STOP PRESS - Ireland Rejects EU Treaty
Irish voters have voted
"No", by 53.4 per cent to 46.6 per cent, to their
country ratifying the European Union's Lisbon Treaty, the
document that was to replace the European Constitution defeated
by French and Dutch referenda in 2005. Ireland was the only one
of the 27 EU member states obliged by law to hold a referendum on
The European commission president,
José Manuel Barroso, said he believed the Treaty was still
"alive," despite the resounding defeat in Ireland.
This, however, was immediately contradicted by Luxembourg's
Prime Minister, Jean-Claude Juncker - the longest serving leader
in the EU - who said the Irish vote meant the Treaty could not
enter into force in January 2009 as planned.
Under the EU rules, the Treaty
required unanimous consent of all member states. Barroso said EU
leaders would consider their response at a summit in Luxembourg
The French Prime Minister,
Francois Fillon, said, "If the Irish people decide to reject
the treaty of Lisbon, naturally, there will be no treaty of
The head of the European
Union's current presidency is now demanding an explanation
for the Irish people's democratically obtained rejection of
the Treaty. "I will invite the Irish Prime Minister to
explain the reasons for the rejection of the treaty by the Irish
people," said Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa.
EU leaders have vowed that,
despite the vote, the concept of a reformed European Union
constitution will go forward. Barroso said today that the Treaty
must go forward with the ratification process. France's
Europe Minister Jean-Pierre Jouyet said the EU must discuss a
"legal arrangement" with Ireland.
The Treaty's defenders said
the 300 page document was merely a way of streamlining "EU
governance" and re-working the system of national votes to
more closely reflect the various positions of the member states.
Pro-democracy groups in Ireland warned, however, that the same
dangers to democracy and national sovereignty exist with this
revised version of the rejected EU Constitution as were in the
original. Ratification of the Treaty, they maintained, would
threaten the democratic principles upon which the Irish polity
rests, including citizenship.
Anthony Coughlan of the National
Platform EU Research and Information Centre, wrote that the
Lisbon Treaty ratification would create a new super-state
"in the constitutional form of a supranational European
federation, making citizens of ratifying countries primarily into
citizens of that super-state, "owing obedience to its laws
and loyalty to its authority," in contrast to their current
honorary EU ‘citizenship’.
Pro-life advocates argued that
this would threaten the Irish constitutional protection for the
unborn, given the almost universal acceptance and promotion of
abortion at the EU level. Certain EU bodies have also lobbied
hard for pressure to be put on countries that retain their legal
protections for natural marriage.
Coughlan wrote that the reforms of
the Lisbon Treaty would grant the EU a "legal
personality" and corporate existence fundamentally different
from its current make-up. It would, he said, "For the first
time, be separate from and superior to its member states. It
would reduce sovereign nations like Ireland, Britain and Germany,
to the status of subordinate states comparable to the
relationship between the state of Texas and the US Federal
Politically and legally, this is
the core element of an EU constitution, which, Coughlan said, is
the least-discussed aspect of the Treaty. Coughlan is a Senior
Lecturer Emeritus in Social Policy at Trinity College Dublin and
Secretary of the National Platform. Party leaders in Ireland are
re-thinking their positions on the Treaty
after the vote. All three major
parties had supported a Yes vote for ratification.
Party leaders in Dublin are said
to be stunned at the size of the margin against their position.
In the two constituencies of county Donegal, two thirds of voters
said no to Lisbon. The biggest no vote was in Dublin South West,
which saw a 65.1% majority.
In Britain, Tory opposition
leader, David Cameron, whose party supported a referendum in
Britain, said it is time to abandon the ratification of the
Treaty. The Labour party, which pushed the ratification of the
Treaty through Parliament without a public vote, contrary to
their 2005 campaign promise, is now facing plummeting opinion
polls. Prime Minister Gordon Brown refused to allow a vote,
claiming that the Lisbon Treaty was substantially different from
the previous document. This, however was widely refuted by legal
experts, and even some prominent EU politicians, who said the
differences between the two documents were negligible.
The Treaty would give the EU more
law-making powers, Coughlan added, and would transfer more powers
to the EU from national states, national parliaments and
citizens. The non-elected Commissions have a monopoly on
proposing EU laws. Laws would be made primarily by an irremovable
"oligarchy," of 27 legislating politicians who
constitute the Council of Ministers, who would make laws for 450
Weight would be given to nations
by population, which would reduce the relative voting weight and
influence of small and middle-sized states, such as Ireland,
Poland and Malta, the three EU countries maintaining legal
protections for the unborn.
LifeSiteNews.com - Hilary White,