Tackling the EU Empire: basic critical facts on EU/Eurozone – a handbook for European Democrats

TACKLING THE EU EMPIRE    

Basic critical facts on the EU/Eurozone

handbook for Europe’s democrats, whether politically Left, Right or Centre                

“Sometimes I like to compare the EU as a creation to the organization of empire. We have the dimension of empire.”   –  EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, 2007

Readers are invited to use or adapt this document in whole or in part for their own purposes, including changing its title if desired, and to circulate it to others without any need of reference to or acknowledgement of its source.

Contents

  • The EU’s myth of origin
  • EU ideology: supranationalism v. internationalism
  • A spin-off of the Cold War
  • The euro as a response to German reunification
  • The intoxication of Big Powerdom
  • EU expansion from six to 28; “Brexit”
  • The economic basis of the EU
  • The succession of EU treaties: the 1957 Treaty ofRome
  • The 1987 Single European Act (SEA)
  • The 1992 Maastricht Treaty on European Union
  • The 1998 Amsterdam Treaty
  • The 2001 Nice Treaty
  • The 2009 Lisbon Treaty: the EU’s Constitution
  • EU Powers and National Powers
  • The “doctrine of the occupied field”; Subsidiarity
  • More voting power for the Big States under the Lisbon Treaty
  • How the EU is run: the Brussels Commission
  • The Council of Ministers
  • The European Council
  • The European Parliament
  • The Court of Justice (ECJ) as a Constitution-maker
  • The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights
  • The extent of EU laws
  • Is Another Europe, a Social Europe, possible?
  • How the EU is financed
  • Why national politicians surrender powers to the EU
  • The EU’s assault on national democracy
  • EU Justice, “Home Affairs” and Crime; Migration, Schengen
  • The Common Foreign and Security policy: EU militarization
  • The euro: from EU to Eurozone federalism
  • The euro, the bank crisis and the sovereign debt crisis
  • Two treaties for the Eurozone: The Fiscal Compact and the ESM Treaty
  • No European people or demos to provide a basis for an EU democracy
  • How the Eurozone prevents the “PIIGS” countries overcoming the economic crisis
  • The benefits of restoring national currencies
  • Contrast Iceland
  • Tackling the EU Leviathan
  • Democrats on Centre, Left and Right for national independence and democracy
  • Conclusion: Europe’s Future
  • Ireland’s EU membership
  • Abolishing the punt and adopting the euro
  • Ireland’s experience of an independent currency 1993-1999
  • The 2008 bank guarantee and the 2010 Eurozone bailout
  • Reestablishing an independent Irish currency
  • Some political consequences of Ireland’s EU membership
  • An independent democratic future
  • Useful sources of information on the EU
  • Reference Notes
  • An invitation

 

THE EU’S MYTH OF ORIGIN:  All States and aspiring States have their “myth of origin” – that is, a story, true or false, of how they came into being. The myth of origin of the European Union is that it is essentially a peace project to prevent wars between Germany and France, as if a collective tendency to go to war were somehow genetically inherited.  In reality the EU’s origins lie in war preparations – at the start of the Cold War which followed the end of World War 2 and the possibility of that developing into a “hot war”, a real military conflict between the two victorious post-war superpowers, the USA and USSR.

Tuilleadh

UPDATE: Reply to Dr Gavin Barrett’s article on the Fiscal Treaty referendum in Friday 4/May Irish Times

“A Federation for the Eurozone and a Confederation for the rest of the EU”

(Note: The following replaces & corrects earlier version of 7/May)

TWO TREATIES FOR THE EUROZONE AND AN AMENDMENT TO  ONE OF THE EU TREATIES  – ALL RELATED TO EACH  OTHER!

Reply to Dr Gavin Barrett, Senior Lecturer in European Law, UCD, who wrote an article urging a Yes vote in the Fiscal Treaty referendum in the Irish Times on Friday 4 May, by Anthony Coughlan, Director, The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre, 24 Crawford Avenue, Dublin 9; Tel.: 01-8305792

Wednesday 9 May 2012

INTRODUCTION:

AMENDMENT TO ARTICLE 136,  TREATY ON THE FUNCTIONING OF THE EUROPEAN UNION (TFEU)  –

“The Member States whose currency is the euro may establish a stability mechanism to be activated if indispensable to safeguard the stability of the euro area as a whole. The granting of any required financial assistance under the mechanism will be made subject to strict conditionality.”

