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Our future under a ratified Lisbon Treaty – II.

category national | eu | opinion/analysis author Sunday May 25, 2008 09:15author by Howard Holby Report this post to the editors

"Democracy means having the choice. Dictatorship means being given the choice." (Jeannine Luczak)

The transformation of democratic rule of law into a law to support an EU-federalist oligarchy is however far from getting the whole picture of Europe’s current and projected political system. In this part we compare the main features of the political system of Ireland known as “parliamentary democracy” with the basic criteria of democracy identified by experts of political theory [11] by reconciling two complementary widely accepted democracy-indexes: of Polity and Freedom House. After matching the observations of the system in Ireland with the two essential features of parliamentary democracy, which fill the word “democracy” with its actual meaning - meaningful elections and political freedom -, we find that these are converging to a zero value in Ireland under the overwhelming pressure of Lisbon.
(In order to keep one reading unit within a reasonable length we would prefer to post the three parts of the article as separate publications.)

3. The collapse of democracy through the collapse of meaningful elections

State officials both in Ireland and in the Union are withholding the information from the Irish voters that what they will be essentially called to vote for or against on June 12 is a new federal constitution that would render Ireland a non-sovereign state under the non-transparent central leadership in Brussels. The large majority of the voters of Ireland will have to submit their votes on the referendum without ever being presented with the vital information of this implication of ratifying the Lisbon Treaty, and even without the opportunity to read the text in full [1].

In order to examine the above facts in the conceptual light of what constitutes genuine democracy, we first cite the following parts of the study of Hadenius and Teorell [11]: “It could be argued, after all, that democratic ideals presume something more than just the establishment of the basic institutions of democracy. The question arises of how, from a qualitative point of view, these institutions actually function.”

With respect to the elections as a fundamental democratic institution, what makes an election a truly democratic institution is its attribute of meaningfulness, and what makes an election meaningful is its attribute of being fair and honest:
“It includes two major electoral aspects: universal suffrage and meaningful elections. The latter has three features: the elections must be open (i.e., fully competitive), correct, and effective (i.e., the decisive power must devolve on elected organs).”

Along with the criteria of meaningful elections the other main factor in identifying a system as democracy is political freedom. The study points out that the opinions greatly vary regarding the perfect realisation of political democracy; yet, all experts agree on identifying the basic conceptual elements of democracy:
“It is the combination of fair and honest elections with the existence of essentially unlimited political freedoms that constitutes the basic features of political democracy. Three aspects of political freedom figure as well: organisational freedom, freedom of opinion, and (the absence of) political violence and oppression. As elections and political freedoms could be judged as equally important, the two sides are given equal weight when the composed score is calculated.” [11]

Within the enhanced democracy-index obtained by extensive experimental analysis of nearly 80 countries and by combining the indices of Polity and Freedom House, in the case of cheating during the election procedure and/or the election campaigns in a way that will gravely influence the results of the voting, the value of the correctness as a constituent of meaningful elections is specified as 0 on a scale of 0 to 10.

“3. Meaningful elections: correctness
Are the election campaign and the voting procedure correctly organised without elements of cheating or other irregularities?
0 points: Very grave irregularities, which in all probability greatly influenced the result. Elections are heavily rigged or results fabricated.
Note: Countries scoring 0 on any of the attributes of meaningful elections also obtain 0 points as a total value for meaningful elections (2-4).”


The Irish government’s failure to publicise the full and readable text of the Lisbon Treaty, the lack of publicity of the information on the constitutional identity of the Treaty and the lack of publicised information on the consequent real implications of a ‘yes’ outcome of the referendum are grave irregularities which in all probability will greatly influence the referendum results and downgrade the referendum into a meaningless and aimless procedure. A meaningless referendum however is the same as not holding a referendum at all: it is merely an exercise of testing the success level of a misinformation campaign.
It should be emphasised that the relevance of the Lisbon referendum in Ireland is much higher than that of a regular term election, as the decision on ratifying the Lisbon Treaty is not merely to elect temporary representatives into the next parliamentary term, but a decision on accepting or rejecting the permanent transfer of the powers of the elected to represent the citizenry of Ireland to the federal state in Brussels. For this reason the criteria of meaningful elections with respect to the Lisbon referendum is many times more significant than in the case of any regular term election.

