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Irish No sparks EU crisis

Mark Mardell | 15:55 UK time, Friday, 13 June 2008

What does Ireland's No mean for the European Union? Here is a longer version of my thoughts for Radio 4's 1800 bulletin.

This is a multiple crisis. The Lisbon Treaty itself is a watered-down version of the European constitution, which was abandoned after it was rejected in referendums in France and the Netherlands three years ago. Lisbon was only stitched together after tortuous negotiations, carefully balancing the competing wishes and concerns of 27 countries. To go back to the drawing board is unthinkable to those who would have to do the work, as well as fairly pointless.

So it's a crisis about what happens to the ambitions and the rule changes in the documents.

Some politicians, particularly in France, will want Ireland to vote again - perhaps after a concession allowing all countries to keep a commissioner.

But it is also a crisis about legitimacy. The Irish voted No to the Nice Treaty in 2001 and were asked to vote again a year later. That time they said Yes. The Danish voted No to the Maastricht Treaty in 1992 - and voted Yes a year later. The French and Dutch rejected the constitution in 2005 and the leaders designed Lisbon instead.

If Ireland is asked to vote again, voices saying that the EU doesn't understand the word "no" can only grow louder. In the end Lisbon could be declared dead. Some bits would be implemented without a treaty, others abandoned and others put into a new treaty when Croatia joins the EU in a couple of years' time. So it's also a moral crisis: we face another few years of potentially boring navel-gazing, when some European leaders say the only way to sell the EU is to deal with things like climate change, immigration and terrorism.

Friday 13th may turn out to be very unlucky indeed for those who believe in the EU project... not that it will stop them trying to press ahead regardless.

Comments

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  • 1. At 4:04pm on 13 Jun 2008, steve5312 wrote:

    I do sometimes wonder how much of this is actually to do with benefiting the member states, and how much is simply for the sake of it.

    People inherently distrust the EU machine. This is why we throw our arms up at any sign of being sucked further into it. You wouldn't want to work for a company that was rife with corruption, accounts unaudited year after year, and a nasty tendency of sacking people who try to make it more efficient. Yet this is what the EU is beckoning us to do.

    The "One Europe" idea is a noble one, but it's a victim of its own mismanagement.

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  • 2. At 4:07pm on 13 Jun 2008, the-real-truth wrote:

    There should be no crisis.

    The politicians mearly need to do what the people want them to do.

    The politicians must stop trying to make the people do what they want them to do.

    It really is terribly simple.

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  • 3. At 4:10pm on 13 Jun 2008, qxlol8 wrote:


    "unlucky indeed for those who believe in the EU project... not that it will stop them trying to press ahead regardless."

    And that is exactly the problem with Europhiles. They are so convinced they are right that contrary views are not just ignored - They have to be crushed.

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  • 4. At 4:10pm on 13 Jun 2008, mvdejong wrote:

    ... The French and Dutch rejected the constitution in 2005 ...

    and since it was perfectly clear that both populations would vote NO again, and probably with an even larger majority this time around, we weren't even given a chance to vote (for which the Dutch version of the Labour Party broke the promise they made before our local elections).

    Three cheers for the Irish, who saved us.

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  • 5. At 4:11pm on 13 Jun 2008, missmakeitright wrote:

    The fact that EU politicians are forcing this down voters throats should be a clear sign to the people to lthink twice about why they are doing it...the naked ambitions of politicians is so strong you can tast it and if the EU citizens let them get away with this, and blatantly ignore the will of it's citizens (as shown in the repeated No votes over the years) then Europe deserves everything it gets...which is sad beyond words.

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  • 6. At 4:12pm on 13 Jun 2008, mcdv1975 wrote:

    Don't be fooled Mark. The vast majority of people all across the EU member states were denied referendums. Why? Because the political elite knew we would vote NO.

    What I don't understand is, which part of NO NO NO does the Brussels crowd not understand?

    We are ALL for economic cooperation, but in majority we are against further political integration.

    And also, the people that voted NO were better informed than those who blindly voted YES without even knowing the slightest bit about the Treaty. Three years ago in Netherlands/France it was the same, the more debate there was, the more information we got, the more we voted against it. Don't expect the pro-EU/anti-parliamentary democracy crowd to acknowledge that, though.

    For the benefit of some of the pro-EU crowd, I repeat: peoples did not elect their national parliaments and governments so those parliaments/governments could abdicate their responsibilities and hand legislative and executive powers over to unelected mutually-appointed Brussels politicians. There is NO mandate for these power transfers (which have always been a one-way street. The EU system is not, and never has been (and was never intended to be) democratic in any way.

    Questions for the pro-EU crowd: how is it an improvement to move legislative powers from directly elected parliaments to unelected Brussels politicians who are not subject to meaningful parliamentary control?

    How is it democratic that government ministers can go to Brussels, agree with their colleagues in the Council and together with the Commission can completely bypass and sideline the directly elected national parliaments? Whatever happened to parliamentary scrutiny?

    Again I say: thank you Ireland for doing what the majority across the EU would have done.

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  • 7. At 4:12pm on 13 Jun 2008, -StuartC- wrote:

    The EU should stop trying to ram the same old centralisation formula down people's throats.

    It's the same path they've been on since the 1950s and time has moved on.

    We all want to co-operate - of course. But it's clear few want the EU recipe of blanket conforming political integration.

    Only when we understand that the EU is only about the latter - about pushing forward an outdated superstate ideology - will we get some genuine thinking about more appealing alternative ways Europe can work together in the 21st century.

    Structures that deliver essential co-operation, but unlike today's EU respect democracy and Europe's diversity.

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  • 8. At 4:16pm on 13 Jun 2008, Rhuaidhri wrote:

    I Pro European but voted No. I and everyone I discussed this with before today were going to vote no but not because of any of the headline NO camp arguements. In fact you could say we voted no in spite of the NO camp.

    The main concerns are.

    1. QVM. The treaty does not seem to limit what areas QVM will be applied to.

    2. Under the very deliberatelty loose wording of the Treaty and wording of the constitutional changes, it seems like a future Government could ratify future Treaty changes with having to go to the country.

    3. Also with QVM and the new structure, there is not enough power given to the parliament, the council still gets to have its closed meetings and decide things without much accountablity, it that way the treaty is flawed.

    4. Further to that, it was all well and good 20 years ago when Ireland was a net gainer of EU funds that the big countries who also happened to be the big donors at the time correctly got to decide where the money went. But now that we give a more than we take shouldn’t we also have more of a say on how our taxes are spent?

    I would also have to say the information was not easy to understand, in fact it can’t be because the treaty is so badly worded that lots of areas are very much open to interpretation. It would take the European Court years to make all the rulings needed to make it clear what exactly is in this treaty.

    I and many others had to reread the Referendum Commission booklet a number of times to get a clear idea of what they were trying to say. It is very poorly written and could have been presented a lot better.

    Given the very flawed nature of the Treaty there was only so much they could do. However I also had the feeling that they were trying to say, never mind it’s all to complicated for you to understand, just vote yes.

    While I commend anyone else who made the effort to research prior to voting the idea was that in matters such as this the Referendum Commission should have presented clear and balanced information. People should not have to go out and find it. If people are feeling very confused it is only right that they should vote no.

    It can be very dangerous to agree to something you don’t understand.

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  • 9. At 4:16pm on 13 Jun 2008, DutchNemo wrote:

    I think you're right Mark. The Lisbon Treaty is dead in theory but in practice she's alive. The European Union will be reformed even without a new treaty.

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  • 10. At 4:21pm on 13 Jun 2008, The_Guvnor wrote:

    I've got a radical idea.

    Scrap the EU in it's current for and go back to what it was originally designed for, a mechanism for trade.

    Everyone would vote yes on that.

    No one however will vote for the current situation of having national soverignty stipped and being dictated to by an unaccountable corrupt faceless regime overseas gorging themselves on champagne and truffles and going for "fact finding missions" to the Carribean to top up their tan at my expense.

    Which exact part of that last paragraph is so hard to understand for the self serving pigs in Brussells? Or are they truly as thick as they think us proles are?

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  • 11. At 4:23pm on 13 Jun 2008, pfgpowell wrote:

    I can fully accept that having an EU of 27 states is unworkable under present arrangements, but is it not obvious to all the EU wonks that coming up with a change of rules and arrangements which is less ambitious but do command universal acceptance is the answer. But no, they insist on constructing what is, to all intents and purposes - and despite denial a overarching superstate, complete with head of state and standing army. The secret is to take the people with you and I am not aware that there is huge ongoing clamouring for these arrangements. If you impose from the top down you will, sooner or later meet with trouble. Smaller states especially, such as Ireland which has only relatively recently gained true independence. are vulnerable to getting lost among the big boys and girls, so it comes as no surprise to me that the Irish have said 'no'.

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  • 12. At 4:24pm on 13 Jun 2008, stuartstearn wrote:

    Lisbon Treaty. The EU needs a much simpler constitution that sets out the principles by which it will be bound, cf US Constitution, and ask the citizens to vote on it. It can then operate legitimately with a Parliament to make laws according to this constitution with a european court to provide a challenge when the parliament or the executive bodies fail to follow it. The present process is arrogant in the extreme and must bring into question the legitimacy of the un-elected commission and its works. I cannot be alone in thinking this.

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  • 13. At 4:27pm on 13 Jun 2008, djfuddy wrote:

    Its now a problem? Why? a democratic vote has said NO.
    Other countries will now ask for Ireland to vote again, viva democracy!!!

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  • 14. At 4:34pm on 13 Jun 2008, aitalan wrote:

    Propaganda, propaganda, propaganda. In the last years (in part thanks to Mr Blair) a new concept has emerged and been used by politicians (seconded by journalists and every one who is in a position to manipulate the public opinion) which is the inevitability of the decisions beeing taken and the menace of the catastrophic consequences that will follow if things are not done the way they want. This is, of course, totally false, and it's making us drift into anthoritarianism.
    This was a bad treaty. Taking all new decisions by majoriry, specially the double majority (majority of votes plus majority of population) would mean that the same 6 or 7 biggest countries in the EU would allways take all the decisions, and that smaller countries would become simple "provinces" of this new "empire". This isn't what was had been foreseen in the early treaties, which allowed the interests of every single EU member state to be taken into consideration, by requiring unanimity. Furthermore, all new EU legislation would be immediately applicable throughout the EU without consultation to the national parliaments, and this, really, is an organisation that reminds me of the soviet empire and its satellite countries.
    What makes a difference between democracy and totalitarianism, is that decisions are not taken by a few and imposed on others, even if they say that they are doing it for your own good, but by all through vote.
    And if politicians challenge the validity of a referendum saying that people do not now what they are voting about, that's their own fault for not explaining clearly what the treaty means. When they get elected, are they ready to challenge the comprehension of people who voted for them?
    If the politicians in Brussels and in Lisbon were unable to agree in any other form of a treaty, that's their problem - they will just have to come up with something else that would be acceptable to all, and takes into account everyone's interests.
    As for the repetition of the vote, that's funny - why, when people say YES, don't they repeat the votes in two years' time to see if they have changed their mind? It seems like kidplay, when a young bully who's leading the game keeps changing the rules in order to maintain his leadership.
    Apalling!

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  • 15. At 4:35pm on 13 Jun 2008, LovelyTim wrote:

    Hooray for the Irish!

    Isn't it about time the ruling elite took notice and changed fundamental track on European integration.

    The people of Europe are from proud individual nations and just don't want to be forced into a United States of Europe.

    The EU and its leaders should define the final end goal of the EU, because right now it is just creeping along to an unknown destination that most people fear.

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  • 16. At 4:36pm on 13 Jun 2008, Fredcringe wrote:

    I am delighted that the Irish have rejected the Lisbon Treaty; but alarmed that the British Government say they will go ahead with ratification. The British people have not been given the chance to voice their opinion, and are being dictated to by the Government. If only someone would trigger a vote of no confidence in Gordon Brown, and hopefully, give him a lesson in Democracy.

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  • 17. At 4:40pm on 13 Jun 2008, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    I have just been listening to Jose Manuel Barroso and have got to restrain myself from banging my head on the table !

    He is waffling on about 'considering what to do ', 'the treaty is not dead' and that Ireland is only one country out of 27.

    Yet 100% of the countries offered a referendum have said NO.

    There are no countries offered a referendum which have said 'Yes'.

    One is tempted to trot out the old chestnut that 'If voting changed anything, they'd abolish it.'

    The facile assertion that this is just a 'problem' and that when there are 27 countries, one country can't hold the others hostage. Well, they should have thought of that before embarking on such an overblown and ridiculously overambitious 'project' to try and deal with 27 countries and economies as though they were one nation.

    Ridiculous.