– Proposed amendment to Article 136 TFEU of the EU Treaties by which the 27 EU Member States  authorize the 17 Member States of the Eurozone to establish a  Stability Mechanism

The above Art.136 TFEU amendment to the EU Treaties has still to be approved by Ireland in accordance with its constitutional requirements under the “simplified” EU treaty amendment procedure of Article 48.6 TEU.

The European Council “Decision” to insert this amendment into the EU Treaties comes into force on 1 January 2013 if  by that time it has been approved by all 27 EU Member States in accordance with their constitutional requirements.

The ESM Institution which the 17 Eurozone States seek to establish and which Ireland would become a Member of is to be set up by the ESM Treaty for the 17 on the basis of this  Art.136 TFEU authorization  by the 27.  The ESM Treaty states that it is “complementary” to the Fiscal Treaty on which we have a referendum vote on 31 May.

The Government has promised the other 16 Eurozone Governments that it will have the ESM Treaty ratified by July,  but without the necessary constitutional referendum being held on it and on the Art. 136 TFEU amendment which authorizes it.

Q.  BUT WHERE WILL WE GET THE MONEY?

A.   We will get the money by holding a referendum on the Article 136 TFEU amendment and the ESM Treaty that it authorizes. This is constitutionally required in Ireland in order to validate these proposals as they stand, but our supine Government wants to avoid such  a referendum at all costs.  The 16 other Eurozone States will have to persuade us to vote Yes in such a referendum if they are to establish the kind of Stability Mechanism which the ESM Treaty envisages.  They can do this by agreeing to forgive the private bank debt the ECB has insisted should be imposed on Irish taxpayers, plus the Anglo-Irish promissory notes etc.   An Irish referendum on Article 136 TFEU and the ESM Treaty would also be an opportunity to add the voice of the Irish people to the calls across  Europe for the Eurozone authorities to agree a growth strategy instead of the present failed austerity policies.

Q.  WHERE WILL WE GET THE MONEY IF WE VOTE NO TO THE FISCAL TREATY?

A.   Where will the Government get the money to pay the €11 billion the ESM Treaty will require from us –  €1.3 billion up front and €250 million of that this July! –  with an open-ended treaty commitment to pay further sums thereafter without limit?

Tuilleadh

Open Letter to the Referendum Commission

Below for your information is a copy of the  letter that was delivered to Mr Justice Frank Clarke, Chairman of the Referendum Commission, from Anthony Coughlan last Thursday, with the most relevant passages highlighted in bold …

 

 

Sunday 27 September 2009

_______

 

TO:

MrJustice Frank Clarke

Chairman,

The Referendum Commission

18 Lower Leeson St.

Dublin 2

 

FROM:

Anthony Coughlan

The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre

24 Crawford Avenue

Dublin 9

Tel.:  01-8305792

 

Thursday 24 September 2009

 

Dear Mr Justice Clarke

May I enclose for your information a copy of the new edition of the Lisbon Treaty: The Readable Version, the first edition of which I sent you and your Referendum Commission colleagues some time ago. I also enclose a document which describes the main changes the Lisbon Treaty would make.

 

May I take the opportunity  of saying that the current Lisbon referendum, as I presume you have noted,  has been characterized by monstrous illegality on the part of several key parties, as follows:-

1. The intervention of the European Commission, which is unlawful under European law, as the Commission has no function in relation to the ratification of new Treaties,  something that is exclusively a matter for the Member States under their own constitutional procedures;

 

2. The part-funding of the posters and press advertisements  of  most of Ireland’s Yes-side political parties by their sister parties in the European Parliament, even though it is illegal under Irish law to receive donations from sources outside the country in a referendum and when, under EU law, money provided by the European Parliament to cross-national political parties is supposed to be confined to informational-type  material and to avoid direct partisan advocacy. I read that the Green Party has refused such funding from its sister party in the European Parliament on the ground that it is advised that this is illegal under European law   (Later comment on this latter point inserted  by A.Coughlan:

Presumably this scrupulousness is because  Green Party Local Government Minister

John Gormley, as Minister responsible for running the referendum, cannot afford to

have the political party he belongs to flout the law!)