As the following example indicates, not only the criteria of meaningful elections has been abandoned, but the other main factor of democracy, political freedom, is also undermined through suppressing the freedom of political opinion. This is evident from the open threats against any government member expressing a NO stance on Lisbon. “Taoiseach Brian Cowen yesterday threatened to expel any Fianna Fail TD who breaks ranks over the Lisbon Treaty” [13]

“4. Meaningful elections: effectiveness
1. Functional effectiveness: Are there prohibitions for or restrictions on the decision-making powers of the elected bodies
0 points ? The elected bodies have no competence at all and no decision-making power, but are of an essentially ceremonial nature.
1 point ? The elected bodies have a certain competence, but are very limited in initiating and making decisions.”


From this perspective the effectiveness of the elections is contradicted in two regards.
1) The freedom of political opinion of the elected representatives would be the very minimum to assume an accountable, responsive and responsible representation in any parliamentary democracy. The lack of such freedom profoundly undermines the meaningfulness of the elections by contradicting its functional effectiveness. Accordingly, the last elections held in Ireland are invalidated by the loss of the competences the government representatives have been elected to exercise. The free opinion necessary for the elected to properly fulfil their tasks is suppressed by threats and they are forced into blind obedience to echo a stance for Lisbon. In effect the elected bodies have no competence and no decision-making power, but are of an essentially ceremonial nature.
2) The meaning of the last general elections held in Ireland is lost because the representation of the electorate is overridden by the act of unnoticeably transferring the competencies of the elected representatives to a group of non-elected (self-appointed) federal state officials in Brussels.

The citizens’ rights for free expression are also converging to the lowest point under the Lisbon process:
“2. Freedom of opinion
Are there any prohibitions or equivalent obstacles preventing citizens from expressing themselves? Is there freedom of (all) the media? Are there threats or coercions preventing the free exchange of ideas?
0 points ? No freedom. All expressions that may be deemed critical of the regime are prohibited.
1 point ? Same as for 0 points but with a lower degree of surveillance. Different media may receive different treatment.
2 points ? A limited criticism and news service may exist, but only in certain areas and against those in power at a low level.”


The lack of appropriate media pluralism is an obstacle equivalent with prohibitions in preventing citizens from expressing themselves.
The government control over the mass media has been evidenced by the overwhelming publicity of political speeches, news and opinions echoing a pro-Lisbon position. The government’s “yes” campaign has received mass media coverage and has been financed on a level that cannot be matched through civil initiatives. Any political opinion contradicting the EU-federalist interests is largely forced out of the conventional and mainstream mass media channels and only on rare occasions does it receive wide publicity. (Note: as we are approaching the referendum date, the observed rarity is exponentially becoming rarer.)
The violation of the freedom of political opinion is closely associated with the lack of meaningfulness of elections also by the following consideration: when the citizens are deprived of the information on the basis of which they could form an opinion and accordingly could make an informed decision on an election, it is ultimately their freedom of opinion that is being violated.

In summary, the current referendum campaign in Ireland is profoundly incorrect and dishonest and the former elections have become entirely ineffective, i.e., under the Lisbon process the formerly elected bodies are deprived of their decisive power.
After matching the observations of the system in Ireland with the two essential features of parliamentary democracy, which fill the word “democracy” with its actual meaning - meaningful elections and political freedom -, what we have found is that these are converging to a zero value in Ireland under the overwhelming pressure of Lisbon.