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  • 18. At 4:41pm on 13 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:

    I'm not pleased by the Irish result, but my optimism over Europe goes on. Why? There are two powerful reasons supported by a majority:

    1. No country since EU was created 50 years ago has wanted to quit, including the UK.

    2. There's a general agreement that improving this Union is needed, no matter if we last 2 or 20 years in doing so.

    The fact we want to stay together is crucial if we consider there are:

    - 27 countries, with huge differences in population and level of welfare,

    - 3 main cultural/linguistic groups (Germanic, Latin and Slavic),

    - 3 main religious traditions (Protestantism, Catholicism and Orthodoxy).

    Therefore it will never be easy to find a common ground for everybody, but still we're trying very hard. And we will.

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  • 19. At 4:43pm on 13 Jun 2008, kentishobserver wrote:

    At last a blow for democracy -- as a lot of French bloggers are saying, the I

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  • 20. At 4:44pm on 13 Jun 2008, DutchNemo wrote:

    The Irish 'No' vote should mean the European Union has to go back to the drawing table. That would be the most democratic solution to the current crisis. However, as Mark Mardell pointed out this will probably not happen neither another 'Nice'. Lisbon isn't dead and the European Union will be reformed. It will just take somewhat longer. I agree with Mark Mardell on this issue.

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  • 21. At 4:47pm on 13 Jun 2008, nigswanner wrote:

    The political leaders of the European countries need to take the stand if they want success. They should come to an agreement as they see fit, and they should put their backing behind it, on a basis where it would be reviewed every 5-10 years. Then they'll be judged on their sucess by the electorate, and there would be no blaming the citizens.

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  • 22. At 4:48pm on 13 Jun 2008, kentishobserver wrote:

    At last a blow for European democracy. The Irish have voted for the rest of Europe as many French bloggers are saying this afternoon. The EU will continue but perhaps instead of continually trying to impose increasing political federation on its citizens, its politicians will now be persuaded to leave things along. What the EU needs is much more pragmatism and common sense and less grand standing political initiatives. Lets have an end to the continual change for change's sake -- which is normally at the taxpayers expense.

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  • 23. At 4:52pm on 13 Jun 2008, Beachhut wrote:

    Ireland the land of the free... They have been trusted to vote and they have decided.
    The rest of us are being treated like fools in that we are being told that its not something we need to vote on.

    What now for Europe? Every country should ask its people to vote whether they are in or out, simple as that I think the gravy train should hit the buffers.

    Well done and thank you Ireland

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  • 24. At 4:53pm on 13 Jun 2008, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    Another thing that annoys me is that when people vote 'NO', there are all sorts of vapid excuses about..:-

    * They didn't understand it

    * They were voting about issues unrelated to Europe

    * They need to be given another chance

    * They cannot stop the momentum of the EU juggernaut to irrevocable union

    Yet when they are told to vote again, and end up voting 'Yes', then we are fed the lie that they did this because they.. :-

    * Fully understood it.

    * They were voting only on the European issue.

    * They were expressing pure unalloyed love for EU integration and huge affection for the lack of democracy of the EU institutions.

    Well, we've swallowed these lies for long enough, and the scales have fallen from our eyes and the fight back starts NOW !!!

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  • 25. At 4:59pm on 13 Jun 2008, randomxnp wrote:

    In a news item on the website with no by line one of your ellow reporters has written "The Lisbon Treaty replaces a more ambitious draft constitution that was rejected by French and Dutch voters in 2005".

    This is of course a political viewpoint, very strongly rejected by many on both sides of the European divide. Many (outside the UK) who support the Treaty have claimed it is essentially the same as the constitution, as do most who oppose it. Why is this claim which is highly politically controversial in the UK being stated as fact on a BBC news item?

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  • 26. At 5:24pm on 13 Jun 2008, RatchettPatchettII wrote:

    Profound thanks to the Irish.

    Creeping authoritarianism has been staved off for a little bit longer.

    We know they'll be asked to vote again...no doubt until the people of Ireland come up with what the EU believe is the 'right' answer...but, who knows, by then, we might in the UK have got rid of this government and have a new government in.. Is it too much to hope that any concessions negotiated by the Irish would provide a new regime an ample opportunity to hold a referendum here, as promised?

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  • 27. At 5:37pm on 13 Jun 2008, Mark M Newdick wrote:

    So, if the EU wants the Irish to vote again and they end up voting "Yes", does that mean that we can ask them to vote a 3rd time ... just to see if they really mean it?

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  • 28. At 5:44pm on 13 Jun 2008, artydodge wrote:

    There are striking similarities in Irish vote breakdown with the French and Dutch referenda in terms of socio-economics. Middle class urban areas such as Dublin South voted 60-40 in favour while the reverse was the case for working class and rural areas.

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  • 29. At 5:46pm on 13 Jun 2008, chriskingfleet wrote:

    This extract from the BBC web-site report on the Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty is not acceptable.

    "The treaty was due to come into force on 1 January 2009.

    Fourteen countries out of the 27 have completed ratification so far.

    Just over three million Irish voters are registered - in a European Union of 490 million people.

    In 2001, Irish voters almost wrecked EU plans to expand eastwards when they rejected the Nice treaty. It was only passed in a much-criticised second vote."

    The implication is that a "mere" 3 million had the temerity to oppose the wishes of a vast majority.

    The simple fact is that the Irish are obliged to allow their citizens to vote on issues that could affect their constitution.

    How many other countries have "allowed" their citizens to express an opinion?

    Last time around (and let's be honest, the Lisbon deal is a slightly watered down version of the Constitution, deliberately made confusing so politicians can say it is too comlex for "ordinary" people to understand) - French and Dutch voters rejected it.

    They have not been allowed to express an opinion this time round.

    I'd suggest that every constituent writes to his MP, asking for him or her to sign an affidavite that they have actually read the Lisbon Treaty, understand what it implies and identifies exactly where the so-called UK red lines are enshrined in it.

    I've looked. I can't find them, but no doubt our politicians can immediately pin-point which page and paragraph I should check.

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  • 30. At 5:51pm on 13 Jun 2008, OhNeverMind wrote:

    Such good news. Well done in dear old Eire. I love Europe, but hate the undemocratic nature of the current structure. If we want a federal Europe - then do it like the United STATES of A. But that would work because of such widely different political, legal, economic and cultural structures.

    So we need a different idea. Maybe going backwards for a change. To the trading partners only idea. Much less discontent with Europe then!

    All we have now is a mammoth bureaucratic heap with too few means to scrutinise its operations. Hence the £445,000-00 expense claim of one British MEP. Multiply that by.....27 countries x how many MEPs?

    It's a subject we're far too complacent about.

    We'll just have to do as we're told. Eh?

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  • 31. At 5:54pm on 13 Jun 2008, jon_toronto wrote:

    They should've designed the treaty so that the other countries can go ahead anyway, kicking countries like Ireland out of the EU.

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  • 32. At 6:00pm on 13 Jun 2008, decsramble wrote:

    I am one of the defeated Irish Yes voters but I accept the right of the majority to vote No. The EU must itself accept the simple fact that the majority of people in the whole EU who were given a vote have now voted No.

    It is not our fault that only a handful of politicians in every other country were allowed to vote on the Treaty. Before France or Germany come to complain about our No vote they should first allow their own people to vote.

    Democratic governments cannot be afraid of a public vote on a referendum or next they will be afraid of a public vote on the government itself. Democracy dies quickly in committee rooms and civil service offices where an elite declare they know better than the people they claim to serve.

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  • 33. At 6:00pm on 13 Jun 2008, need4reality wrote:

    The myth of the "Marian seal" on the European Union flag

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  • 34. At 6:10pm on 13 Jun 2008, Frenchlily wrote:

    Mr Mardell, I reiterate my question asked earlier on but not published:
    Why would the process of ratification continue when it was stated clearly from the beginning that ALL member states must agree to it right?'
    If it continues, doesn't it show how contemptuous and arrogant the Brussels eurocrats are to the citizens?
    What the citizens of Europe want is simply a return to the EUROPEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY and not a politico-military and antidemocratic institution or let's be frank, a secret society...
    Don't the Euro politicians read and see how passionate people on this forum are about them?? Are they choosing once again to ignore the vox populi?

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  • 35. At 6:10pm on 13 Jun 2008, chris smith wrote:

    I can answer how the EU should on now that this treaty should be declared dead.Answer a 2 tier EU all have a vote on the matter those who are in and those who are not put the vote to the people in a democratic way.But they wont do that even the french and germans would vote against it

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  • 36. At 6:11pm on 13 Jun 2008, caseytoo wrote:

    Three cheers for the Irish - sensible lot that they are. The EU has been dead in the water for years and only the vested interests of over-paid bureaucrats and politicians keep it alive. The principle is still valid though. So why don't the British have the courage to put forward a radical and sensible new agenda - one that focusses on economic cooperation rather than political and military pipe-dreams. In embarrassment and desperation the UK invented a little know body called the European Free Trade Association in the 1960s. It failed - primarily because the UK wanted to join the EEC - but it was the right idea: economic cooperation not political integration. Few of the peoples of Europe, including the French, want a Napoleonic, centralised, European State. We want our own countries, our own cultures and our own currencies. Cooperation, yes, centralisation, no.

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  • 37. At 6:13pm on 13 Jun 2008, Fionavroom wrote:

    This referendum has been handled extremely badly by the Irish government, too busy with the former Taoiseach's complex financial transactions and with the present one admitting no knowledge of the Lisbon Treaty. This has not been a democratic process as most voters had no idea on what they had been voting for or against. Ireland and its government credibility will greatly suffer from this. Other countries (where democratically elected representatives voted in favour of the treaty) are already calling for Ireland to leave the EU. It is a very sad day.

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  • 38. At 6:14pm on 13 Jun 2008, johnproblem wrote:

    Once upon a time there was a little country with a not very good economy. But they had some nice relatives in Brussels who were fed up with this little country's big brother - and so they decided, these relatives, to give a ton of money to the little country to spite the big brother. And 'Voila!' the little country became one of the richest; richer than its big brother, would you believe? When it came to saying thank you to its relatives in Brussels, the little country curiously decided it was too good to do that and adopted an arrogant manner to its generous relatives. So the relatives in Brussels decided to send no more Euros - and the little country grew poorer and poorer until it was like it had always been. A little country with a not very good economy. A sad story, eh?

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  • 39. At 6:19pm on 13 Jun 2008, Freeborn John wrote:

    There are two possible resolution to the problem; either the federal institutions in Brussels are reformed or the peoples of Europe are 'reformed'. The first course would require that the EU returns to making decisions only in areas of low political sensitivity. This would ensure that nations are only outvoted in minor areas such that political tensions will not rise that fracture the fragile European unity. The second course would involve the greatest social engineering project in history (and possibly the greatest cultural crime) to construct a true European polity by eliminating the cultural and linguistic diversity of the Continent that lie at the heart of our national identities.

    Monnet believed that the latter course would happen automatically through Eurposeanisation of the economy and through the activities of the European political institutions themselves. However his assumption of a transfer of allegiances away from domestic political institutions to those in Brussels has not occurred and globalisation of the economy has spread beyond Europe such that many of us work daily with North Americans, Asians and Australasians and regard those still focussed on Europe as rather blinkered.

    There is therefore no alternative but to recognise that European nations are not going away and that power must be removed from the political institutions in Brussels and returned to the democratic arena of the nation-state. I used to think that the EU could be reformed to make it democracy-compatible but I now believe that the very concept of liberal democracy is alien to the political culture of many of the countries that regard themselves as core to the EU project. If there is ever to be a successful effort to establish supranational governance compatible with liberal democracy then it will in my opinion be achieved by those countries where liberty and democracy are most deeply ingrained into the political culture, i.e. the English-speaking world, plus a few on the Continent such as Holland and the Scandinavian counties (not Finland). But that is a project for the future. In the short term it is necessary that political powers acquired by Brussels are returned to the nation-states, with the WTO taking over its economic functions and an expanded NATO (taking in ANZUS and Far Eastern allies) playing the role of a defence and foreign policy setting forum for the Western world.

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  • 40. At 6:22pm on 13 Jun 2008, RCMoya612 wrote:

    The European Union is the most misunderstood and possibly over-complicated (and therefore often inefficient) organisation in the world.

    And I think that is its central problem.

    Is it any wonder how the British tabloid press can get away with making blatantly ridiculous statements--most often factually incorrect or ridiculously distorted. But the EU shot itself in the foot with Maastricht, as it gave the organisation an unwieldy structure from the beginning. That the Treaty of Lisbon and, earlier, the Constitution tried to clarify things (which was, by the by, needed) so long afterwards was besides the point.

    ...Europeans--not just their leaders, but the PEOPLE--need to dream it all up again.

    I continue to believe that a united Europe can be good for the peoples of the subcontinent, but it can also be a shining example to people in other parts of the world. It is already seen as a good thing in many parts of the world: as an institution of peace and cooperation, and as an instrument in economic development. This does not mean--and it has never meant--trampling identities, cultures, nations, languages, governments. The latter in particular remain the strings behind the operation, and will remain so.

    If Europeans--who share so much more with each other than they sometimes realise, including often-myopic Brits--can get their act together they can be a force for good.