 

3. The Government’s unlawful use of public funds in circulating to voters a postcard with details of the so-called “assurances” from the European Council,  followed by a brochure some time later containing a tendentious summary of the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty – both steps being in breach of the Supreme Court’s 1995 judgement in McKenna that it is unconstitutional of the Government to use public money to seek to procure a particular result in a referendum;

 

4. The failure of your own Referendum Commission to carry out its statutory function under the 1998 and 2001 Referendum Acts of preparing for citizens a statement or statements “containing a general explanation of the subject matter of the proposal (viz. the proposal to amend the Constitution)  and of the text thereof in the relevant Bill”, namely the 28th Amendment of the Constitution Bill 2009.

 

May I make some points to you and your Referendum Commission colleagues regarding this.

 

The Lisbon Treaty-Your Guide which you have circulated to voters makes no attempt to inform them about the proposed Constitutional Amendment, despite that being your prime statutory duty and that of your Referendum Commission colleagues under the Referendum Acts.

The leaflet and other material which you have made available do not tell citizen-voters  that the new first sentence of the proposed Amendment we shall be voting on  provides that the State

“affirms its commitment to the European Union” which would be established by the Lisbon Treaty – a sentence, incidentally,  that was not in the Constitutional Amendment in last year’s referendum – and  you give voters no idea that this is the case or what such a commitment might entail.

 

You do not inform voters that the second and third sentences of the proposed Amendment make clear that ratifying the Lisbon Treaty would abolish the European Community which Ireland joined in 1973 and  would establish in its place a new European Union on the basis of the Lisbon Treaty which would be constitutionally very different from the European Union that we are currently members of, or what that difference might be.

Nowhere in the Referendum Commission’s information material that you have sent to voters do you advert to the  fact that the Lisbon Treaty would confer on Irish citizens  an “additional” citizenship of the post-Lisbon European Union,  with associated citizens’ rights and duties vis-à-vis that Union, and what the implications of such a change might be.

 

One would think that there could be be few things more constitutionally important for citizens than being endowed with an additional citizenship. Yet you and your Commission say absolutely nothing about it in the “information” material you have circulated  – in violation of the provisions of the Act which gives you your authority.

 

You say nothing  about how the rights and duties that we would have as real citizens of  the constitutionally  new European Union which the Lisbon Treaty would establish would relate to our rights and duties as Irish citizens in the event of any conflicts arising between the two; or how the “additional” citizenship that Lisbon would endow us with differs from our essentially notional and symbolical EU “citizenship” of today.

 

It is clear that such a dereliction of duty on your part and that of your fellow Commissioners amounts to constitutional delinquency of a high order, as well as being a gross misuse of the ¤4 million of public money that you have been entrusted with. It will be interesting to see how future historians assess your actions.

 

As for yourself personally, instead of doing the job which the Referendum Acts impose on you, you have arrogated to yourself the task of answering questions on the Lisbon Treaty on the radio and in the press,  in which you give your personal opinions and judgements, whereas all statements by the Commission should be collectively agreed by its members, as the Referendum Acts clearly envisage.

 

In no way do the Referendum Acts authorise you to do the “solo runs” on radio and in the press that you have undertaken.  Your predecessor, retired Chief Justice TA Finlay, who was an exemplary chairman of the Referendum Commission between 1998 and 2002, would never have permitted this.

 

Some of the oral statements you have made, moreover, have been either false or misleading. From several l examples I could give, I quote two. A fortnight ago you accepted in response to a question on Morning Ireland that the right of Member State governments to “propose” and decide their National Commissioner would be changed by the Lisbon Treaty  into a right to make “suggestions” only,  effectively for the incoming Commission President to decide –  that key person’s appointment being in the gift of the Big States.

 

You added the rider however that you did not think this change was of much consequence.  You must be aware from previous private correspondence that I had with the Referendum Commission on behalf of my colleagues in our EU Research and Information Centre that many people on the No-side consider this be a Lisbon Treaty amendment of considerable consequence.  One way or another, its consequences are clearly a matter of political judgement which it is not your job as Referendum Commission chairman to make.

 

Last Friday I heard you state on Morning Ireland that the difference between the “additional” citizenship that we would have of  the post-Lisbon European Union and the notional or symbolical “complementary” EU citizenship we are said to have today was “of no great consequence” either, or words to that effect.  Yet the most cursory acquaintance with the constitutional changes which the Lisbon Treaty and the Constitutional Amendment to ratify it would bring about, shows that this is just not true.  Lisbon is the old Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe after all which the French and Dutch rejected in 2005, even if it implements that Constitution for Europe indirectly rather than directly.