In light of the objective definition of the concept democracy the current main political trend in Ireland and in Europe has revealed the following facts:
- It contradicts the principles of a truly democratic rule of law
- It contradicts the criteria of transparency, accountability and responsiveness of the elected representatives
- It has abolished our democratic-constitutional right to access relevant public information necessary to make a meaningful decision in constitutional matters [12],
- The misinformation regarding the Lisbon Treaty over all Europe amounts to the deprivation of the voters of the most fundamental criteria of any parliamentary democracies: the meaningful elections. The lack of meaningful elections and lack of free political opinion invalidate the democratic basis of a functional parliamentary democracy, because the resulting mandates of the elected no longer represent the electorate, only the preference of a small oligarchy that has used the methods of fraud (deceit, misinformation, media-manipulation) to gain power over the society.

The difference between the situation in Ireland and that of the other EU-countries, is that the Irish voters, in lack of a readable text and in lack of objective information on the Lisbon Treaty, are being deprived of the substantial information-basis to form their opinion and express their preference on the referendum, whereas in the other EU-countries the same irregularities: deceit, misinformation, threats and mass media manipulation have been used to deny the referendums altogether [6].

Not too surprisingly, the system on the other end of the conceptual scale (from 0 to 10) is identified as “dictatorship”. When political power is grabbed by maintaining a grand-scale misinformation, rather than obtained as a representation of the informed decision of the majority, the corresponding system forms a conceptual basis of dictatorship, which is a “form of government in which one person or an oligarchy possesses absolute power without effective constitutional checks.” [14] The conceptual link rendering misinformation – as a form of fraud – as a constituent of dictatorship in the process of gaining power is also apparent from the continuation of the above definition of dictatorship:
“With constitutional democracy, it is one of the two chief forms of government in use today. Modern dictators usually use force or fraud to gain power and then keep it through intimidation, terror, suppression of civil liberties, and control of the mass media.” [14]


Misinformation is an invisible form of violence, i.e. violence on the cognitive capabilities of the mind. If an oligarchy gains and retains its power through an ongoing grand-scale misinformation campaign rather than by spectacular physical violence, this creates a permanent basis for its absolute power, from which even the possibility to capture the facts of reality is eliminated, thus the constitutional and other checks of the system is rendered entirely impossible. Since the pre-Lisbon political trends have contradicted both the meaningfulness of elections and political freedom in the EU-countries, under a ratified Lisbon Treaty the last pillars of democracy are also expected to collapse, as political violence and oppression will intensify to maintain the current political status.

This prediction is based on the very text of the Lisbon Treaty, which is in effect a collection of provisions empowering the EU-state with the license to use all forms of violence against its citizens. Among the following bundles of meaningless amendments we find the infamous article 61D, which is about the mysterious KGB-like “standing committee”:

“51) Articles 29 to 39 of Title VI, which relate to judicial cooperation in criminal matters and to police cooperation, shall be replaced by the provisions of Chapters 1, 4 and 5 of Title IV of Part Three of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. As set out below, in Article 2, points 64, 67 and 68 of this Treaty, Article 29 shall be replaced by Article 61 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, Article 30 shall be replaced by Articles 69 F and 69 G thereof, Article 31 shall be replaced by Articles 69 A, 69 B and 69 D thereof, Article 32 shall be replaced by Article 69 H thereof, Article 33 shall be replaced by Article 61 E thereof and Article 36 shall be replaced by Article 61 D thereof. The heading of the Title shall be deleted and its number shall become the number of the Title on final provisions.”

“ARTICLE 61 D
A standing committee shall be set up within the Council in order to ensure that operational cooperation on internal security is promoted and strengthened within the Union. Without prejudice to Article 207, it shall facilitate coordination of the action of Member States’ competent authorities. Representatives of the Union bodies, offices and agencies concerned may be involved in the proceedings of this committee.”


