'yes' campaign in Ireland is bad but this is bordering on criminal. Of course it was found in the EU mouth piece that is the Financial Times.

What an Irish No would mean for Europe

By Andrew Duff, MEP

Published: September 24 2009 14:29 | Last updated: September 24 2009 14:29

On October 2 the people of Ireland will vote for a second time in a referendum to determine the fate of the Lisbon Treaty. Most voters will naturally focus on the consequences of a Yes or No for Ireland. Yet, while Brussels looks on nervously, we might do well to reflect on the repercussions of an Irish No for the European Union as a whole. Here are some of them.

First off, there would be the mother of all constitutional stalemates. The EU last managed to revise a treaty as long ago as 2000, in the form of the unloved Treaty of Nice. Since then we have had attempts at the draft constitution of 2003, the constitutional treaty of 2004 and the Lisbon treaty in 2007 – now, in 2009, adorned with legal guarantees for Ireland, plus the promise of an Irish member of the European Commission for eternity.

If Ireland were to say No, there would be absolutely no appetite to reopen the well-thumbed treaty dossier. The result of another round of constitutional talks would surely be worse than the last. The decisions enshrined in Lisbon which shift the balance of power between the institutions and among the states were difficult enough to arrive at in the first place: they would become even trickier.The financial and economic crisis has tested the arrangements for economic and monetary union and found them wanting. Any new intergovernmental conference to amend the treaties would be bound to open up the terms of the Maastricht treaty (1991) in addition to those of Nice. The discord would be magnificent to behold. So there will be no second renegotiation of Lisbon. A second Irish No would shunt Europe into a constitutional impasse.

EU politics would become shockingly complicated. Lisbon is the first project of the newly enlarged Union of 27 member states: its failure would tarnish the reputation of that enlargement. All future enlargement after Croatia would be forced off the agenda. Even Iceland could not be certain to join as its own sceptical public opinion is unlikely to be attracted by a Brussels in constitutional paralysis.

The Western Balkans if denied a route into the EU could succumb to criminal disorder and ethnic conflict. A Turkey whose EU bid had been rejected would be bound to make overtures to Russia, Iran and Syria, none of whose governments are well disposed towards the EU. Europe’s reputation in the Muslim world would slump again. Cyprus would remain the torn island it is, emitting insecurity. The hope of building a genuine common EU security and defence policy to come to the aid of a languishing Nato would be dashed. Without Lisbon, with fewer ties to bind them together, one can be sure that France would want to pursue its own interests in the Mediterranean, as Germany would with Russia, and Britain with the US.

In the wider world, the EU without Lisbon would carry the stigma of failure. Europe’s loss of global credibility would leave China and America largely to their own devices. Any remaining impetus to finish the WTO’s Doha Round would disappear. The Copenhagen climate change negotiations would have to make do without confident European leadership and, inevitably, without a generous EU contribution to finance the adaptation efforts of the less developed world.

At home, Lisbon’s defeat would shatter the EU’s hopes of improving its system of government. There could be no streamlining of procedures or rationalisation of instruments, no codification either of important case law of the European Court of Justice or of modern ways of getting the institutions to work well together. The EU’s values and principles would remain opaque and its objectives unclear. The Charter of Fundamental Rights would stay a mere code of conduct without being legally binding, and the EU would not be allowed to sign up to the historic European Convention of Human Rights.

The European Parliament, without Lisbon, would remain only half built, being cheated of its long-sought and badly needed extension of legislative and budgetary powers. MEPs would lose their extra grip on the election and scrutiny of the Commission, and would have to forgo their prospective greater say on foreign affairs and international treaties.

Other democratic improvements, too, simply could not happen: the Council of Ministers would continue to pass laws in secret; the Commission would not have increased powers to enforce compliance with EU law; there would be no right for citizens to petition for new legislation; the European Council of the heads of government would remain without the scope of judicial review and would lose its proposed stable presidency; the right of access to the Court of Justice would remain too narrow; and civil society, including the churches, would be deprived of being better informed and consulted. National parliaments would be left out in the cold, losing their Lisbon right to interrupt EU legislation.