 

You and your Referendum Commission colleagues still have some time left in which to fulfil your statutory function under the Referendum Acts that set you up. You still have a few days in which to do your duty to the Irish people whom you are profoundly failing at present, as they face their historic decision of next Friday with virtually nothing from you and your Referendum Commission colleagues which might give them “the general explanation of the subject matter” of  the Constitutional Amendment “and of its text”, on which they will be voting, as the Referendum Act requires.

 

On behalf of citizens all over the country who are deeply disquieted by the Referendum Commission’s failure to provide information on how the Lisbon Treaty would affect the Consitution, may I appeal to you to do that duty still and to carry out your statutory function under the Referendum Acts.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Anthony Coughlan

 

Director

President, Foundation for EU Democracy, Brussels

 

 

PS.  I intend to release this letter to the media this weekend and to circulate it widely to Irish opinion-leaders.

⚠ Spoofing the Irish media and public with Lisbon “guarantees” that guarantee nothing

The central point to grasp about the current EU Summit proceedings on the Lisbon Treaty is that Messrs Brian Cowen’s and Micheál Martin’s “legally binding guarantees” to meet Irish voters’ concerns do not change a jot or tittle of that Treaty.

If they changed even a comma, the Lisbon Treaty would become a different Treaty and would have to be ratified again from scratch by the National Parliaments of the 27 EU Member States.

EU politicians cannot change the treaties, or their effects, just by signing a new agreement: the Court of Justice will always say that the provisions of a fully ratified European Treaty trump any attempt to modify the operation of the Treaty through an unratified agreement.

EU treaties cannot be amended in any way unless the document embodying the amendments has been both signed by EU leaders, and then ratified by all EU Member States “in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements”. That is not happening here.

Thus the Lisbon Treaty which the Irish people will be voting on in the autumn will be exactly the same Treaty as the one which the majority of voters rejected in last year’s referendum by 53% to 47% on a 53% turnout.

If the Lisbon Treaty comes into force, it would be the EU Court of Justice which would interpret it, as the EU Court is the only body authorised under the European Treaties to interpret them and decide how they should be applied.

The “decision” or agreement of the European Council that certain provisions of the Lisbon Treaty mean such and such is just that – an agreement between the 27 Prime Ministers and Presidents. It is legally binding on them as individuals, but it is not an international Treaty between States which would require ratification by the 27 EU States putting it before their National Parliaments for approval, as is the normal mode of ratification of treaties.

The text of the introduction to the Summit “decision” states that it is made by the Heads of State or Government “desiring to address those (Irish) concerns in conformity with that Treaty”, viz the Lisbon Treaty.

Being in conformity with the Lisbon Treaty, the “decision” or agreement cannot add to or substract from Lisbon in the slightest, and it would be for the EU Court, and the Court alone, to decide what Lisbon and its manifold provisions would mean if Lisbon should come into force.

So far as one can ascertain, the Summit “decision” or “agreement” is not actually being signed by the 27 Prime Ministers and Presidents who agree it, as would be normal with an international Treaty pending its formal ratification. Note that it is not being called a Treaty, but rather a “decision” or “agreement”.

Formally registering this decision at the United Nations as a political agreement between the Prime Ministers and Presidents concerned, is intended to make it look more significant to the Irish public. This would confer on it a minor status in international law, but not in EU law. It would not and could not override EU law.

Some future meeting of the European Council of EU Prime Ministers and Presidents could make some other decision or agreement, possibly even in contradiction to this agreement, and that would be equally valuable or valueless, for it would not add to or take away from the Treaties one iota.

The whole process is meant to give the Irish media and public the impression that some real change is being made to the Lisbon Treaty, when nothing like that is happening.

Nor is the Summit “decision” or “agreement” a legally binding Protocol attached to Lisbon, which would form part of that Treaty and which would be binding in European law and on the EU Court of Justice in interpreting and applying European law. For that would require opening the Lisbon Treaty and ratifiying the new Protocol anew as part of it.

Promise of a special Irish Protocol or “clarificatory declaration” to be attached to some future EU Treaty, possibly years away, would be just that – a promise. It would not affect the Lisbon Treaty coming into force, with all its legal obligations. It would not prevent the constitutionally new European Union which Lisbon would create being established.