The following articles furthermore indicate that that purpose of the extreme internal security aimed at by the Lisbon Treaty is to make it legitimate to prosecute any political opposition to the federal EU by means of close surveillance of all citizens of Europe, by the deployment of a KGB-like security committee and by an EU-wide police network:

“ARTICLE 61 H
Where necessary to achieve the objectives set out in Article 61, as regards preventing and
combating terrorism and related activities, the European Parliament and the Council, acting by means of regulations in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall define a framework for administrative measures with regard to capital movements and payments, such as the freezing of funds, financial assets or economic gains belonging to, or owned or held by, natural or legal persons, groups or non-State entities.
“ARTICLE 69 G
1. Europol’s mission shall be to support and strengthen action by the Member States’ police authorities and other law enforcement services and their mutual cooperation in preventing and combating serious crime affecting two or more Member States, terrorism and forms of crime which affect a common interest covered by a Union policy.
“ARTICLE 69 F
1. The Union shall establish police cooperation involving all the Member States’ competent authorities, including police, customs and other specialised law enforcement services in relation to the prevention, detection and investigation of criminal offences.
2. For the purposes of paragraph 1, the European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, may establish measures concerning:
(a) the collection, storage, processing, analysis and exchange of relevant information;
(b) support for the training of staff, and cooperation on the exchange of staff, on equipment and on research into crime-detection;
(c) common investigative techniques in relation to the detection of serious forms of organised crime.”


The expression “forms of crime which affect a common interest covered by a Union policy” is a definition of political crimes, which are however considered crime forms only under dictatorial regimes. In fact the Lisbon Treaty is a unique constitution in the sense that it claims to establish a “democratic” system while granting limitless powers to the federal state of the EU to protect itself from its citizens - as opposed to democratic constitutions, which are normally concerned with limiting the state powers and protecting the citizens.

Thought control is also introduced under Lisbon, by a novel crime form called “xenophobia”. Xenophobia is such a main concern that it has gained a special place among other severe crimes:

“61,3. The Union shall endeavour to ensure a high level of security through measures to prevent and combat crime, racism and xenophobia, and through measures for coordination and cooperation between police and judicial authorities and other competent authorities, as well as through the mutual recognition of judgments in criminal matters and, if necessary, through the approximation of criminal laws.”


To demonstrate the utter absurdity of the idea of prosecuting an emotion like xenophobia, imagine that at any time in history when foreign rulers have seized a new territory, they would have made it a punishable crime to maintain any negative emotions (i.e. “xenophobia”) against the presence of the invaders. To render it a major crime to express a natural and expected emotional response to the fact of being conquered and surrendered to foreign interests, not only signifies an utterly deviant morality, but as an attempt to reverse the roles of the subject and the object of political aggression, it also reveals an unparalleled craftiness and philosophical dishonesty behind the treaty. The idea of inserting this open threat into a constitution against the exact same citizens who are being deceived and left out of the very creation of this so called “free and democratic” EU , indicates a profoundly twisted sense of justice and the highest peaks of the ‘art’ of deceit achieved by the Lisbon proponents. It appears that the only difference between the ancient and the modern methods of territorial conquests is that the ancient methods took courage and strength and at least they were honest. In our days the very same conquest takes only the weakness and cowardice to yield to and repeat the official lies of a couple of shrewd politicians, lawyers, translators and administrators in Brussels.

The immense danger inherent in political settings ruled by an oligarchy that has gained political power via an invisible form of violence (deceit) rather than by physical violence, is that such political leadership fallaciously deems itself legitimate to start practicing the physical forms of violence as well - viewing it as an assumed “monopoly of the state” - against its conquered citizens, especially if the conquered would start revolting to regain their freedom.

What can be more fatal than a political leadership that redefines the meaning of democracy into its opposite and under which political violence, as a main feature of dictatorship, is being constitutionalised as an institution of “democracy” to protect the interests of the few against the will of the many? What can be more permanent than a dictatorship from which – as opposed to the known explicit forms of dictatorial regimes like the former Soviet Union – liberation will not be possible, simply because captivity will be called “freedom” and dictatorship will be nicknamed “democracy”?