    Or you Europeans, individually, can have your voices ignored on the world stage. It's your choice. Influence is a difficult thing to attain; you either make it for yourself, or you follow the coattails of someone else. The former is within grasp if you can work out an equitable, robust and principled European integration. From what I can tell from the British media and the ordinary Brits commenting on these pages it would seem Brits like the idea of the latter better...and of course, that would mean tagging along with everything my country, the US, is prepared to do.

    That's the two cents of this American living in London.

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  • 41. At 6:22pm on 13 Jun 2008, purpleDogzzz wrote:

    As I said yesterday and the day before and as my comments were deleted I shall try again. if Ireland voted no, then the EU would not stop, the EU would not be destroyed and contrary to the pro yes vote alarmists blatant lies that if Ireland voted no, it would be a disaster that stops the whole EU project and create a dangerous lurch towards nationalism.

    As we have heard already today, the EU commision are going to completely ignore this and try to force it through regardless. Brown does NOT consider that this (what was is legally a terminal rejection) rejection to be terminal at all and STILL wants this dead treaty ratified in the face of 80% opposition in the UK.

    At least we no longer need a referendum on the Lisbon treaty as it IS legally dead. We should perhaps have a referendum on membership of this fatally wounded, "good in theory, unworkable in practice" undemocratic, authoritarian, corrupt EU project.

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  • 42. At 6:24pm on 13 Jun 2008, decsramble wrote:

    Ireland has done very well out of Europe but at no stage did anyone tell us we were selling our democracy.

    How much would you sell your democracy for? Perhaps you should ask your local MP because he has a vote on the future of Europe and you dont so it looks like it has been sold already.

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  • 43. At 6:28pm on 13 Jun 2008, Oggin86 wrote:

    in response to lordbeddgelert, the assertion that 100% of those countries offered a referendum on the constitutional treaty or reform treaty is fundamentally flawed. As most of those against the Lisbon treaty argue that is in essence a rehash of the Constitutional Treaty rejected by France and the Nehterlands, would they not also have to acknowledge that kis by and large the same document that the Spanish and Luxembourgeois voted yes on? This in no way discounts the democratic decisions made by those that voted no, but does acknowledge the will of those EU citizens in agreement with the path on which the the Treaty would set europe. I as a yes voter in the irish referendum, am disappointed but not disocuraged by the reslut today, as there are many importnat and valuable elements in the Lisbon Treaty which could and would aid the Eu and the European continent in tackling such major transnational issues such as energy security, climate change, shifts in global trade, and illegal immigration and trafficking. These are concerns that affect all Eu citizens, and which the EU is uniquely able to tackle in this most interdependent of centuries.

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  • 44. At 6:35pm on 13 Jun 2008, Junction26 wrote:

    The attitude of the Eurocrats is straight out of Rousseau. The will of the state is the general will and if an individual fails to adopt the general will he should be forced to do so. The ideas of the French Revolution are alive and well and living in Brussels.

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  • 45. At 6:41pm on 13 Jun 2008, purpleDogzzz wrote:

    If the EU does indeed continue to ignore the will of the people and carry on regardless without ratification, then David Cameron MUST announce that he will promise to hold a binding referendum on this treaty if he wins the next election.

    Unfortunately this SHOULD NOT be necessary. IF the commission was honest and could be trusted to abide by the law, instead of make it up as they go along, then this terrible treaty would indeed be dead.

    However, it's corpse may yet need to be killed again!

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  • 46. At 6:42pm on 13 Jun 2008, Old-Man-Mike wrote:

    This is a crisis for Eire not for the European Community. Every other country within the Communty has approved the ratification of the Treaty under the Constitution of that country.

    We should stick to ratifying the Treaty as it is without changing a dot or comma. That is what we want. If Eire wants to be in the second division with the U.K. that is entirely up to then.

    Lets be quite clear, Europe is now clearly focused towards the Eastern and South Eastern parts of Europe. That is where our future and our growth will come from.

    Sorry, but that is just the way it really is.

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  • 47. At 6:55pm on 13 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:

    R 39 Freeborn-John

    "those countries where liberty and democracy are most deeply ingrained into the political culture, i.e. the English-speaking world, plus a few on the Continent such as Holland and the Scandinavian countries (not Finland)".

    We'll be misleaded if we interpret the Irish No vote as a support for the traditional British eurosceptism. Only remind many No campaigners (like Sinn Fein) opposed the Treaty because "it was too much liberal and little protective with workers' rights", as his leader said. ÇSimilar interpretation was done to the French No in 2005.

    You put in the same UK basket "a few continental countries", which happened to be, by coincidence, among the richest ones.

    However, you forget to mention that the Scandinavian (and also Dutch) egalitarian social model is in the antipodes of that in UK, let alone USA. A

    OCDE statistics can be a good source to check, in numbers, this "forgotten" difference.

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  • 48. At 7:11pm on 13 Jun 2008, andfreedom wrote:

    As usual the EU just won't accept that this is a vote against them; the Vice-President on World News BBC 4 was waffling on about having to find out WHY the Irish voted No. Heaven forbid they just don't like the Treaty, or surrendering more power to Brussels. No it must be their faults, they just don't understand what the EU is about, fingers in ears, scream as loud as you can "EVERYONE LOVES THE EU, WE CAN DO NO WRONG".

    If ratification is now not stopped and the Treaty of Lisbon thrown away then democracy is dead in the EU. The EU is now acting like a spoilt child changing the rules in the middle of the game to make sure that they win.

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  • 49. At 7:16pm on 13 Jun 2008, RCMoya612 wrote:

    Ah, Freeborn-John. I guess I can understand where you're coming from with scepticism. You think Europhiles have a 'Little Europe' complex. Interesting. Only problem is you're presenting a false dichotomy dressed as fact, and ignoring--sadly--the limitations of the globalisation you believe undergirds it.

    First things first: your dichotomy only works if the creation of Europe means creating a monistic state, i.e. a rigid institutional AND cultural system of state power, a la France or the UK within their borders. The problem is that no one save, perhaps, Hitler or Napoleon has ever quite wanted that. No, not even Monnet. If anything, 'strong' Europhiles (i.e. those who do like the idea of a United States of Europe, a 'USE') have supported the idea of a FEDERAL structure. If that's the case, then your dichotomy comes to naught.

    A federal structure is, by definition, a relationship of sovereign bodies: the sovereign lower-level bodies (which in the USE would be the UK, France, Germany, et al) and the sovereign upper-level body (the EU itself). In America our constitution limits the latter's powers over the former; the trouble is the Civil War changed that, irreversibly taking us down the path America is on now, towards greater centralisation of power. That's an issue for another day, but the fact remains that federalism was chosen in America PRECISELY because it allowed states to be different and equal, but also to come together out of need. Curiously, and this is what you probably ignore, the founders didn't presuppose an 'American' culture--there was no mention of ethnicity or language in its pages. The political PRINCIPLES are what mattered, and what to many of us Americans believe still DO only matter. Yeah, sure, there's an American culture that formed over time (and in THAT Jean Monnet was right); but the ties that bind were first and foremost principles, structures and rights. In THIS manner a 'United States of Europe' seems far from a pipe dream. It isn't about 'social engineering', as you put it, but rather a 'diverse unity'.

    Further, there are Europhiles who recognise the strength of national identities and don't chose to overstep them at all. These, I think, want a common market and some political integration, but that integration should be limited, legitimised by a population EDUCATED in the actual functioning of the EU, and allowed to evolve--and perhaps grow--over time, and with explicit popular consent.

    Your dichotomy is false on one other ground: on the ground that the simple existence of European 'nations' somehow invalidates the possibility for a non-national loyalty to a state...which is invalidated, historically, by the vast majority of polities that humans have populated historically. Not to mention how the existence of the US, China, Belgium and Spain (all with very different social groupings within their borders) belies that point emphatically.

    As for globalisation...you're fixated on this Thomas Friedman-esque 'world is flat' thesis, which is a gross over simplication. For all the talk about globalisation's effects we find that the majority of a nation's trading partners are still, by and large, its closest geographical neighbours. China sells a boat load to the States, but Canada and Mexico sell significantly larger numbers still. The same applies in Europe. Why? Because the fundamental strengths of these REGIONAL economies is such that they can manage to trade significantly abroad only by having stronger markets to feed them closer to home. The UK government realised that along time ago, though they've been at a loss to explain what that means to their population since the waning days of empire. The net effect is 'glocalisation': the globalisation of finance and trade, yes, but also the speeding-up of regionalisation. Hence Australia pulling itself into orbit with Asia, Asians with Asians, South American into (in effect) an EU of the south, and North America going down the path of closer cooperation.

    Europe is at the avant garde of this movement, but you wouldn't know that from so many British eurosceptics...who believe that Britain is, by and large, on its own...and whose closest international city is New York. The economic realities, of course, aren't lost on the business elite.

    As for your other proposals:

    * The EU is a member of the WTO. Breaking up the EU would water down European economic clout in the WTO, and that is something NO European nation is prepared to do.

    * NATO and ANZUS are talking shops for the US, and lazy defence umbrellas for the allies. It's unfair to us--we have to pay the hefty price of defending Europe--and humiliating to you--as no non-American has ever served, or will ever serve, as NATO commander.

    Creating a 'Western World' along your lines would only lead to smaller nations leeching off the American giant.

    That's the way it has always been, my friend...your proposal is to coddle together America's allies, all of which are degrees smaller and weaker than it. Such assymetrical 'friendships' never end well, and in the UK case humiliating cases abound.

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  • 50. At 7:24pm on 13 Jun 2008, DutchNemo wrote:

    The Irish voted 'No' on the Lisbon Treaty not because they are against the European Union but because many voters didn't understand the treaty. Probably the result of a poorly organised 'Yes' campaign. The Irish didn't vote 'No' because they felt sorry for the peoples of Europe who didn't got a vote either. The Irish vote was influenced by self-interest only.

    To those people who seem to think the European Union is an 'undemocratic monster': you don't have a clue what the Union is really about. An 'undemocratic monster' would have rigged the Irish referendum but as far as I know the European Union hasn't rigged any election or referendum.

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  • 51. At 7:25pm on 13 Jun 2008, Nicholas McFarlane-Watts wrote:

    BREAKING NEWS

    Ireland : Robert McGabe appointed to run 2nd referendum

    Voters in Ireland have rejected the European Union's Lisbon reform treaty in a referendum by 53.4% to 46.6%.

    A senior government official said that the vote was very close, and that after a protracted re-count the referendum would be re-run.

    Experienced campaign manager Robert McGabe is to be hired to run the 2nd referendum.

    Reports are already filtering in that operatives of Mr McGabe's campaign team, Zanu-PF, have arrived in Eire, and are having considerable success in persuading the electorate - in their uniquely convincing way - how to vote at the 2nd referendum.

    Rumours that Gerry Adams and other political leaders supporting the 'No' vote have been detained have not been confirmed, but there are reports that villages which voted 'No' have had their supplies of potatoes curtailed.

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  • 52. At 7:25pm on 13 Jun 2008, Rhuaidhri wrote:

    I find it very disheartening that on a number of blogs etc you have people saying oh the ungrateful Irish after all the money we have given them they just don't want to give it back now they can afford to.


    As it stands we will still be net contributors under the curret rules. Let's be realistic Lisbon was new treaty just because we voted no to it doesn't mean we aren't bound by the existing ones.

    Secondly we were given that money for consessions in orther area's, the Spainish or example have made bucket loads of money from being allowed to fish our waters and use up our resources.

    Even in the new Europe there is no such thing as a free lunch unless you happen to be one of the over paid pencil pushers in Brussels.

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  • 53. At 7:26pm on 13 Jun 2008, MarcGoossens wrote:

    THANK YOU, PEOPLE OF IRELAND!

    A heartfelt thanks from Flanders.

    None of the other "ratifiers" have had the balls to submit this so-called treaty, this creation by out-of-touch politicians and mighty lobby groups, to a popular vote. In Ireland, the people have spoken. Their verdict is clear.

    It is now not up to Ireland to take a step back or opt out. No! It is now up to this self-declared "Europe" to take a step back, and ask itself what it's relationship is---assuming there is any such relationship---with the real Europe out there, with its countries, its regions and its people.

    Commissioners now say they "will conduct surveys to understand why the Irish rejected" their sacrosanct dictate. Why, I wonder, didn't they ask the people of Europe, all of them, what they wanted in the first place?

    Alas, and as we all known: the voice of the people is of no value to its mutually appointed "leaders" and their hordes of overpaid eurocrats. Because indeed, this elite knows better than the rest of us. They will salvage the wreck, and steer it along on its errands, a true pan-European Flying Dutchman, stubbornly sailing ever farther away from the shores of the lands of reality and democracy.

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  • 54. At 7:27pm on 13 Jun 2008, natan1 wrote:

    The core problem with the reform was in not having a plan B. This was very irresponsible of the EU leaders who knew that there was a good chance of the treaty being rejected. The solution is now in multi-speed EU or in getting technical parts of the treaty back to life. There should be NO other referendum and the idea of EU having more weight in global politics should be forgotten. The ratification of a dead treaty is now a waste of time and should be aborted.