In no way could a promised Protocol to some future EU Treaty resile or pull back from the obligations entailed by the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty once Lisbon had come into force.

What could such a promised future Protocol do in any case, for Ireland is not seeking any opt-outs from the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty?

In 1992 when the Danish people voted No to the Maastricht Treaty, its Government sought and secured legally binding opt-outs from the central provisions of Maastricht – the euro-currency, EU military and security commitments, and Maastricht’s provisions on EU citizenship. These provisions of Maastricht were never applied to Denmark and that position was formally recognised by a Protocol in the EU Treaties at the time of the 1998 Amsterdam Treaty, and these Danish opt-outs still apply.

Nothing like that is being sought by Ireland, whose Government has signed up to and accepted the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty and the EU Constitution which it embodies in their entirety.

That is just as true now as it was last year.

(Signed)

Anthony Coughlan
(Contact for further information: 01-8305792 )

The Irish Government lines up with Brussels against the Irish people

* Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Minister Michael Martin give in to Franco-German and EU Commission pressure to permit the remaining Lisbon ratifications to continue, when they could have stopped these by saying that Ireland cannot and will not ratify the Lisbon Treaty, as the Irish people have rejected it.

* The Irish Government lines up with Brussels against the Irish people rather than stands by the people’s democratic decision of last week to defend it vis-a-vis Brussels – so as to bring about a 26/1 situation by year’s end with which to bludgeon Irish voters in a referendum re-run.

* Talk of “respecting” Ireland’s vote turns out in practice to be a cover for setting out to overturn it in a referendum re-run, with Brian Cowen’s, Michael Martin’s and Dick Roche’s full support – and behind a thick barrier of hypocrisy, spoofing and lies.

Friday 20 June 2008

* These are the three principal lies Irish Government Ministers and the EU people are telling to hide their first steps towards preparing this Lisbon referendum re-run:

* LIE NO.1: That the nine EU States that have not yet ratified Lishon have a “right” to do so irrespective of the Irish No. There is no such right under either EU law or customary international law. Brian Cowen could stop any further ratifications by saying to his EU partners that he respects the Irish No, that because of that there is no question of trying to overturn it by re-running the referendum, and that therefore Lisbon is dead because Ireland cannot ratify it and there is no point any other ratifications continuing, for Lisbon cannot come into force unless all 27 ratify it. British Foreign Secretary David Milliband underlined this point last weekend when he said that it depended on Brian Cowen whether Lisbon was alive or dead.

* LIE No. 2: Minister Dick Roche was up to this usual spoofery on “Morning Ireland” today when he attacked Patricia McKenna for saying that the French and Dutch Governments stopped further ratifications of the EU Constitution in 2005 after their peoples voted No in their referendums. Minister Roche said that Luxembourg held a referendum on this Treaty after the French and Dutch No and in his usual gentlemanly fashion accused Ms McKenna of “telling lies”. In fact, as the Minister is well aware, the Luxembourg referendum was held shortly after the French and Dutch referendums but BEFORE the French and Dutch Governments decided they would not re-run them, and therefore that they could not ratify the Constitutional Treaty – which led the remaining EU States, including Ireland, to abandon further ratifications at that time.

Messrs Cowen, Martin and Roche are spoofing like this, with their EU confreres helping them, to try to cover up the fact that the Irish Government is urging the nine remaining EU States to continue with their ratifications so as to bring about a 26/1 situation which can then be used to pressurise the Irish people to turn their No into a Yes in a second Lisbon referendum.

It is Messrs Cowen, Martin and Roche who are failing to “respect” the Irish people’s No vote by effectively telling the other EU States not to respect it either, but to continue with their ratifications. Why should the other EU States respect last Thursday’s referendum result when the Irish Government does not respect it, but sets out rather to subvert it, as they decided to do even while the voting tallies were being counted on Friday morning last?

Remember Foreign Minister Martin saying at luncthtime on the day of the count that “of course” the remaining ratifications would continue. Remember Commission President Barroso’s at his press conference held before the count was even finished, following a phone chat with Taoiseach Cowen, saying the same thing.

If Messrs Cowen, Martin and Roche had a scintilla of the political courage and statesmanship of the founder of their Party, they would be telling their EU counterparts that they had no alternative but to open up Lisbon and work out a better Treaty for Ireland, for Europe and for a more democratic EU, instead of the supranational EU Federation, with laws made on a population basis, which is what is on offer in Lisbon.