(to be continued)

Previous part:
Our future under a ratified Lisbon Treaty – I.
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/87683

References:

[1] “What does the government hide by hiding the Lisbon Treaty?”
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/87595

[2] Helga Zepp-LaRouche: “Abolishing Democracy by Stealth:
Constitution for Feudalism in Europe”
http://www.larouchepub.com/hzl/2008/3509referendum_lisb....html

[3] Comparison of the Lisbon Treaty and the former EU Constitution:
http://www.j.dk/exp/images/bondes/13.03.08_COMPARISON_O...Y.pdf
Jens-Peter Bonde’s book on the Lisbon Treaty:
http://www.bonde.com/index.php/bonde_uk/article/C355/
Index with more than 3,000 alphabetical entries to search the Lisbon Treaty by topics:
http://www.j.dk/exp/images/bondes/Index.pdf

[4] “Ireland: a vital fact proven; the Lisbon Treaty is a constitution”
(Conceptual map: the Lisbon Treaty is a constitution)
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/87182

[5] “These Boots Are Gonna Walk All Over You”
An analysis by Prof. Anthony Coughlan
http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/2773

[6] “Summary of the Lisbon Treaty research”
http://howardh.wordpress.com/category/lisbon-treaty-res...arch/

[7] Adam Przeworski, José María Maravall: “Democracy and the Rule of Law”, Cambridge University Press; 1 edition, p. 96, Jul 21 2003)

[8] Larry Jay Diamond, Leonardo Morlino: “Assessing the Quality of Democracy” Johns Hopkins University Press, November 2005)

[9] Helen. Desfosses, Abdo I. Baaklini: “Designs for Democratic Stability: Studies in Viable Constitutionalism” (M.E. Sharpe, February 1997)

[10] Giovanni Sartori: “Dittatura, in Elementi di teoria politica”, Il Mulino, Bologna, 1987, 51–87.

[11] “Assessing Alternative Indices of Democracy” by Axel Hadenius from the Uppsala University and Jan Teorell from Göteborg University, (The Committee on Concepts and Methods, International Political Science Association Teaching and Research in the Social Sciences, August 2005)

[12] "The main constitutional aspect of constitutionalisation"
http://howardh.wordpress.com/2008/04/25/the-main-consti...tion/

[13] “Cowen to kick out FF treaty ‘rebels’”
http://www.independent.ie/national-news/cowen-to-kick-o....html

[14] Encyclopædia Britannica

[15] “Lisbon Treaty explained by political science: an equivalent of coup d’état”
http://howardh.wordpress.com/2008/04/25/lisbon-treaty-e...ence/

[16] The institutional construction and decision mechanisms of the EU are similar to the ex-communist regimes, such as the former USSR:
“Former Soviet Dissident Warns For EU Dictatorship”
http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/865

[17] “Lisbon campaigners clash on neutrality”
http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/breaking/2008/0515/bre...0.htm

[18] “Top Reasons to Vote NO to Lisbon Treaty”
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/87518

Other sources:

“Defend Sovereignty - Neutrality - Democracy: Vote No to Lisbon!”
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/87547

“Voting No for a reason: Lisbon Treaty OR a Europe of democracy”
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/87345

Bonde’s Briefing 19.12.07: Born in sun and sin
"The EU’s Prime Ministers met Thursday 13 December 2007 11.30 in Lisbon to solemnly sign the Lisbon Treaty which none of them has had time to read.
The text has on purpose been made totally unreadable, and the numbering system has been changed time and time again, Bonde, who was present at the signing ceremony, writes."

http://www.bonde.com/index.php/bonde_UK/article/bondes_...91207

Leading politicians on the identity between the Lisbon Treaty and the former EU Constitution:
“EU Empire - Lisbon Treaty / EU Constitution”
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-722592484850619084

Popular sovereignty is abolished and the principle of unanimity is breached by the EU - by dropping the results of the former referendums of the French and the Dutch peoples:
“European Parliament: Members’ Protest - 12.12.2007”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JJlI9swbsA&feature=related

Parliamentary democracy and rule of law are abolished by the EU:
“Power Grab by EU Parliament President (updated)”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVeMBNB0cII&feature=related

Nigel Farage’s speech in the European Parliament after the power-grab:
“Ireland’s call - Vote no to Lisbon”
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-722592484850619084