    Overall, this failure is the result of bad presentation of the treaty I Ireland and ultimately of the fact that EU has expended way too much against persistent warnings that this would endanger its stability. It should have been done one state at a time.

    Now it is time for all of us to rethink about European place in the world and decide on:

    • A true federation (voted in each state) of a few founding states.
    • EU of many speeds (more and less integrated parts) with some reforms implanted only in a few states
    • Back to the past of small nation states (wasteland of history and probably poverty and war, but it’s an idea).
    • EU becoming another UN with no real meaning or power
    • Asking Ireland to leave the EU (and let their voters decide on this – now - very simple question) – which is the only option for the Lisbon treaty to become alive.
    • Do nothing and try to get some small technical parts implemented w/o the treaty (in a long run this option will probably mean dissolution of the EU as there will be no glue to keep it together)

    Shame of the pro-EU leaders not to have been prepared for this expected outcome.

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  • 55. At 7:40pm on 13 Jun 2008, Steve137 wrote:

    Here is another idea: If a country shows strong skepticism for the EU, as Ireland has just done, or as the UK does on frequent occasions, why not just let them opt out?

    I propose that the Lisbon treaty be voted on via simultaneously held referenda in all the EU member states, with the understanding that the vote is on whether to remain in the EU as governed by the Lisbon Treaty, or to withdraw from the EU.

    This is not to say that the Lisbon Treaty is perfect - no document is. But for the EU to progress there must be a shared vision and a willingness to compromise. Ireland has been one of the principal economic beneficiaries of the Union, but it is clear that's not enough.

    I have to add that the UK needs to hurry to become the 51st US state before Bush leaves office. Then they could practice their euroskepticism without further hypocracy.

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  • 56. At 7:43pm on 13 Jun 2008, Kalleboll wrote:

    Thank you Ireland! We Swedish were not allowed to speak our mind at all. I'm all for a democratic elected EU. I and voted yes to EU and Euro. Still I think something very wrong is going on in Europe. If EU people say no - STOP implementing the same crap over and over!

    Especially these points worry me:

    * Currently all important decisions are made in bargain deals between various politicians - IN SECRET MEETINGS. I.e. the elected parliament has no power. It is almost like we vote for dummies and those in power are without accountability - and then Europe is run like a business meeting (with lots of lobbying crap by big buck companies).

    * Politicians and bureaucrats fail to recognize that the greatness with Europe is our differences - STOP harmonizing us to death! Stop killing all forms of cultural differences. Stop argumenting for every decision with market growth. Example: if everyone have vacation in September like the Spanish, then EU would gain 2% growth. PROBLEM: its COLD and we WOULD NOT BE HAPPY when December comes).

    * Old deals dating back to the coal union still governs EU (for the benefit of big countries, especially the French). Remove all those old benefits and start fresh (especially French cows and Germans deserve to loose some benefits).

    * Voting power is calculated on basis of population - small countries like mine cannot uphold its own identity in the long run! Go figure, we really think its better to vote for our own government and have them represent us.

    * Militarisation - sorry Brits, we don't want to take part in future Iraq wars!

    Another area with similar, undemocratic, decisions:

    * surveillance - EU is currently worse than DDR (included my own country which soon will surpass you Brits by far - and you really are far out in space in that area)

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  • 57. At 7:48pm on 13 Jun 2008, IRON-DUKE wrote:

    The Irish No vote will not for one moment deter the leading lights of the EU from bulldozing on towards the goal glowing before them...a Federal Europe or Superstate. Ireland is to them like a bee sting..to be treated before continuing their
    relentlous way towards the Promised Land.One can't call it a future democracy, when the methods to reach it have been shown to be less than democratic.

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  • 58. At 7:49pm on 13 Jun 2008, Beer_x_1 wrote:

    Mark Mardell,

    Can I say how disgusted I am by your reporting today and low standards the BBC has sunk to in its pro-EU agenda.

    Why am I so incensed?

    Well do you not think playing the "thick Paddy" card on "not understanding the treaty because it's a bit hard to understand" might be considered a bit of a racial stereotype.

    To me it does.

    I have read some of the wretched document and not even I could make head nor tail of it with a PHD to my name, so why imply the proles of Ireland are thick whilst the politicians ( The leader of Ireland hasn't read it either by all accounts ) are so clever that they understand it, when most can hardly spell their own names yet alone read that collection of newspeak claptrap, and agree with it?

    The document is designed to be gobbledygook as even the author of the constitution admits.

    Oh and I'm not even Irish, have ever been there or even know anybody from Ireland before anybody thinks I have got a chip on my shoulder or something.

    I am merely concerned at the standard of so called reporting that is being conducted by the BBC these days that has gone beyond bias to full blown nailing their name to the mast and hoisting the flag.

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  • 59. At 7:50pm on 13 Jun 2008, RCMoya612 wrote:

    Kalleboll: I sympathise with a lot of your points entirely. Again, there is a Europe that is more than worth keeping...but it MUST be made right!

    As for surveillance: haha. I don't think that's only a European problem...America has that problem as well.

    But in actual fact the EU itself has less to do with this than do the individual member states where this is taking place. The UK is so bad because of the UK government, NOT the EU. It ain't the EU's fault that Parliament just passed a 42-day detention bill...

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  • 60. At 7:51pm on 13 Jun 2008, sweetalkinguy wrote:

    It now appears that the only way forward is to devise a document similar to the United States Constitution. This was a centralist design, it said what that Federal government would do and what the state governments could do. It was not very long, and has kept many lawyers in gravy for 230 years, but it is widely read and understood by US citizens. The "Federalist Papers", which are a collection of newspaper articles explaining various aspects of the Constitution, written around 1776 to help get the Constitution ratified, are still a very good account of the issues involved.

    If the EU had a document which said all members should contribute to the budget in proportion to their GNP and derive benefits in inverse proportion to GNP, then most people would be happy. In practice GNP is a little crude, it would need to be GNP per head, or similar, but as long as everybody paid in and received back consistent amounts, then most voters across Eurpoe would be reasonably happy. It would have to be backed up by least-cost administration and measures to control fraud, but that ought to be in place anyway. It is the inequitable system and the snouts in the trough which cause most voter dissatisfaction with the EU as a system.

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  • 61. At 7:53pm on 13 Jun 2008, MichaelAWhite wrote:

    What will happen now? The EU will push ahead anyway and enact the treaty. There may be a few rules in the way, but the EU will doutless make up some special powers to bypass this. Also they will hold referendum after referendum until finally Ireland says yes because everyone wants the EU to shut up, but surprisingly they will not afterwards continue to hold still more referendums when the have their "YES".

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  • 62. At 7:59pm on 13 Jun 2008, Dave H wrote:

    I'll add my thanks to the Irish people for doing what many others across Europe wanted to do but were denied by self-serving governments.

    If the Eurocrats want a way forward then perhaps they could start by abolishing the undemocratic Commission and replacing it with a second elected chamber - each country gets two representatives. While not a fan of all things American, their system of two elected houses, one proportional to population, the other where all states are equal, has a lot going for it in this situation.

    Ideally we can go back to having economic union and let countries govern themselves, which is what I know my parents voted for back when the UK had its referendum.

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  • 63. At 7:59pm on 13 Jun 2008, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Freeborn-John (39):

    "If there is ever to be a successful effort to establish supranational governance compatible with liberal democracy then it will in my opinion be achieved by those countries where liberty and democracy are most deeply ingrained into the political culture, i.e. the English-speaking world, plus a few on the Continent such as Holland and the Scandinavian counties (not Finland)."

    Oh please. You must be kidding. This coming from a citizen of a country who still has an monarch. By the way, are you a monarchist? UK, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Holland are all monarchies and coincidentally Finland that you left out is republic. What is the logic here? Monarchies good, republics bad? The only problem with your plan is that at least now USA doesn't recognizance Queen as their sovereign, but that's fixable, right?

    On more serious note, I would say that liberty and democracy are deeply ingrained to all current EU members more or less. The differentiation with UK, maybe with Ireland too, is that all other European nations and countries know that liberty and democracy can be taken easily away by larger adversary. In the case of small nations the question of nations survival is valid. I come from a small nation who has had to balance with its mighty neighbor, who could have, if the WW2 had ended differently, moved the whole nation to Siperia or just terminated it. Liberty and democracy are best kept when safe guarding them and that what the whole EU project is about. Giving possibility to survive in 21th century which seems to become the century of superstates of USA, China and India.

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  • 64. At 8:04pm on 13 Jun 2008, clive_bates wrote:

    There should never have been a referendum on this treaty or constitution, at least as a choice to accept the treaty or stick with what came before. It just isn't that different from what came before and is mostly administrative house-keeping with a few realignments in majority voting. Other things happen in the EU that are much more serious than this and few people barely even notice. This should have been one decided by parliament, not plebiscite.

    However, the No result in Ireland is important and must be taken seriously... it shows that Europe's elites have failed to make the case for the EU and too often hide behind it and allow it to take the blame for unpopular hard choices. They have got lazy and complacent, and failed to take the public with them.

    I think the mandate for EU membership that Britain secured in 1975 has basically run out - the EU is very different to the Common Market of the '70s. And that mandate now needs renewal.

    What we actually need is referendum not on this treaty or staying with the current arrangements, but on membership of the EU under this treaty or exit from the EU. Same in Ireland, same everywhere.

    That would allow voters to make a choice that anyone can understand (who can really explain the difference in real consequences that flow from yes or no in the Ireland vote?). It would force voters to make a responsible choice, because it would have real consequences. And above all it would force politicians to make a real effort to think about what Europe does for us and make a compelling case for it. In a globalising world, we most definitely need it...

    More about this on my blog...

    http://baconbutty.blogspot.com/2007/10/have-referendum-on-eu-membership-not.html

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  • 65. At 8:05pm on 13 Jun 2008, VicDeBruyne wrote:

    Ireland is afraid of losing sovereignty? Understandable! Sadly, in 10 or 20 years, the US, Russia, India and China (and not a divided Europe) will take decisions that affect and concern everybody in the world (Terrorism, Global warming, energy, aids, etc…). Don’t worry, they will not ask the opinion of the Irish government, and even less that of the Irish people. Talking about a loss of sovereignty!

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  • 66. At 8:07pm on 13 Jun 2008, Peter Bolt wrote:

    Once, many years ago, it was important to the UK to have European treaties on the basis "If they do not like us, let us at least make sure they hate each other".
    It served us well up until 1914. Then we decided we were part of Europe.
    Now even that does not matter, the EU is an irrelevance. It is moribund.
    It will suffrer a lingering,ingolorius demise.

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  • 67. At 8:07pm on 13 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    Thank you Ireland for securing your - and our - freedom and independence, and for speaking for all us citizens of EU member states who have not given a voice by our own governments.

    Slainte!

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  • 68. At 8:09pm on 13 Jun 2008, artydodge wrote:

    Eh johnproblem, I think you need a fact-checker for your story. Whilst ireland did receive structural funding, it was no more than that received by other 'peripheral' countries such as Greece and Portugal. Whereas those countries used the funds to maintain bloated social systems, Ireland instead invested in transport and business infrastructure. Along with a lowering and simplification of the tax base, the Irish economy took off.

    Besides, the amounts received turned out to be small beans in comparison to the EU's gain in access to Irish fishing waters.

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  • 69. At 8:12pm on 13 Jun 2008, natan1 wrote:

    The NO vote will keep EU undemocratic and not transparent enough as the treaty was designed to deal with these very problems. If you voted NO you voted for less democracy in the EU and you shouldn’t complain about it. If you voted NO because you want the end of the EU all together, you voted right. There in no middle way.

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  • 70. At 8:15pm on 13 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    Thank you Ireland for securing your - and our - freedom and independence, and for speaking for all us citizens of EU member states who have not given a voice by our own governments. Slainte!

    I just hope that our usually very dumb elites see sense for once and don’t try a re-run of asking the Irish to vote once again until they get it right (as they did before - and also to the Danes) , or just steamroller them like they did to the French and Dutch voters in 2005.

    As an Englishman I’m well aware that the Irish don’t take kindly to being bullied.

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  • 71. At 8:23pm on 13 Jun 2008, kingcod1980 wrote:

    Don't assume that just because the Irish decision was based on a referrendum it is more important that a parliamentary vote in another EU country.............. posters with the Eurovision Turkey asking people to vote 'no' because Ireland were knocked out of a singing competition would not back up such a claim.

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  • 72. At 8:23pm on 13 Jun 2008, Rhuaidhri wrote:

    Should have said earlier but yes to alot of people here also of concern was the idea of a common defense force. Although we wouln't have to join any such force our money would be used to administrate such a force (It would have to be since the funds don't appear to bearen't ring fenced so all administration be it fisheries or military is paid for by all).
    Supposedly this area would require unanimous concent but since the treaty allows QVM to be extended etc it's not 100% clear if this would always be the case. We are very proud of our neutrality and it means our small defense force can play a large well repected role in many peacekeeping and relief efforts.