* LIE NO.3: That the other EU States can go ahead with the Lisbon Treaty provisions under the rules for “enhanced cooperation”. The barrack-room lawyers of the Irish media are speaking here. It is the enhanced cooperation rules of the EU Treaties as amended by the Nice Treaty that currently apply. It is nonsense to suggest that the enhanced cooperation provisions of one Treaty, viz. Nice, can be used to bring into force the far wider provisions of another Treaty, viz. Lisbon.

* NB: The number of EU Commissioners must be decided unanimously.
Under the current Nice Treaty(Protocol on the enlargement of the EU, Article 4), a reduction in the number of Commissioners to fewer than the number of Member States must be decided unanimously in 2009. Under the Lisbon Treaty(Article 17.5 TEU) the number of Commissioners must be reduced by two-thirds from 2014, “unless the European Council, acting unanimously, decides to alter this number.”

At their next summit meeting in October or December the European Council of Prime Ministers and Presidents will make a “European decision” that when it comes to allocating EU Commissioners in 2014 in the post-Lisbon EU, Ireland and all Member States will be permitted to retain a permanent Commissioner, although in practice there may be senior and junior Commissioners. Because both the Nice and Lisbon Treaties lay down that arrangements for the Commission require unanimity, a commitment on these lines can be given without opening Lisbon.

Taoiseach Cowen will present this as a triumph for Irish diplomacy, while his EU colleagues will smile cynically to themselves. Then various Declarations will be given – to meet Irish concerns on company taxation, human rights, neutrality etc. – which will be tagged on to the Lisbon Treaty, but wll not alter a jot or tittle of its contents.

What threats or implicit threats will be needed to go with these promises? The most obvious one is that Irish voters will be told, as they were not told over the past months – that the Lisbon Treaty aims to establish a constitutionally new Federal Union and that the Irish must decide whether they want to be members of this or not, or do they want to keep the present EU as it stands under the Nice Treaty rules.

The other Member States still cannot ratify Lisbon and establish this new Union without Ireland’s agreement. But the hope will be that this mix of promises and implicit threats will suffice to overturn the Irish people’s No in Lisbon One and turn it into a Yes in Lisbon Two.

A peaceable democratic popular revolt in Ireland and across the EU is needed to prevent this happening and to prevent the anti-democratic Lisbon Treaty-cum EU-Constitution being clamped on most of the peoples of our continent.

– Anthony Coughlan

(Secretary)

Irish Referendum, Treaty of Lisbon: Some Myths

SOME MYTHS ABOUT THE LISBON TREATY

Myth 1. LISBON WILL MAKE THE EU MORE EFFICIENT:
If you get rid of democracy and the need to consult with people, you can certainly get more laws passed. But will they be good laws? Is that more efficient government? When it comes to law-making it is quality that counts, not quantity. Hitler could issue new laws ever five minutes, but were they good laws?

The advent of 12 new Member States has not made the negotiation of new EU laws more difficult since they joined the EU. On the contrary, a study by the Science-Politique University in Paris calculated that new rules have been adopted a quarter times more quickly since the enlargement from 15 to 27 Member States in 2004 as compared with the two years before enlargement. The study also showed that the 15 older Member States block proposed EU laws twice as often as the newcomers. Professor Helen Wallace of the London School of Economics has found that the EU institutions are working as well as they ever did despite the enlargement of the EU from 15 to 27 members. She found that “the evidence of practice since May 2004 suggests that the EU’s institutional processes and practice have stood up rather robustly to the impact of enlargement.” The Nice Treaty voting arrangements thus seem to be working well.

Myth 2. LISBON ENABLES THE EU TO DEAL WITH CLIMATE CHANGE:
Lisbon would commit the EU to “promoting measures at international level to deal with regional or worldwide environmental problems and in particular combating climate change”(Art. 191.1 TFEU). This is laudable, but its significance has been “spun” out of all proportion. Note that the action is “at international level”. It does not give the EU new powers internally. Any internal actions on environmental problems would have to be reconciled with the EU’s rules on distorting competition, safeguarding the internal market and sustaining the energy market. Combatting climate change can carry heavy costs. EU targets for carbon dioxide reduction in Ireland announced earlier this year would cost Ireland €1000 million a year if implemented, which would average some €500 per household. In fact the EU’s carbon reduction targets would impose a heavier relative burden on Ireland than on any other EU country. Also note the absurdity that the new Treaty reference is to combatting climate-change, without qualification. It is not just “man-made” climate change. So the EU is going to take on things affecting climate-change which are not of human origin, like sunspot cycle as well!