Movie on the Lisbon Treaty: “End of Nations - EU Takeover & the Lisbon Treaty”
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-42917704894725...54607

“Video on the Irish campaign by the ERC2:”
http://www.teameurope.info/

Nigel Farage reveals the past of the Commission members:
“Nigel Farage on who’s who in the EU commission”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWSYMpuCFaQ&feature=related

“The Lisbon Treaty: Ireland Speaks For Democracy”
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/86484

“Too COSI: what are they hiding? (on the EU’s Standing Committee on Internal Security)”
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/foreign/brunowaterfield/fe...1.htm

“Demand a Referendum on EU Lisbon Treaty”
article by Helga Zepp-LaRouche
http://www.larouchepub.com/hzl/2008/3510referendum_lisb....html

The Lisbon Treaty is the milestone of a gradual process of absorbing the sovereignty of Europe’s nations, according to the professors of Vienna University:
“EuropeNews: “10,000 demanding referendum on Lisbon Treaty”
http://europenews.dk/en/node/8827

“Free Europe”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8CoyLANcts&feature=related

“Wrong Man, wrong Europe”
http://www.redpepper.org.uk/article1164.html
An article by Susan George, the board chair of the Transnational Institute and honorary president of Attac France

BBC UK: The European Parliament’s decision on not publicising the audit report on a series of abuses of staff allowances:
“MEPs keep ‘fraud’ report secret”
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7266286.stm

“The Result of European Unification Will be War”
http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/2104

“A Business View: A Bad Deal for Ireland and Europe”
http://www.libertas.org/content/view/252/131/

“Data Watchdog Questions EU’s Controversial Fingerprint Plan”
http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,3222245,00.html

Related Link: http://howardh.wordpress.com/
author by Aidanpublication date Mon May 26, 2008 11:30Report this post to the editors

I see your article is fair and balanced...

Lisbon Treaty: The Facts and the Myths

What we need to know to make our own decision. There are too many baseless and biased arguments coming from both sides on this. This post gives an overview of what will actually change, and addresses some of the myths that some groups are suggesting.

FACTS:

*European Parliament
The Treaty will cap the number of MEPs at 750. States will be
guaranteed a minimum of 6 seats and a maximum of 96. Under these new
rules and the current make up of the EU Ireland will lose 1 MEP bringing
our number of MEPs to 12.

*EU Commission
The size of commission (currently 27) will be reduced from 2014. Every
state will have equal rights to appoint a commissioner. This will mean
that Ireland will have an appointee on the commission every 10 years out
of 15, as will all other EU members.

*President of the EU Council
Currently the presidency of the Council of Ministers rotates among
member states every 6 months. A full time president of the council will
be elected by member state governments for a maximum of five years. The
hosting of the EU Council will be carried out by a trio of member states
for a period of 18 months.

*High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs
The EU currently has two main external representatives; the Council's
High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy and the
Commissioner for External Affairs. These two positions will be merged
creating a single position of High Representative for Foreign Affairs
and Security Policy. The office holder will become Vice President of the
Commission and will chair the Foreign Affairs Council of Ministers. This
persons role will be to co-ordinate the external activities of the EU.

*Move from Veto to Majority Voting
A number of areas are being moved from being veto issues at the European
Council to being governed by a qualifying majority. In a number of
these areas Ireland can also choose to opt out

*New Double Majority System
The Treaty also changes how qualified majority voting works; if the
Treaty is passed, double majority voting will come into force in 2014.
This means that for proposed legislation to be approved by the Council,
the support of 55% of the Member States will be required, and in
addition they must comprise 65% of the Union's population. This is
supposed to ensure that no bloc (either the small member states or the
large ones) can gang up on another.