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  • 73. At 8:24pm on 13 Jun 2008, RCMoya612 wrote:

    VicDeBruyne: You're right, mate. The US, China and India will be calling the shots in 20 years time, and it seems the adamant scepticism against a unified Europe means European states will be left to fend from themselves, or leech off one of the bigger powers. Good job.

    artydodge: I mostly second your statements...Ireland did get lots of help from Europe, and it helped that its leaders did the right thing with their funds and with their laws.

    natan1: Yours is the more helpful point...one of the most important aspects of the Lisbon Treaty was the INCREASE in powers of the ELECTED European Parliament. Many of the provisions attacked by sceptics are actually quite tame (the European 'presidency' and the 'foreign minister' were, at best, going to merge different offices together--retaining the same powers, roughly). The Treaty ACTUALLY increased democratic accountability.

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  • 74. At 8:29pm on 13 Jun 2008, fingerbob69 wrote:

    The arrogance of Milliband ...it beggars belief!

    As a Lib Dem and a supporter of the EU I firmly believe we must stop the treaty ratification process. Not to do so shows a complete disregard for the people of Europe. The EU is there to serve the people not the other way round.

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  • 75. At 8:29pm on 13 Jun 2008, chris smith wrote:

    If the EU try and force this treaty in now through the back door them is will be the end of the EU listen to the people

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  • 76. At 8:34pm on 13 Jun 2008, Rhuaidhri wrote:

    Oh and now that I'm starting to get annoyed with the Ireland bashing let's remind ourselves about who are good europeans.

    There was no talk of throwing the dutch or French out for voting no or of the Italians for blantantly disobeying the budgetary rules (not even a slap on the hand there even though we get big fines if we don't meet our obligations)

    Or how about implementation of Health and Safety rules which the french don't do becuase it's against there traditions to require the same food preparation standards that the rest of us have to abide by.

    What about our good european neighbours who either set limits on how many workers could come from the new member states or didn't allow them come and look for work at all? We had an open door from day 1.

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  • 77. At 8:40pm on 13 Jun 2008, RatchettPatchettII wrote:

    Natan1 - I'm sorry, what planet are you on? Have you actually had a look at the Lisbon Treaty? If ever there was the perfect example of lack of transparency, that is it. It was designed to be and admirably fulfills the main requirement of the EU bureaucrats: being utterly impenetrable to anyone who hasn't an intimate knowledge of all the clauses of all the treaties it amends. I defy anyone who is not a fully paid up passenger on the EU gravy train to understand its implications without spending many many many hours with quite a few legal dictionaries and probably a pint or two of guiness to understand it. God Bless the Irish for taking on the challenge. Would that we had the opportunity here.
    As for 'voting for less democracy', how does that equate with ignoring the will of the Irish people, as the response of various EU worthies in the last hours or so has clearly demonstrated is what the EU president and the various European leaders, are proposing to do?
    I believe that it may well be time for the whole of Europe to ask its people some basic questions on the direction they wish the European Union to go. It is clear the disquiet in not just in Ireland, or indeed, the UK. Not that the bureaucrats will ever dare to ask these questions, because they know they won't like the answers they'll get.

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  • 78. At 8:45pm on 13 Jun 2008, RatchettPatchettII wrote:

    Fingerbob69 - i too was absolutely gasping. I concur absolutely with your comment (except about being a Lib Dem!). The trouble is that we will be ignored - and the weakness of our democracy is such that absolutely nothing will happen.

    Oh, and Jaws1912 - you may be interested to know, if you didn't know or guess already, that many aspects of the former EU constitution have ALREADY been brought in piecemeal under the radar screen.

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  • 79. At 8:57pm on 13 Jun 2008, greypolyglot wrote:

    Voting over the Lisbon Treaty gave 110 000 more in the NO camp than in the YES camp.

    There seem to be plenty of others around who would join them if they could but we simply don't know how many.

    What we do know for a fact is that 0.0002% of the population of the EU has blocked the Treaty.

    Democracy in action?

    An EU wide referendum on a text that people other than bureaucrats and lawyers can understand might resolve the situation.

    Personally I'd invite everyone to vote time and time again on each item starting with the least contentious e.g. right to life, right to liberty, etc. (oh hang on, that second one is already contentious in the UK) until in 20 years' time we got to the sticky bits.

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  • 80. At 9:17pm on 13 Jun 2008, need4reality wrote:

    "...it would seem Brits like the idea of the latter better...and of course, that would mean tagging along with everything my country, the US, is prepared to do."

    But the EU will go along with what the UNELECTED American president does, because its going to be run by his cronies, like Blair...
    who may well be the UNELECTED president here (meaning Europe).

    The EU is no longer an alternative, it is part of the same movement towards the same UNELECTED world governance.

    Love thy neighbour as thy self.

    Beware the Minuscule Minority.

    They love no one but themselves.

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  • 81. At 9:18pm on 13 Jun 2008, RCMoya612 wrote:

    'I defy anyone who is not a fully paid up passenger on the EU gravy train to understand its implications without spending many many many hours with quite a few legal dictionaries and probably a pint or two of guiness to understand it.

    ***

    Well since I haven't had any GuinNesses. And I don't work for the EU.

    It's really not that difficult, mate.

    The treaty did two things: one, modify two treaties (Maastricht and the original Treaty of Rome) and brought all the other treaties, basically, into line with the. Two, it gave substance to the Charter on Fundamental Rights.

    As for 'understanding' it: it was just as Byzantine as any other treaty ever signed by any other country, only that this one cross-referenced other treaties as its basis.

    However, to make it EASIER, the EU published what were in effect CONSOLIDATED versions of the two treaties (Maastricht and Rome) demonstrating what changes the Treaty of Lisbon was making to the structures of the EU.

    Complex? Yes. The end of democracy!? Give me a darn break.

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  • 82. At 9:20pm on 13 Jun 2008, 3bluedolphins wrote:

    The irony of the violent anti British republican front (Sinn Fein) in alliance with the vocal British anti EU front, the irony of anti-war protesters taking the side of American neo-cons, the irony of maverick big businessmen allying themselves with maverick trade union leaders should be lost on nobody - this raggle taggle bunch of distortionists and convoluters have cost Ireland dear - sovereignty - what sovereignty when we make our decisions in line with an Australian American press baron with glory days of old empire in mind - well done the shinners

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  • 83. At 9:25pm on 13 Jun 2008, aarddave wrote:

    How arrogant can the politicians be?

    We've been told for months that the consti.. i mean treaty had to be ratified by all 27 countries, and that there was no plan B.

    Ireland have voted no to the proposed treaty so surely the only way they can be asked to vote again would be to make changes and concessions which in turn would alter the treaty meaning it would need to be ratified again by everyone, even countries who ratify the existing document.

    However, this just goes to show just why so many people are opposed to the EU, they simply do not care for the people. We are just the masses who must obey our allegedy masters and superiors. As if.

    This should be a great opportunity to shape the EU in a way that the people want, instead I think they will push on with current proposals and cause even more resentment to the EU.

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  • 84. At 9:25pm on 13 Jun 2008, Qrobur wrote:

    I object strongly to the biased tenor of the BBC's reports on the Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty.

    I quote today's reporting.

    1. "An earlier, more wide-ranging EU draft constitution failed after French and Dutch voters rejected it in 2005."

    No less a person than the architect, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, of the failed EU Constitution said the treaty differs from the abandoned constitution in "approach rather than content".

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7069181.stm

    Our own EU scrutiny committee said the treaty was "substantially equivalent" to the EU Constitution.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7034052.stm

    2. Just over three million Irish voters are registered - in a European Union of 490 million people.

    The implication here is that 3 million people are somehow thwarting the aspirations of 487 million other people. Nothing could be further from the truth. The 3 million Irish are the ONLY people who have been permitted to vote on the Lisbon Treaty and thus are by far and away the most important 3 million people in the EU at this moment.

    The BBC ought to get its house in order and report EU matters with proper impartiality, something I've seen it fail to do far too often.

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  • 85. At 9:37pm on 13 Jun 2008, 3bluedolphins wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 86. At 9:37pm on 13 Jun 2008, rparnham wrote:

    The US constitution is about 8,000 words long, clear, democractic and balances powers between individuals, states and the federal government.

    The EU treaty is ten times as long and, quite frankly, unreadable.

    I'm in favour of Europe - even a federal one: I'm not in favour of that's dog's breakfast of a document I'm being told will soon govern my life.

    Give me a decent, fair, democratic, treaty, and I will give you my vote. But not before.

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  • 87. At 9:40pm on 13 Jun 2008, Kalleboll wrote:

    (sorry: posted this in wrong/previous blog too):

    "Ireland is afraid of losing sovereignty? Understandable! Sadly, in 10 or 20 years, the US, Russia, India and China (and not a divided Europe) will take decisions that affect and concern everybody in the world (Terrorism, Global warming, energy, aids, etc?). Don?t worry, they will not ask the opinion of the Irish government, and even less that of the Irish people. Talking about a loss of sovereignty!"

    Small countries like mine have never had anything to say in such BIG and important matters anyway - what will we actually loose? Democracy is more important than Britain or France getting a huge say in big politics outside Europe. We prefer UN in those case (which by the way don't function because big countries want to meddle with everything and create their own rules). Lets leave this "we should rule the world" stuff for some other (criminal) organisation to take care of.

    ..And terrorism as a reason to not have an accountable and elected government? Did you steel Mr Bush speech (dating back four years or so)? Will India and China really dictate our policies because we are defenseless against globalisation? What will Indians actually do against terrorism - that we must reject with the mighty super EU? Indians seems like a fairly reasonable people :-) . Global warming decisions and the US in the same sentence?

    Short add to "things that worry me about the EU":

    * We contribute more than most (top 5) in relation to what we get back (so do you Brits). Traditionally this money has gone to Spain/Portugal and southern countries because they needed that money - and now those countries whom long benefited from EU are opposing for instance the Polish (i.e. eastern countries) getting more funds! That sucks! I'm all for us paying more than we get back, but those who need a few extra bucks at the moment are Easter countries. Why should we over-stimulate fully functional economies on our own level? Solidarity from those countries who have benefited the most from the the EU is below standard! We cannot value EU in relation to the amount of money we get back!

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  • 88. At 9:43pm on 13 Jun 2008, Rhuaidhri wrote:

    RCmoya612 it does alot more than that even though that's how it has been sold in some countries.

    The change and Expansion of QMV, the various the new codecision rules, power structers etc.

    Various new charters and asperations.





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  • 89. At 9:48pm on 13 Jun 2008, MichaelAWhite wrote:

    Adding to my earlier comment, if I might just add some of the sorts of things the treaty says:

    The Union shall establish an economic and monetary union whose currency is the euro.

    It shall oversee the application of european law under the control of...[Europea courts etc.]

    Sound a bit like the USE to me. Obviously a USE is very improbable, but my point is that unless we have referendums and put spanners in the works we will end up with loads of EU laws and our own countries will gradually see their power stripped from them. The smaller the area governed by a single body the better. The EU should stop meddling in diplomacy and be more like it's original function, a trade alliance, with some extras like military co-operation. As for one of RCMoya612's points, inevitably centralisation and federalisation do lead inevitably to loss of culture, individuality and, most importantly, the power of individual countries or states.

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  • 90. At 10:05pm on 13 Jun 2008, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Kalleboll (87):

    "Small countries like mine have never had anything to say in such BIG and important matters anyway - what will we actually loose?"

    You haven't been at the loosing end for a couple of hundreds of years. Just come over the border to here in Finland, Baltic States or to any Central Eastern European state we can share you our experiences on what it does mean on getting steam rolled by large powers.

    The thing is that we are all in the same boat, both small, medium and large EU countries. This is an grand opportunity for small countries to secure and gain both influence on decision making and secure our positions. Just imagine what it would be if there would be no EU... Russia's recent decision to set taxes on exporting wood that is threatening both Swedish and Finnish pulp and forestry sectors would be just a taste of an ice-berg. With out EU we all would be in some sort of an Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance to either to USA or Russia. With USA you don't have to learn a new language but you have to send your sons to die in endless battles in the Persian front. With Russia you have to learn a new language and have unfair trade deals.

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  • 91. At 10:07pm on 13 Jun 2008, the-real-truth wrote:

    >Mr Miliband said the Irish result should be >respected but there should also be >
    >a "British view" on the treaty.

    How does one tell Milliband is showing "respect" as opposed to Milliband showing a "completely disregard" - not sure I can see any difference....

    And we know there is a British view on the treaty - unfortunately this isn't being represented by Milliband and the rest of this shower.

    If 3,000,000 irish voters isn't a representative sample of EU citizens, surely we need to expand the sample.

    So far EU wide, 3,000,000 Irish voters have had a say, as have (around) 8,000 MPs - I tend to think that the Irish are more representative than the MPs...