Both the scope of the EU’s activities and its capacity to act effectively would be badly dished by the ultimate fall of the Lisbon treaty. The Union’s federal character would remain indistinct, the residual rights of member states ill defined, and the catalogue of competencies conferred on the Union suppressed. One could expect growing conflict between national courts and the Court of Justice. States would lose the right to negotiate secession from the Union. The European Parliament would not gain the right to initiate future treaty amendments. Flexible ways of revising the treaties would be lost, making it necessary always to resort to the ponderous (and clearly dysfunctional) constraint that everyone has to agree to everything, however trivial, before reform can happen.

In practical terms, the whole area of justice and interior affairs would remain in the hands of national governments, whose efforts so far to reach common positions on sensitive issues concerning asylum and immigration, or police and judicial cooperation, have proven weak and indecisive. New legal bases to allow the EU to develop common policies in intellectual property rights, space, sport, tourism, civil protection and public administration would be lost. Notable, too would be the loss of expanding EU competence to energy supply, as well as demand, and to positive climate change measures, rather than mere pollution control.

If Ireland scuppers Lisbon, there will at once be talk of forming core groups of federally-minded states (excluding Ireland) to press forward the European project. However desirable such differentiated integration may be, the Treaty of Nice does not lend itself to variable geometry, and core groups are actually prohibited in the area where they would matter most, namely foreign, security and defence policy. So any new attempt, post-Lisbon, to relaunch a federal Europe would take place haphazardly outside the framework of the EU.

The fate of the Treaty of Lisbon at the hands of the Irish matters very much. Once Ireland has spoken, we will know whether Europe is to be a united democracy or not.

Andrew Duff MEP is president of the Union of European Federalists

Bring out the guns and the bibles, we might as well commit mass suicide if the Lisbon Treaty does not come into force. In fact we will all die on the second if it is rejected. Bombs will rain from the sky, birds will self-destruct mid air, children will implode and Barrosso will explode.

It is death we all face if Lisbon is rejected. The curse of Jonah is amongst them again, Gordon is supporting the 'yes' side. Fail. As a parallel (not really I just thought I would stick it in here) James II dug up Cromwell's body, cut of his head and stuck it on a pole which later blew down. Could a similar venture be visualised for Heath's body - we could stick his head on the European Central Bank's little statue they have outside their office and it would be even grander if the Queen herself did the chopping, that I would pay to see.

On this note it must utterly suck to be David Cameron right now. What the article above rightly points out is that if the Tories manage to get a referendum and kill the treaty of that would mean a two-tier EU. For the simpler reason that most member states have invested so much political and financial capital in passing the damned thing there will be hell to pay if it is not ratified. Enter Britain, whether or not we have a referendum pressure is going to grow on Cameron to seriously realign our relationship with the EU.

This in turn presents Mr. Cameron with two options either he says "stop banging on about Europe" again and leaves it at that for the remainder of his tenure as PM. Upon which he will have really pissed of a lot of voters and a significant amount will move to UKIP and other anti-EU parties. He could also however suggest a true realignment - this of course, in my opinion, will not happen simply because Mr. Cameron is a europhile. Most will agree I think that Britain is already on its way out even if it may not appear so, polls show it and talking to people shows it. Most people who are not Guardinistas, which is most people, want out or rejoin the EFTA. Even more so the w-word (withdrawal) is not taboo anymore and has been frequently mentioned over at ConHome and Telegraph as of late.

On a 'no' vote Cameron will say that thus a referendum in the UK is not necessary and that will be the end of the matter. Upon which he will have really pissed of a lot of voters and a significant amount will move to UKIP and other anti-EU parties. Which is why it really must suck to be Mr. Cameron right now; he has to take a stand and a stand which he cannot win. He wants the EU but not the full monty, he wants British sovereignity but not Nelson-style sovereignity where we actually decide for ourselves how we are to live or what lightbulbs we are to use.

As said before and observed by many more astute people than myself, if we have a vote on anything EU that will be a vote on in or out for the polarities will be so extreme and the climate will open upp for more powers to be nationalised and thus increase a sense of relevance for Westminster. As the EU process has shown over the past decades, if you even give them a little power they want more and more and more and more... by the same token the process works for the UK. The more power we get back the more we want until we become fully independent again when we must ask why on earth does the EU exist?

I am just going to sit here an laugh over the coming weeks when the true face of politicians will reveal itself. This could of course turn really nasty for everyone, Labour could do another u-turn and suddenly offer a referendum or the LibDems could again seek a referendum on in-out on the EU, as was their previous policy. As I said laughing with popcorn and political elite torch each other.

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