Myth 3: LISBON MAKES THE EU MORE DEMOCRATIC:
Lisbon provides that if one-third of National Parliaments object to the Commission’s proposal for an EU law, the Commission must reconsider it, but not necessarily abandon it (Protocol on the Application of the Principles of Subsidiarity and Proportionality, Art.7.2). It might review the draft law, or if it considered the objection was not justified, it might ignore it. This right to complain, for that is what it is, is not an increase in the powers of National Parliaments, as it has been widely misrepresented as being, but is symbolic rather of their loss of real power. To say that it is an increase in the power of National Parliaments to “control”, or even to affect, EU legislation is a blatant lie. Lisbon takes away major law-making powers from National Parliaments. It would give power to the EU to legislate in relation to some 32 new policy areas, thereby removing these areas from decision by National Parliaments. It also gives the EU the power to decide many other matters.

Lisbon would increase the power of the European Parliament by giving it many new areas of new EU law which it could propose amendments to, but that does not compensate National Parliaments and the citizens who elect National Parliaments, for their loss of power to decide. The new EU laws would still be PROPOSED exclusively by the non-elected Commission and would then be MADE primarily by the Council of Ministers, mainly on the basis of population-based voting. The EU Parliament can only amend these EU laws if the Commission and Council agree. Ireland would have 12 members out of 750 in the European Parliament under Lisbon,a reductuon from the current 13. When we had 100 out of 600 MPs in the 19th century UK Parliament, the Irish people were not that happy with the laws that were passed there. Yet Westminster was a real Parliament which decided all UK laws. The Irish representatives could propose laws in it, as they cannot do in the European Parliament.

If someone says that it is the National Government which really decides what laws are passed in the Dail or Parliament, because the majority of TDs or MPs belong to the Government party, and the EU Commission is acting like a national government in proposing EU laws, the obvious reply is that National Governments are elected by National Parliaments, who in turn are elected by the national citizens. But the EU “Government”, the Commission, is not elected. It is appointed by the Commission President and the EU Prime Ministers and Presidents on the basis of qualified majority voting.

[27/05/2005] False statements about EU Constitution

EU CONSTITUTION: TWO SERIOUS FALSE STATEMENTS IN TODAY'S IRISH TIMES

- Statement by Anthony Coughlan
__________________________________________________________

THE NATIONAL PLATFORM EU RESEARCH AND INFORMATION CENTRE
24 Crawford Avenue
Dublin 9

Tel.: +00-353-1-8305792

Friday 27 May 2005

Two significant false statements  on the EU Constitution in today's Irish
Times  - by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and that paper's European Correspondent,
Denis Staunton:

In his  article supporting the proposed EU Constitution in today's Irish
Times (P.16)Taoiseach Bertie Ahern makes one  quite inaccurate statement.
He says that the EU Constitution "includes significant new powers for
national parliaments."

It includes nothing of the kind.  The EU Constitution would remove over 60
further national vetoes on top of those already  removed by previous EC/EU
treaties. Half of these would be in new policy areas where the EU, not
National Parliaments,  would henceforth make the laws. The other half would
substitute qualified majority voting for unanimity in making EU laws in
relation to policy areas that are already with the EU.  This means that
National Parliaments and Governments would lose their power to decide
matters for some 60 policy areas.

The EU Constitution does not give National Parliaments a single new power.
Its Protocol on Subsidiarity provides that National Parliaments must be
informed in advance of proposals for new EU laws, and if one-third of  the
25 Pariaments  think that a particular proposal goes too far and they
object to it, the proposal must be "reviewed" by the Brussels Commission,
but the Commission and Council of Ministers can still go ahead with it.
Contrary to what Taoiseach Ahern claims, this is not a "significant new
power" for National Parliaments. It is not new, for National Parliaments
can object already.  It is not a power, for they can object all they like
and the Commission can go on ignoring them. What National Parliaments get
in this provision of the EU Constitution is  more like a new right to be
ignored.

If  the Taoseach wishes for a proper national debate on the proposed EU
Constitution, as he says he does, he should not himself make such
fundamental misrepresentations regarding what is in the Treaty.