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  • 92. At 10:14pm on 13 Jun 2008, ephialtes wrote:

    Just watched your piece on the News at Ten and was surprised that all the video representations of "No" were cheering crowds of people, while all the video representations of the treaty were prime ministers and presidents in suits.

    It made it seem rather like the No votes are the only voices of the people - but there are plenty of people (almost 50% of Irish voters, for instance) who were in favour of the treaty, and referendums on European integration have been won in several countries in the past.

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  • 93. At 10:24pm on 13 Jun 2008, Goldenstrand wrote:

    I think an ingrained distrust of the politicians in Brussels (amongst other places) may have something to do with the "No" vote and perhaps the confusing and voluminous treaty and what it means. Could they not have at least tried to produce something shorter and more concise?

    Simplicity and honesty would go a long way here I feel.

    For starters, Governments who promised a referendum should follow through with them and not weasel out of it.

    Then clear, impartial, trustworthy summaries of such complex documents ought to be checked by a senior judge/QC and issued for the public to view before the vote (if we can find enough money to pay someone to do this staggeringly tedious job!).

    Then a campaign on the content would be perhaps be possible without accusations from both sides of lies being told by the other about the content throwing a smokescreen up that the electorate struggle to see through.

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  • 94. At 10:25pm on 13 Jun 2008, Freeborn John wrote:

    Jukka (63): I am not a monarchist.

    Sweetalkinguy (60): The US should never be confused with Europe. Brilliant though the work of James Madison was, the US Constitution is a constitution for a nation-state, and would if applied to the 40+ nations of Europe lead to small nations being governed against their will by majorities in large countries.

    I have however written an alternative to the EU Constitution which won the Adam Smith Institute's competition for the best alternative to the original version of the EU Constitution. In this I tried to fix all the problems I see with the current EU, especially its problem of democratic legitimacy. The main change would be to introduce a criteria I call the 'cross-border principle of harm' to be used to limit the cases where EU law superior to national law can be imposed by a qualified majority on nations against the will of their parliament. This is an international version of J.S. Mill's principle of harm intended to identify those cases where EU law should be acceptable to all because it would protect each country from activities in other countries harmful to its own citizens, e.g. the raising of protectionist trade barriers or emission of pollutants that could be carried across national borders damaging the environment in other countries. I also added a new 2nd tier of EU legislation to be used in all other cases (i.e. where my principle of cross-border cannot be satisfied) that would rank lower in the legal hierarchy than national law such that it can be overridden by national parliaments when they deem necessary. This would preserve a legal space (especially relating to areas where there in no cross-border issue) in which our democratic national parliaments could continue to play the main role and allow changes in national government to overturn the application of previously agreed EU law within a country.

    In addition I included numerous institutional changes to include national parliaments in the drafting of EU law and to introduce a real separation of powers that would prevent national governments from abusing the EU system to bypass democratic checks on their executive power at national level.

    http://www.adamsmith.org/publications/government/alternative-eu-constitution-200711201245/

    I wrote this before the June 2007 EU Council decision to simply re-impose the rejected EU Constitution again as the Lisbon treaty. That summit confirmed for me that that (for the reason which Junction26 refers to in post 44) that the very concept of liberal democracy is alien to the political culture of much of Europe. Therefore I now think it should only be those countries where liberal democracy is most deeply embedded in the political culture (for example the English-speaking countries plus perhaps Holland, Scandinavia and Switzerland) that should try to work together like this.

    RCMoya612: I will reply to your post 49 over the weekend.

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  • 95. At 10:29pm on 13 Jun 2008, RatchettPatchettII wrote:

    RC Moya - What a gross oversimplification! And as anyone who has to deal with any such documents understands, the devil is always in the detail: the precise definitions, the omissions and the ambiguities of the diplomatic language and legalese. As the raft of lawyers enjoying a very good living in the corridors of power should assure you. Oh, and if you had read my post more carefully (aside from the copy editing - thanks for that) you would realise I did not say 'the text' but 'the implications' of the treaty. The very fact that we have political commentators and politicians having to interpret the treaty somewhat vindicates my point.

    Please forgive any more spelling - my nail-varnish is still drying so the typing is a bit off, mate.



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  • 96. At 10:41pm on 13 Jun 2008, Haghebaert wrote:

    Even if I have doubts if this was the "right" vote, I applaud direct democracy, it puts responsibility closer to us and is the ultimate modern freedom. Imagine what would have happened if not 1 but all 27 countries had had a referendum... Probably we would not be talking about Ireland.

    But maybe this was the last gasp of direct democracy anyhow... Many Irish chose NOT to go and vote... If a crucial thing like a EU constitution or similar is not clear enough, not convincing enough, maybe they should have actively voted "no" (until someone can convince us it is right...)

    endnote: I hope our freedom will not become the freedom to consume ... "a la USA". This "no" should be possible and be respected.

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  • 97. At 10:45pm on 13 Jun 2008, RCMoya612 wrote:

    'RCMoya612's points, inevitably centralisation and federalisation do lead inevitably to loss of culture, individuality and, most importantly, the power of individual countries or states.'

    ***

    Not by themselves they don't.

    The loss of culture and individuality could only work, in the modern work, if you found a way of blasting flat all things that make Europeans different: from your languages to your religions to your individual histories. In the States it was easier because history pre-Independence wasn't important (and in any case was not European, and therefore 'didn't count'), religious toleration was a given and the majority (though not all) of the new Republic's citizens spoke English.

    In Europe you have, and will continue to have, dailies, weeklies and monthlies churning out information on a national basis, and on a scale not produced by the states in the US. The differences in language put to death any easy solutions of going out about the first part.

    There is also the obvious point of making safeguards against impinging on national identities (which, coincidentally, the Treaty of Lisbon commits itself to in the modified Article 2 of Maastricht, 'It shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and shall ensure that Europe's cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced') a part of the document itself--without which no centralised government would have to do so. Our lovely Constitution in the States doesn't have those rights for diversity included, but Spain's does. Again, it doesn't HAVE to strip European countries of their wonderful diversity...and the EU has never been about that, as any casual perusing of any of the treaties would show.


    Rhuaidri: You're right, the treaty did have stuff on QMV and the various the new codecision rules, along with the new posts. Problem is, most of them ARE arguably necessary in a larger Union...the co-decision powers were precisely about bringing the Parliament into play, which is good.

    As for the Charter of Fundamental Rights, it pretty much acted to enshrine the rights present in the European Convention on Human Rights in the European Union's own law. Seeing as how every country in Europe, including Russia, must do the same--as members of the Council of Europe, which is unrelated to the EU, and to which Canada and the States are observers--saying these were scary alterations were patently false. The UK's Human Rights Act already brought the ECHR into law in the UK...the CFR would have done the same for the European Union itself, as a Union, even if all member states have already done so individually.

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  • 98. At 10:50pm on 13 Jun 2008, Kalleboll wrote:

    @Jukka_Rohila

    Fair point. There is a value of being in a group. The problem is that we already have that power in the EU, in its current state. The EU does not need to span even more areas of our lives in order to stand up to specific large countries/coalitions. Protecting basic economic interests is already a functional aspect of the EU. All it takes for harsher decisions is that leaders in Europe agree on something. You have Nato for your stuff - no need for EU military. And do you really think small countries will get a vote - we will fall under the "EU said this or that" when it was a few big powerful countries who spoke (those with big guns).

    We always depend on international coalitions in most areas. However, in order to collaborate we don't need to transfer more power to a less democratic EU!

    ..I value democratic standards above everything else. One voice with one opinion is not necessary to protect our common European interests - in fact I hate that idea. Lets disagree more externally and still unite Europe in need. Get rid of the "president" and other foolish crap.

    - No offense, Finland has not been on the loosing end for a long time either. Sort of not comparable to Easter countries in general. ..Understand your point though.

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  • 99. At 10:52pm on 13 Jun 2008, SCFNL29 wrote:

    I'm still celebrating this tremendous result... thank you Ireland. Our national governments need to start realising that we are all united yes, in one thing - distrust of politicians and having things shoved down our throat which we don't agree with.

    This was a victory today for the citizens of all the member states. All this nonsense about the Lisbon Treaty being "necessary" because the EU had increased, total nonsense.

    The problem is over the years your average voter has become just as annoyed with the Europhiles as they were with people like William Hague during his "save the pound" campaign.. perhaps even more. The problem with Europhiles, as somebody pointed out earlier, is that they cannot accept that they are wrong, about anything. They can't accept that their vision of Europe and the EU was left behind in 2004 with enlargement and that we just need to stop, take a breath, and realise that we've integrated about as much as is necessary.

    Whats wrong with what we have just now? Where's a decent answer to this question?

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  • 100. At 10:58pm on 13 Jun 2008, gerardmulholland wrote:

    1. The only EU legislative body should be the Parliament.

    2. Only the Commission or individual MEPs or a fixed number of electors by petition should be able to initiate legislation in the Parliament.

    3. All other bodies -ECB, Regions, EconSoc, Council etc.- should be consultative subject to deadlines and without delaying power.

    4. The EU President (with a running-mate Vice-President) should be elected by universal suffrage for one non-renewable fixed term of seven years.

    5. The Commission should be nominated by the President but appointed by the Parliament. They should all be sackable -individually or collectively- by the President or by the Parliament.

    6. The Parliament -or a fixed number of electors- should have the power to recall the President and/or Vice-President and oblige them to seek a popular mandate to continue in office.

    7. No further changes to the EU Treaties should be permissable other than by Referendum in each and every member State.

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  • 101. At 11:06pm on 13 Jun 2008, RCMoya612 wrote:

    RatchettPatchettII: Wait, what gross simplification? Though you may be right...who knew that blog-post comments could ever be more than simplifications and not long-winded treatises...but alas, we've broken all those rules on this board. ;-)

    'As the raft of lawyers enjoying a very good living in the corridors of power should assure you.'

    I should know a little thing or two on that... but thanks for the condescension nonetheless. Moving along: of course the devil is in the detail. Trouble is the Byzantine language of EU law exemplified in this Treaty is exactly the same (proportionality, subsidiarity, et al) as it has been for some time--so anyone dealing with it before isn't gobsmacked by the words, so much as by the structure. One is far from ignorant of what the legalese means...

    And no: I fail to see how politicians explaining treaties (or laws, for that matter) makes those treaties or laws unworkable, when (a) I can't remember the last time a random Joe walked up to me to complain about those annoying clauses in the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homocide Act, and (b) politicians and lawyers are, in effect, paid to do just that.

    Freebornjohn, I thoroughly enjoyed your post (94) and have downloaded your proposed EU constitution. A few organisations requested submissions about 2-3 years ago, and though wishing to submit one I somehow never managed to get around to it.

    In any case, congratulations on that achievement and I look forward to looking over your work.

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  • 102. At 11:22pm on 13 Jun 2008, Rachel Blackburn wrote:

    Meh. When the French and the Dutch rejected the Constitution they just renamed it a Treaty and used that excuse to not let them vote again (or us vote at all).

    Now the Irish have killed the Treaty, I expect they'll just rename it a second time to get around this inconvenient public scrutiny.

    Perhaps the Eurocrats will call it an Expense Claim - after all, they don't seem to ever have any trouble getting them approved...

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  • 103. At 11:42pm on 13 Jun 2008, save10 wrote:

    I dont understand how Ireland is the only country that had people vote for this? I understand that the other countries had "ratified" the treaty, but it was as if Ireland was voting for all of Europe. I could only imagine if I was here in California waiting on the results of a vote in Maryland to determine a law that would effect me.

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  • 104. At 11:49pm on 13 Jun 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    Quite so RatchettPatchettII #77, I just watched the BBC news and they spoke to Barroso's number 2, the Lady, whose name I missed, was incapable of understanding what has happened and why, it's everybodies fault but their's. I will be very interested to see what the opinion of us ordinary people who are not traveling on the gravy train over here in Belgium actually is in the next few days and whether the 'head in the sand' politicians for once take notice.

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  • 105. At 00:12am on 14 Jun 2008, nwmlock wrote:

    The EU is the next USSR. The elite of Europe want to force the EU super dictatorship upon us and that's why weasels like Milliband want to push ahead despite the Irish NO vote. He, along with Gordon Brown and the rest of the EU globalist scum couldn't care less about what ordinary people like you and I think. That's why there was no referendum in the UK. They don't care. They have an agenda and the people of Europe are no more than a nuisance to them.

    Wake up people. We don't live in a democracy. We don't live in a free country. Government is supposed to serve the people, but this government expects the people to serve them. They don't seem themselves as civil servants. They see all of us as their slaves.

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  • 106. At 00:38am on 14 Jun 2008, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    'Mr Miliband said the Irish result should be respected but there should also be a "British view" on the treaty.'

    There is a British view. About 70% don't want it.

    Miliband and Brown refuse to represent the British people but they were elected to represent them, are paid to represent them and claim to represent them.

    There is something fundamentally wrong with the system that has put them and people like them into power.

