⚠ Lisbon “guarantees” on the right to life, family and education are about as useful as a gate in the middle of a field…

…Some questions for Taoiseach Cowen and Minister Martin to answer:

Why have Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Foreign Minister Micheál narrowed the scope of the Lisbon “guarantee” on protecting the right to life, family and education in the Irish Constitution to one small area of the Lisbon Treaty?

The wording below of the proposed Lisbon “guarantee” in Section A of today’s European Council decision or agreement, even if it were given binding European Treaty status by opening and adding a Protocol to the Lisbon Treaty, which is not intended – is about as useful as a gate in the middle of a field!

It purports to restrict the effects of the Lisbon Treaty on the Irish Constitution in ONLY ONE SMALL AREA – “the area of Freedom, Security and Justice“, which is only one of 13 areas of shared competences in the EU, i.e. shared between the Union and its Member States.

The guarantee does not purport to protect the Irish constitutional position in the other areas of the Treaty. Why not?

See Article 4 (TFEU) below, which sets out the 13 areas of shared powers or competences. The so-called “guarantee” purporting to restrict the effects of Lisbon on the Irish Constitution does not affect the other 12 policy areas in Article 4, for example in relation to the internal market, or social policy.

Nor – importantly – does it affect areas which are the exclusive competence of the EU in Articles 3 & 6 TFEU and elsewhere. It therefore does not apply, for instance, in relation to laying down competition rules necessary for the functioning of the EU internal market, or the common commercial policy, which are exclusive EU competences or powers.

Why is this particular guarantee limited in this way?

The second Summit meeting “guarantee” relating to Taxation, says simply Nothing in the Treaty of Lisbon makes any change of any kind for any Member State to the extent or operation of the competence of the European Union in relation to taxation.”

The 1993 Maastricht Treaty Protocol purporting to protect the Irish constitutional position on abortion, likewise, covers the WHOLE TREATY and all of its amendments. It says: “Nothing in the Treaties… shall affect the application in Ireland of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution of Ireland”

Who are Taoiseach Cowen and Foreign Minister Cowen trying to fool? They have some questions to answer.

(Signed)
Anthony Coughlan
(Director)


Excerpt from the Decision/Agreement of the European Council

Section A

Right to Life, Family and Education

Nothing in the Treaty of Lisbon (a) attributing legal status to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, or (b) in the provisions of that Treaty in the area of Freedom, Security and Justice affects in any way the scope and applicability of the protection of the right to life in Article 40.3.1. 40.3.2 and 40.3.3, the protection of the family in Article 41 and the protection of the rights in respect of education in Articles 42 and 44.2.4 and 44.2.5 provided by the Constitution of Ireland.


ARTICLE 4 (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union -TFEU), as amended by the Lisbon Treaty

1. The Union shall share competence with the Member States where the Treaties confer on it a competence which does not relate to the areas referred to in Articles 3 and 6.

2. Shared competence between the Union and the Member States applies in the following principal areas:
(a) internal market;
(b) social policy, for the aspects defined in this Treaty;
(c) economic, social and territorial cohesion;
(d) agriculture and fisheries, excluding the conservation of marine biological resources;
(e) environment;
(f) consumer protection;
(g) transport;
(h) trans-European networks;
(i) energy;
(j) area of freedom, security and justice; (emphasis added)
(k) common safety concerns in public health matters, for the aspects defined in this Treaty.

3. In the areas of research, technological development and space, the Union shall have competence to carry out activities, in particular to define and implement programmes; however, the exercise of that competence shall not result in Member States being prevented from exercising theirs.

4. In the areas of development cooperation and humanitarian aid, the Union shall have competence to carry out activities and conduct a common policy; however, the exercise of that competence shall not result in Member States being prevented from exercising theirs.

Freagra

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