*New Role for National Parliaments
When new legislation is proposed national parliaments can consider
whether this new legislation is an area that should be governed by the
EU or whether it should be decided locally under the principle of
subsidiarity. National parliaments will have an eight-week period to
offer a reasoned opinion on whether a Commission proposal is breeching
subsidiarity. If at least one third of the votes of national parliaments
request it, the proposal must be reviewed.
If a Commission proposal for EU legislation is opposed by more than half
of the votes allocated to national parliaments (which is one per chamber
in a bicameral system and two per chamber in a unicameral system), the
Commission must justify its proposal in a reasoned opinion and it may be
blocked by the Council of Ministers or the European Parliament.

*Justice & Home Affairs- Irish Opt out
Justice and Home Affairs has been changed from being a veto area to a
qualified majority area. The areas affected include terrorism, human
trafficking, drug trafficking, corruption, money laundering,
counterfeiting, computer crime and organised crime. Ireland has chosen
to opt out of these provisions, along with the UK, but with an option to
opt in on a case-by-case basis. These arrangements are to be reviewed
within three years of the Treaty entering into force.

*Charter of Fundamental Rights
The Lisbon Treaty states that the Union is founded on the values of
respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law
and respect for human rights of persons belonging to minorities. The
Treaty will also make the Charter of Fundamental Rights legally binding
for the first time. The Charter consolidates and reflects the human
rights which are already set down in European and Irish law.

*Citizens' Initiative
If 1 million signatures are collected across the EU on a particular
issue, the Commission have to consider it and issue a response. Such an
initiative however does not bind the commission to take further action
on the issue in question.

*Leaving the EU
One of the things that the Lisbon Treaty does is
that it provides a clear mechanism for a memberstate to leave the EU for
the first time. So if we do get the disaster scenario that some of the
opponents paint; ie children conscripted to fight in Russian, a single
50% EU corporation tax rate, Brussel's owned nuclear power stations at
Tara, forced abortions for all etc etc we can always just leave.

MYTHS

"This will be the last EU referendum"

Certain groups are arguing the Art 48 of the Treaty makes the Treaty
self amending and that this means that the Irish people will never again
have a chance to vote on an EU treaty.

This is false. The Treaty is not self-amending and can only be amended
in accordance with the constitutional requirements of each member state.
Changes within the Treaty to allow the EU to acquire any new competences
must be ratified by each member state in accordance with their own
Constitutional requirements. Ireland must hold a referendum. Proposals
to amend the Treaties require unanimous approval by the European Council
and must be ratified in Ireland through a referendum or Oireachtas
approval. Moving an area from unanimity to QMV requires the simplified
revision procedure. Article 1.56 of the Treaty clearly states that any
national government or any national Parliament may veto any proposal by
the European Council. This provides an effective double lock because
complete and unanimous approval of governments and Parliaments is
needed. Military and defense decisions cannot be moved from unanimity
to QMV by the Simplified Revision Procedure.

"The Lisbon Treaty means that the EU can set Ireland' corporation tax rates"

Opponents of the Treaty have made various claims regarding Irish
corporation tax, including that the commission or the ECJ could force
Ireland to change its corporation tax rates or that we could be forced
to adopt a new common corporation tax base system

These are both false. Corporation tax is unchanged by the treaty. Any
move towards a common corporation tax base would require unanimous
support; Ireland, the UK and Slovenia strongly oppose any such move.
The EU Commission originally approved Ireland's lower 12.5% tax rate in
the 1990s. Recent ECJ rulings confirm that the court will not interfere
in member states' corporation tax rate.

>The Lisbon Treaty will force Ireland to change its abortion laws
Yeah this one comes out at every EU treaty. This time treaty opponents
are linking it to the Charter of Fundamental Rights

This is false. The Maastricht Protocal secured in the 1990s means that
no EU treaty or future treaty can impact Ireland's constitutional
provisions on abortion. Abortion law is governed separately by member
states.

"The Lisbon Treaty gives EU law supremacy over Irish law for the first time"

Lisbon opponents are pointing to provisions of the Treaty (in particular
the change to the Irish constitution which will enable the ratification
of the Lisbon Treaty) which state that it overrules Irish law.

This has been a feature of all previous EU treaties. Certain aspects of
EU law have had supremacy over Irish law for decades. The Lisbon Treaty
doesn't change this.

