Lisbon Treaty: Where is this all going?

1. Harmonisation of Corporate Tax;

2. Losing permanent Commissioner, Halving voting strength;

3. The “Blank Cheque” Self-Amending power;

4. Superiority of all EU law over Irish Constitution;

5. Lisbon origin in rejected EU Constitution.

* Where is this all going? Harmonisation of Corporate tax:

Article 2.79 of the Lisbon Treaty would insert a six-word amendment -”and to avoid distorton of competition” – into the Article of the existing European Treaties dealing with harmonising indirect taxes – Article 113.

This would enable the European Court of Justice, which adjudicates on competition matters, to decide that Ireland’s 12.5% rate of company tax, as against Germany’s 30%, is a distortion of competition which breaches the Treaty Articles dealing with the internal market (Art. 26 and Arts.101-9 TFEU) in relation to which qualified majority voting on the Council of Ministers applies.

The Irish Government’s veto under Article 113 would thus be irrelevant.

* Where is this all going? Loss of permanent Commissioner and reduction in voting strength:

– Lisbon removes any Irish voice from the EU Commission, the body which has the monopoly of proposing all EU laws, for five years out of every 15 (Art.17.5 TEU).

– Lisbon abolishes our right to decide who the Irish Commissioner is when it comes to our turn to be on the Commission, replacing it by a right to make “suggestions” only for the Commission President to decide (Art.17.7 TEU).

– Lisbon Treaty would double Germany’s say on the EU Council of Ministers; Ireland’s voting weight would be more than halved to 1% (Art.16 TEU).

* Where is this all going? The self-amending Treaty:

– This could be Ireland’s last referendum on Europe – the EU can acquire new competences without another treaty, like signing a blank cheque.

– Lisbon would permit the EU Prime Ministers to shift most of the remaining EU policy areas where unanimity still exists, to majority voting, without need for new EU Treaties or referendums (Art.48 TEU).

* Where is this all going? The dilution of Bunreacht na hEireann and the superiority of EU law:

EU law is already superior to Irish law. Lisbon would further weaken Irish control by adding more competences and powers to the EU.

– It hands over to the EU the power to make laws binding on us in 32 new policy areas, such as crime, justice and policing, public services, immigration, energy, transport, tourism, sport, culture, public health, the EU budget etc.

– It removes a national veto in 68 areas

– Lisbon will give the EU Court of Justice the power to decide our rights as EU citizens – Ireland’s Supreme Court would no longer have the final say (Art.6 TEU).

* Where is this all going? The Treaty’s origin in the EU Constitution:

– The Lisbon treaty is a repackaged version of the EU Constitution (96% the same). France and the Netherlands both rejected it, people across Europe have felt increasing unease about the EU project.

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