    The only people they represent are themselves and their chums like "six-brains" Sarkozy.

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  • 107. At 00:52am on 14 Jun 2008, purpleDogzzz wrote:

    Well after the imediate statement that Brown will continue to push through the ratification of this dead treaty, inspite of this democratic vote, he has NO RIGHT AT ALL to critisise Mugabe. At least mugabe had the votes, Brown is too scared to even do that much.

    Please, is there any way we can legally overthrow a Government that has become utterly and blatantly scornful of the electorate?

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  • 108. At 00:56am on 14 Jun 2008, purpleDogzzz wrote:

    Actually Brown and Milliband believe that they ARE representing the British people, because 22% of the population voted to elect a totally different version of the labour party, under a different leader who gave an express public promise to hold a referendum.

    A more Orwellian piece of double speak, I have never heard.

    war is peace
    Freedom is slavery
    Dictatorship is democracy

    double plus bad.

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  • 109. At 00:56am on 14 Jun 2008, natan1 wrote:

    If every state had 95% probability of ratifying the treaty (including Ireland) the overall probability would be only 25.65%. Practically it is much less then that. And they had no plan B???? I am very pro-EU but such foolishness is disturbing. We need the reform but if the EU leader's realism is reflected in this absence of plan B, than the rejection of the treaty may indeed be a blessing in disguise.

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  • 110. At 00:57am on 14 Jun 2008, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    31. At 5:54 pm on 13 Jun 2008, jon_toronto wrote:

    They should've designed the treaty so that the other countries can go ahead anyway, kicking countries like Ireland out of the EU.



    Jon! Please, please, please can you get them to throw us in the UK out of their Greater European Reich.

    My foot is on my "EU"-passport as I write.

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  • 111. At 01:02am on 14 Jun 2008, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Now I read in various places, that the treaty can go ahead without the Irish. Well in that case, it can go ahead without us.

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  • 112. At 01:03am on 14 Jun 2008, archkatakana wrote:

    The post election comments of many in Brussels seem to validate the skeptic view in Ireland.

    When we in Ireland question Brussels about how democratic the EU is all we get is "Zoot alors ! you want democracy...we've got more democracy than you can shake a stick at !" But judging by EU reaction today it appears that their version of democracy is only for looking at and admiring. It not actually meant to be used.

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  • 113. At 01:16am on 14 Jun 2008, RatchettPatchettII wrote:

    RCMoya, (or shall I call you 'pot'?)

    If you check back to my original post, you will note that, in respect of the legalese etc, I was talking about transparency. I was not talking about whether the Treaty was 'workable'.

    I raised the point about politicians / commentators having to interpret the treaty as an illustration of the fact that its implications were not, as you asserted, easy to understand even for the most die-hard interested layman; those oh so many fans of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homocide Act, (who stop me more or less constantly, let me tell you...)

    Given the Byzantine nature of such documents, the Lisbon Treaty can hardly be claimed to be 'transparent' in any meaningful sense. The fact that other documents are equally opaque is regrettable, as I believe this much patronised and underestimated "man in the street" should be able to understand at the very least in broad terms (and without recourse to legal dictionaries and too much GuinNess), the laws, and the implications of the laws, by which he is governed.

    It is particularly regrettable in this case, since the average Joe WAS being asked to make a judgement. All in all, no matter whether you are a yes or no voter, this is a failure to communicate effectively on the part of government and the bureaucrats and flies in the face of their purported aim to 'increase transparency', which was my original point.

    (Whether or not the opacity is really deliberate is, perhaps, moot, but one cannot blame the cynic for suspecting the worst, given all the guff about transparency / accessibility and consultation the various national and international institutions are so fond of spouting.)

    Kettle

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  • 114. At 01:27am on 14 Jun 2008, Chris Lamb wrote:

    At 4:41 pm on 13 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:

    "1. No country since EU was created 50 years ago has wanted to quit, including the UK."

    Wrong. Greenland left in 1985. And a large part of the British population desperately wants to leave, but our politicians won't hold referenda here because they know what the answers will be in advance.

    Well done Ireland!

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  • 115. At 01:38am on 14 Jun 2008, machinehappydays wrote:

    I vote no to EU Treaty
    I wanted to vote too

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  • 116. At 01:54am on 14 Jun 2008, natan1 wrote:

    The lack of coherence of the treaty is precisely why such documents can not be decided on by direct democracy of "ordinary people".

    Trust your elected governments who signed it. Most of the daily technical decisions are NOT made by ways of direct democracy - states are too complex for every technicality to be decided by every citizen directly. Those who support direct democracy do not understand what democratic state is all about. People of Ireland agreed indirectly to the treaty by electing the government who SIGNED it. Ireland will and should not be punished for this but the consequences should be reviled to its citizens - in clear language - as many apparently did not know what the referendum was all about, same as in France and Holland last time.

    What to do now: ask Ireland to agree on the Europe of many speeds and step aside. Every other state can do the same, of course. Stay in the EU but let the new forming core take its own life and position in the world, so the next US president wont call Europe irrelevant (Bush W. was on the money on this one). Of course, leaving the EU is always the option for every state and should be proposed in Ireland and in every other Euroskeptic state. It will not be the end of united Europe and there will always be an option of joining at a later time.

    This being said, I disagree with the further ratification of this same treaty. It was agreed that one NO could kill it and so it happened (the odds were high for its rejection, anyways). They can't just eat the word they gave on this matter.

    What should be done is this: a new treaty must be put down together with the PR for the whole Europe. The content may need some changes, but simply ask people what bothers them most. Explain it to the whole of Europe and point out to what degree the sovereignty is will be lost and what exactly is the trade off. I bet if the main change included direct vote for the president, the parliament and other bodies by every EU citizen the new Union would include most of todays EU states. Those who stay out would be welcome to join later.

    Ironically, what many of the nay sayers really want is the Federal Europe in which they would be heard. The more democracy you give to the EU the more federal it will become. So all this tragedy may be a blessing in disguise for the federalists who are looking to the USA as a model.

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  • 117. At 01:55am on 14 Jun 2008, RatchettPatchettII wrote:

    Can anyone confirm if this is true:

    I have been told that on 20th Feb. this year, the European parliament tabled three amendments to a report on the Lisbon Treaty, known as the Corbett-de Vigo Report. Amendment No. 32 apparently asked that the European Parliament "undertake to respect the outcome of the referendum in Ireland."

    I understand that this Amendment was rejected by 499 MEPs to 128. 33 abstained.

    If this is true, it is scandalous. The degree of arrogance and contempt demonstrated by this vote is shocking. Even moreso, since I am told one of those 499 MEPs was Irish.



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  • 118. At 02:56am on 14 Jun 2008, shanelillis wrote:

    Europe - a club of of proud and unique nations, NOT a conglomerate nation of lesser states, lets keep it that way! I wish everyone got the vote, so that Ireland wouldn't become the scapegoat that it will, so that we wont be asked to "vote again" (the French and Dutch weren't) until they we get the answer right, thoughts flash to Mugabe and the likes in that respect alone. Bets on we'll be back at the voting booths before Christmas. I wonder how many European politicians will truly reflect on the vote of 1.6 million people (and the many many millions more who have been disenfranchised of their say on such a critical nation sovereignty issue), and will truly try to come up with what the people really want. Think, if the Irish Dail (parliament) had voted yes to this treaty, it would have been a gross misrepresentation of the wishes of the Irish people. How many other parliaments have already done this, and how many are yet to do this. Some say that the Irish constitution was put in place by those seeking to protect the people from future governments, which today it surely has, as the reaction of both the Irish government and especially the reaction of Mr Barruso shows, wise men indeed. I wonder would the repackaged European Constitution have proven so valuable to the people of Europe? If the European leaders operate this way now, what could they be like when they have unquestionable power over sovereign states... perhaps the will of the Irish people (and others alike) would have been ignored as they would know a better way, one without which the whole world would collapse? Surely not ;)

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  • 119. At 03:10am on 14 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    I don't see any looming crisis, nor a reason for panic.

    Brussels will simply change title of the rejected document, claim that it's not a constitutional treaty and resubmit it for a purely parliamentarian approval.

    It will pass.

    So what's the problem?

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  • 120. At 03:14am on 14 Jun 2008, Huaimek wrote:

    Brilliant ! Brilliant ! Brilliant !!!

    Wise Irish People , I Applaud and Applaud YOU .

    You have spoken , for maybe the majority of people across Europe .

    WHY can't the Commission , Polticians and Bureaucrats STOP and LISTEN to THE PEOPLE , for ONCE ? !!!

    We the people don't want a Federal European Superstate !!!

    We want a looser relationship between Nation States , to govern our own sovereign countries without interference from a central political body ; telling us what to do down to the littlest detail . Eurochocolate , straight cucumbers , Lardo di Colognato !!!

    Everybody knows about the EUs vast waste of money , Accounts not finalised for years , the corruption within the EU Political and administrative body , not to mention Fraud in the various member states .

    The Euro may look healthy on the money markets , but the rules attached to it greatly restrict the the ability of member states to manage their finances , and for manufactures to market their products .

    It doesn't matter what the Treaty of Lisbon says , or our polititians and the EU Commission . The Treaty of Lisbon is to force the people of Europe a further step down the road to being ONE MEGALITIC STATE .

    If the EU Commision continue in this way , sooner or later it is all going to fall apart .

    How much Bitterness and Hatred towards the EU Commission , can maybe half the population of Europe endure , before there is Civil War ?

    IRELAND , YOUR THE BEST !!! WE LOVE YOU !!!

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  • 121. At 04:04am on 14 Jun 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    I'm trying to tune into this blog, but I'm
    having trouble understand the Lisbon
    treaty. There is a parliament, correct?

    Is it directly elected, or appointed?

    Is there a separate executive branch?
    How is the executive leadership elected
    or appointed?


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  • 122. At 07:49am on 14 Jun 2008, g_rizzly wrote:

    I think that the initial blunder was made by Giscard d'Estaing's committee who baptised the reform treaty as a 'European Constitution' with great fanfare, thus opening the discussion about a new polity, when the real goal was much more humble and practical.

    Such a label was certain to be interpreted by the electorate as an intention for complete transfer of sovereignty, a new social contract, and the need of democratic legitimisation of the new state's organs. When such a picture is painted, trying to pass a constitutional reform (real or imaginary) in stealth looks bad and suspicious. Not putting the Irish referendum in the bottom of the list (when everyone else had already ratified the reform treaty) is also a recipe for disaster.

    As it turned out, the situation is tricky. Forcing the Irish to vote again under some pretext is foreseeable, but it might prove yet another blunder for the european political elite. Starting the discussion about a federated Europe could be premature and might shake the foundations of the existing organisation itself.

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  • 123. At 08:04am on 14 Jun 2008, fragmeister wrote:

    Isn't it funny what democracy can do? When you ask the people a question, you don't always get the answer you want. The fundamental problem with the EU is that it tells people the answer and then tries not to ask the question if it can get away from it. A strange kind of democracy. I can't work out why Britain is still in - except that our undemocratic politicians keep telling us the answer to the question they won't ask us too.

    Thank you, Ireland. Your Eurovision turkey may have got the cold shoulder but we should welcome this result.

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  • 124. At 08:36am on 14 Jun 2008, Simon wrote:

    I note that the main BBC website hasn't run a 'Have your say' thread on this one. presumably too scared of what would clearly be an opportunity for the majority to air their anti-EU constitution views and therefore a headache for the euro establishment.
    That said I have no doubt the Euro political class will run this one again until they get a yes. That is one feature of the Euro superstate, it embraces democracy when it gives them what they want - but not when it doesn't. Funny thing that - we used to describe communism in the same way!

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  • 125. At 09:02am on 14 Jun 2008, VicDeBruyne wrote:

    I agree with natan1 that elected governments should have the mandate not only to negotiate treaties but also to ratify them. If you don’t trust your politicians why did you elect them in the first place? It is off course always easier to sit back and criticize. No treaty, no matter how simple, complex, good or evil will ever pass by popular vote in all 27 countries. There always will be at least one country where the electorate is ready to punish their politicians based on domestic issues. Most people are more interested in the results of their local football club than the results of a referendum anyway. Don’t expect them to understand any treaty. Their knowledge of Europe is limited to Eurocup and Eurosong and they will vote accordingly.

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  • 126. At 09:05am on 14 Jun 2008, ephialtes wrote:

    I see the anti-EU voices are shouting for the British ratification process to be stopped. Doesn't sound like they're respecting our national sovereignty if they want foreign voters to stop British parliamentary decisions in their tracks.

    But as we know, the antis think that it's only proper democracy when people are agreeing with them. That's why they don't think that the Irish second vote on Nice was 'proper' democracy. That's why they don't think that the European Parliament is 'proper' democracy. That's why they don't think that Parliamentary government is 'proper' democracy. Oh no, only referendums count, and then only those that get the 'right' result. If Ireland votes on a amended treaty and votes yes, watch for cries of foul: "The Irish don't have the right to change their mind - they've got to agree with us and then stop!"