Under the heading "No vote will not kill constitution" (P.11)the same
paper's EU Correspondent, Denis Staunton, makes a seriously inaccurate
statement which could have a fundamentally misleading effect on public
attitudes to what should be done following a posssible No vote to the EU
Constitution in France or Holland.  Mr Staunton writes:  "According to the
Constitution, if at least four-fifths of the member states ratify it by
November next year and the others are unable to do so, 'the matter will be
referred to the European Council' of EU leaders."

Contrary to what Denis Staunton states, this is not "according to the
constitution". The EU Constitution contains no such provision, and even if
it did, how could States be bound by the provisions of a document that is
not yet ratified?

What Denis Staunton misleadingly refers to as "part of the constitution" is
a political Declaration, No.30,  that is attached to the Constitution but
is not  legally part of it, and which was adopted by the Intergovernmental
Conference  that drafted  the final  Treaty-cum-Constitution. This
Declaration reads:  "The Conference notes that if, two years after the
signature of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe, four fifths
of the Member States have ratified it and one or more Member States have
encountered difficulties in proceeding with ratification, the matter will
be referred to the European Council."

Note that the Declaration states that "IF Š four fifths of the Member
States  have ratified."  This is not an obligation on them to proceed with
ratification if one Member State has  said No and the others decide to
respect that No.  The terms of this Declaration, which is not of course
itself  a Treaty,  make quite clear that the decision by other EU States
to ignore  a possible No vote in France or Holland and to proceed with
ratification in other States as if  a French or Dutch No could be reversed
or over-ruled, is a purely political  matter -  without any legal force
behind it.  It would be an attempt by politicians, bureaucrats and
propagandists to bully the people of the country concerned to get them to
change their minds.

This is the kind of outrageously undemocratic  behaviour that Ireland's
political elite engaged in in this country when voters rejected the Nice
Treaty in June 2001.  When that happened, Taoiseach  Bertie Ahern could
have told his EU partners that he wished the ratification process to stop.
Instead he when to  the EU summit in Gothenburg the week afterwards to
apologise to them for the way the Irish people had voted, told them to
ignore that vote and to go ahead with ratifying the Nice Treaty, and that
he would re-run the referendum and get a different result  by means of
changing the referendum rules  and securing the help of other EU
politicians to threaten, bully and cajole the Irish electorate a second
time around.

French Prime Minister Raffarin has satated that there will be no second
vote in France - thereby  showing more respect for his people than
Taoiseach Ahern did for his - and showing also that he  is aware of what
the significance of a Treaty Declaration.

For his article Denis Staunton dredges up some Professor of Politics in
Edinburgh - presumably some Jean Monnet Professor? - to state, quite
falsely, that there is an obligation under international law for the EU
Member States to continue trying to ratify this Treaty when one State has
rejected it.

There is  no such obligation. Where could such an "obligation" come from?
The Declaration referred to is not an international treaty and imposes no
legal obligation whatever. It is a statement of intention in hypothetical
circumstances: namely, that the 25 Governments would discuss the matter if
four-fifths of EU States did not ratifiy the Treaty.  But that does not
amount to a requirement that they should go ahead with their own
ratifications while ignoring No votes in some countries, contrary to what
Mr Stanton and his Edinburgh Politics Professor state.  That would be a
political decision. It  would not be legally required.

It is surprising that such an experienced correspondent as Mr Staunton does
not seem to know the difference between a Declaration attached to a Treaty,
which is a political  statement but not legally binding as part of that
treaty, and a Treaty's substantive Articles and Protocols, which are
legally binding.  If Mr Staunton had enquired a little harder he might have
found someone properly qualified in international law who would have been
be able to tell him what was in the EU Constitution and what was not and
who could explain the legal/political weight that might attach to political
Delarations.

One suspects that Denis Staunton is merely echoing and seeking to drum up
support for the policy line now being pushed by the eurocrats of the EU
Commission and the many eurofanatics and eurobullies across the EU who want
to ignore a possible No vote by the people of either France or Holland in
their referendums, so as to keep their precious  Constitution project on
the road, from which they stand to gain so much personally themselves.

This is playing politics and pushing EU propaganda, not  good journalism.
It us unfortunate that so many European correspondents who "go native" in
Brussels seem unable to tell the difference.

Signed: Anthony Coughlan
(01)830 57902
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