"The Lisbon Treaty marks the end of Irish Neutrality"

Treaty opponents have argued that Ireland will no longer be a neutral
country, that we will be forced to spend more money on defense and that
we will be obliged to defend other EU states if they are attacked.

This is one that is also rolled out at every EU treaty. The EU does
have a defensive infrastructure, that is why Irish troops are going to
Chad as part of an EU battlegroup. This though is taking part under a
UN mandate. Under article 28a of the treaty, the common defence policy
is made subject to the individual defence policies of member states. In
the case of Ireland, this means our position of military neutrality is
not affected. We retain the right to veto any proposed defence or
military action. This applies for example to the launch of any crisis
management mission. Ireland can also opt-out of any activity that it
does not want to be a part of. Irish defence policy is governed by the
'Triple Lock'. Irish troops can not be deployed abroad unless the
Government and the Oireachtas agree and there is a UN mandate for the
mission. Ireland cannot join any common defence arrangement without a
separate referendum of the Irish people. This position is explicitly
stated in the proposed amendment to the constitution. If we ratify the
treaty we will be writing neutrality into the Irish constitution.
Article 28a paragraph 7 of the Treaty refers to the Solidarity Clause
which clearly means that neutral states like Ireland cannot be forced to
take part in a military comment against their will, even if another
member state is attacked.

Furthermore the Reform Treaty does not require Ireland to increase its
military spending. The Treaty states that "Member States shall
undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities". There
are no specific commitments as to levels of expenditure nor is there any
scope for these to be imposed. In the EU context, the improvement of
such capabilities is in order to provide the Union with the capacity to
carry out widely-supported crisis management tasks.

author by paul cadier - Rassemblement pour l' ndependance de la Francepublication date Mon May 26, 2008 19:27Report this post to the editors

The author of this analysis of the Traety of Lisbon, makes no mention of the so-called "passserelle clause" (gang plank in English).
It appeared in the original constitutional treaty rejected here in France and has re-emerged in the text of Lisbon. Simply put ,a unanimous vote in the council of ministers can at any time transfer a competance currently administered by nation-states up to the European level. Naturally, an Irish Minister could veto any attempt to move say defence, corporation tax, or abortion policy up to Brussels. His personal views may not however always concur with the majority of his electorate . There are no adequate measures that can be exerted upon a single man to respect the wishes of the majority of his electors. In France for example our President Sarkozy has made commitments to us and done the opposite in the confines of the Council of Ministers. His popularity has sunk to unprecedented depths but he cannot be removed until the next presidential election in 5 years. He is free to sell us short in Europe for all of that time. An adequate treaty would take human nature into account. This one however is just another twist of the ratchet, a one-way street leading to more centralisation.

author by Gavin - Nonepublication date Tue May 27, 2008 15:59Report this post to the editors


Thanks Aidan felt that post was well worth the read, clear and to the point...I would be interested in hearing counter arguments to it as its out of my league in relation to what I know on the treaty.

author by Confusedpublication date Fri May 30, 2008 14:41Report this post to the editors

From Aidan:

"Furthermore the Reform Treaty does not require Ireland to increase its military spending. The Treaty states that "Member States shall undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities". There are no specific commitments as to levels of expenditure nor is there any scope for these to be imposed."

How exactly do you improve your military capabilities without increasing your military spending?

author by Not confused anymorepublication date Fri May 30, 2008 18:48Report this post to the editors

Was just going through the Irish Times archives and it appears the bould Willie O'Dea has addressed my concerns on this issue:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008:
"Asked about the commitment for EU states to increase their military capabilities, Mr O'Dea said this meant spending money more smartly rather than spending more money."

Is this an admission that govt defence spending has been less than smart up to now? What have they been buying - muskets, knuckle dusters?

author by shot in the footpublication date Sat May 31, 2008 07:13Report this post to the editors

"What have they been buying - muskets, knuckle dusters?" Yup, and lots of extra fencing wire for Shannon Airport.

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