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  • 127. At 09:05am on 14 Jun 2008, Menedemus wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 128. At 09:21am on 14 Jun 2008, Rusty wrote:

    Now that the dust has settled here in Ireland, it is plain to see, that the people used the Lisbon treaty as a stick to beat the Irish government with over local issues. This "No" vote does not represent the Irish attitude towards the EU. Most Irish people are pro -EU. What makes me laugh is the amount of people from fellow EU countries congratulating Ireland. The "No" vote in Ireland isnt a solidarity vote with fellow Europeans.

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  • 129. At 09:23am on 14 Jun 2008, Bloggsworth wrote:

    "Governments in the European Union are exploring what to do after the Irish Republic's rejection of the Lisbon Treaty to reform the expanded EU."

    They will start slotting the provisions of the Constitution into other irrelevant laws. For instance, the EU Foreign Minister post would appear as part of the "Pork Crackling Movement Directive" paragraph 2, subsection 4; the unelected UE President Allocation Directive will appear in a subsection of "The Olive Oil Redistribution Code 2009".

    A form of words will be found to call the Constitution/Treaty something else and introduce it piecemeal as amendments to existing legislation.

    THEY will have their way, the people of the EU are irrelevant to the grab for power and decision making of the EU.

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  • 130. At 09:41am on 14 Jun 2008, Stuart wrote:

    It's clear to me from this news that although the population of Europe (at least those who had a chance) has once again stated firmly its wishes, the Europhiles in Brussels no longer believe in democracy and will ram through their agenda at all cost to democracy and free will.

    The blatant disregard for the people's wishes is mind blowing in its arrogance and woefully short sighted. France and Holland didn't get a vote this time as their governments knew which way they'd vote. Our own Prime Minister broke an electoral promise and we didn't get to vote either. If Francois Barossa thinks he has a mandate from the people of Europe he's so far wrong he should be certified.

    Where this leaves the European project is unclear, certainly I for one would like a Europen wide public debate on the future of Europe. At a time when global resources are becoming scarce the heavy weight of Brussels on each nation state has to be examined. The amount of money the Europe costs each nation state is a simple value for money question. Do we get value for money out of Europe? I don't think so in it's current form.

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  • 131. At 10:26am on 14 Jun 2008, Chris Lamb wrote:

    At 09:05 am on 14 Jun 2008, Anthony Zacharzewski wrote: "I see the anti-EU voices are shouting for the British ratification process to be stopped. Doesn't sound like they're respecting our national sovereignty if they want foreign voters to stop British parliamentary decisions in their tracks."

    When we're denied the opportunity we were promised to vote on this ourselves, because the politicians know what the outcome will be, we have to be grateful to any other country which will stop it in its tracks.

    As for "respecting our national sovereignty", it's because we want to preserve that sovereignty that we want to get out of the EU. Unfortunately all three main parties in British politics are besotted with the EU and won't do anything which might cause us to leave or be thrown out. No wonder voters are increasingly turning in desperation to the BNP!

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  • 132. At 10:27am on 14 Jun 2008, ReadforEngland wrote:

    The 3 countries that have been allowed a vote have all said no. I suspect that if there was a referendum in all the other countries we would get a similar result which is why they are not being allowed one. Ed Balls says we should press on with ratification. So much to "listening to what the people say". The EU Constitution should have been dead following the Dutch and French vote but it was brought back as the Lisbon Treaty. The Irish have rejected it and now this should be dead as well. It is now time to stop wasting money on the EU and abandon it all together. Anybody who thinks that all the countries in Europe can be as 'one' should watch the voting part of the Eurovision song contest to see that it will never work.

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  • 133. At 10:41am on 14 Jun 2008, ReadforEngland wrote:

    Rusty Brain you must be delerious or at the very least brainwashed. On something this serious people do not vote as a protest on local issues

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  • 134. At 11:00am on 14 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:

    At 01:27 am on 14 Jun 2008, Chris Lamb wrote:

    "Greenland left in 1985. And a large part of the British population desperately wants to leave".

    Greenland is not a state, nor is in Europe. It hardly has 30.000 inhabitants, so I take it as a desperate way to find a country "that quit the EU".

    As to UK, I have never seen any main British party advocating in its manifesto to quit the EU, nor British people demanding in the streets to do so.

    So, as I said, "no country has never quit the EU since its fundation 50 years ago", the best evidence that EU is at the end of the day a good thing for absolutely everybody.

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  • 135. At 11:00am on 14 Jun 2008, Beansof57 wrote:

    I had a couple of pints of Guinness last night to celebrate.

    Just listen all you politicians who think you know "what is good for us". The Irish got it right THIS TIME, there's no need for them to vote again.

    The lesson to be learnt is that nobody else got a chance to vote because everybody knew what the result would be. The politicians should take note that they are doing something fundamentally wrong when most opinion polls suggest that a "no" would be prevalent in most of Europe.

    Maybe the treaty/constitution or whatever you want to call is a "good thing", but it certainly doesn't come across as such.

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  • 136. At 11:03am on 14 Jun 2008, Luca85 wrote:

    Ireland is only a small nation, and there 'no' should be behind the rectification process asap. The Irish wealth of late is all thanks to the EU.

    I am Dutch and I voted no against the former treaty, but not for the same motives the Irish did. I votes against the treaty because the EU wasn’t ready for something 'big' as a constitution, a 'reform' treaty however would make de EU more efficient and become more of a 'one' voice in the international community.

    We Dutch, as a nation, have been contributing large amounts of money (most pp) to the EU. And I bet a lot of that money has been flowing to Ireland. And now they are to decide the faith of the EU? I think the Irish need to reflect and consider the fact that they, by al nations, are the one slowing the EU down.

    The Irish no isn’t just slowing the process it’s an offence to all EU citizens who paid for there wealth.

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  • 137. At 11:12am on 14 Jun 2008, G_Plamantouras wrote:

    While this is hardly tragic and only arguably a mild crisis, it is a serious pain in the neck that will force European leaders to remove their glasses, wipe their brows and start salvaging the unused and quite functional parts of the good ship Lisbon. The Eu project is real with or without a treaty which - to me at least -is only the final stamp on an already functoning body.

    I am really unclear as to what in the world it is the slim Irish majority wants. I grant that Lisbon is not the 100% perfect for each country. In fact, it may not be perfect for any country but it is the result of genuinely well-intentioned work with the benefits and well being of each member state in mind. Every member state has had to make some kind of sacrifice for the greater good. For this slim Irish majority to vote against the greater good is selfish, myopic and ultimately pointless because Lisbon - or something very much like it - will happen.

    Past treaties had clear problems and the French in particular were fairly clear on their misgivings when they cast their 'non' vote. However, Lisbon is a good package and would serve everyone -Ireland included- remarkably well. Anti-establishment? Militarization of Europe? Reduced influence in affairs of state? The terribly obstuctionist No Camp deserve credit for one thing: they (ethically or not) outcampaigned the Yes Camp which took an overly leisurely approach.

    Some of the arguments I have been reading from the No Camp in Ireland (similar to those of the Danes of the early 90s) talk about the threats to their sovereignty and national identity. Those issues were addressed decades ago and bringing them up now leads me to wonder whether Ireland even wants to be a part of the EU at all.

    Perhaps Ireland should have a referendum on whether it should stay in the EU.

    Perhaps the rest of Europe should vote on Ireland and any other country that votes down a treaty without having any real reasons. I might find myself in the No Camp on such an occasion.

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  • 138. At 11:15am on 14 Jun 2008, chriskingfleet wrote:

    It would be a surprise if our politicians backed away from "ratification" of the Lisbon Treay.

    It would be good if every MP signed a legal affidavit to state they had actually read and understood the document, before voting for ratification. I doubt that 600+ MPs have taken the trouble to plough through this stuff. In which case, how can they offer a vote in either direction?

    I have tried to get through the stuff. As many politicians have admitted, it was designed to be inpenetrable.

    The "Constitution" at least was written to be understood.

    I am a "citizen" of the EU. How does that work? What protection will the EU give me that I don't have under my UK citizenship?

    The EU has a legal identity and an administrative arm. But you can't be a citizen of a legal entity, otherwise we'd be citizens of any company we work for.

    Too many laws. Too many clever, but impractical, politicians who believe that creating laws and regulations equates improvement in people's lives.

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  • 139. At 11:23am on 14 Jun 2008, DistantTraveller wrote:

    So our foreign secretary David Miliband says Irish result should be respected but there should also be a "British view" on the treaty.

    And what is that British view exactly? We haven't been allowed to have a vote!

    And if the Irish result "should be respected" that would imply asking voters is important.

    What hypocrisy!

    The fact that our political masters want to press on regardless shows just how important it is to reject this wretched programme.

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  • 140. At 11:25am on 14 Jun 2008, Kalleboll wrote:

    "The lack of coherence of the treaty is precisely why such documents can not be decided on by direct democracy of "ordinary people". Trust your elected governments who signed it. Most of the daily technical decisions are NOT made by ways of direct democracy - states are too complex for every technicality to be decided by every citizen directly."

    When we signed on to the EU we were promised several clauses, by politicians in EU and Sweden (for instance regarding our right to protest in relation to our laber laws). Somehow the EU bureaucrats slipped in small wordings in the treaty - making our labour laws obsolete after 15 years in European courts. No one wanted that, not even those politicians who signed the treaty. So who should we really trust - more lawyers? Obviously you think those with less intellegence are not worth asking - the elite/you is not smarter than the common man.

    This is a huge decision and it deserves direct democracy (even if it is hard to pull off).


    "I'm trying to tune into this blog, but I'm having trouble understand the Lisbon treaty. There is a parliament, correct? Is it directly elected, or appointed? Is there a separate executive branch? How is the executive leadership elected or appointed?"

    Who knows? Our future top leaders in Europe with tremendous power (speaks with one voice and one opinion, has diplomatic corps and money behind him/her) will be elected in secret rooms - by other politicians. Probably some Italian super pro EU figure..


    ..our foreign Swe minister today said he would go on with signing it anyway. Lots of people protest, lets see how this plays out..

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  • 141. At 11:29am on 14 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:

    The fundamental point is all Europeans in the 27 countries want to stick together. The discussion lies on how we want to do it, which it is (and will be) a hard task in the next years ahead.

    Just remember the creation of the USA was the result of a long fight and consensus. The same could apply now in the project to reunite all countries in the Americas.

    Therefore the Irish rejection of Lisbon is just a mere obstacle in the long way ahead, but it doesn't question at all the fundamental plan.

    In addition, it's encouraging how much passion arouses the construction of our common house, inside and outside the Old Continent.

    Discussions must go on, everybody is welcome. We've got plenty of years forward.

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  • 142. At 11:34am on 14 Jun 2008, purpleDogzzz wrote:

    The Irish Prime Minister has said that there will NOT be another referendum, so this treaty is is not alive, it's passed on! This treaty is no more! it has ceased to be! It expired and gone to meet 'is maker! It's a stiff! Bereft of life, It rests in peace! If the EU wasn't in total denial it'd be pushing up the daisies! it's kicked the bucket, it's shuffled off it's mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin chior invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-TREATY!!!!! Apologies to John Cleese

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  • 143. At 11:38am on 14 Jun 2008, lukekeave wrote:

    After the final vote on the Lisbon Treaty the president of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering

    "A vast majority of you have voted in favour of the Lisbon Treaty. This is an expression of the free will of the peoples you represent."

    Really! When did I have a say on Europe?The MEPS have no contact with the electorate from one election to the next, yet they are supposdedly expressing our views.

    RatchettPatchettII, yes the EU parliament rejected the ammendment to the Lisbon treaty saying they would
    "undertake to respect the outcome of the referendum in Ireland." Those who voted against the ammendment included an Irish MEP.

    So an Irish MEP is expressing the free will of the people he represents while not respecting the outcome of the referendum.

    This sort of hypocrisy sums up the EU.

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  • 144. At 11:46am on 14 Jun 2008, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To chriskingfleet (138):

    "I am a "citizen" of the EU. How does that work? What protection will the EU give me that I don't have under my UK citizenship?"

    EU citizenship gives you rights that your UK citizenship doesn't give, essentially EU citizenship gives and guarantees basic rights in all EU countries. Compare this to that when you, as a British citizen, go to a foreign country, you are at the mercy of the local laws and you either have some rights as a human or non at all.

    Now what are these rights... well they include in example such as:
    -a right not to be discriminated against on grounds of nationality
    -the right of free movement and residence throughout the Union and the right to apply to work in any position
    -the right to vote and the right to stand in local and European elections in any Member State
    -the right to protection by the diplomatic or consular authorities of other Member States when in a non-EU Member State

    There are more about EU citizenship in the Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Citizenship_of_the_European_Union

    Now there rights may sound as natural and as common as they can be, but they are not. Just try to move to US or Japan to work or live permanently there and you will see that it's not easy. With the EU, you as a citizen of UK, have right in all 27 countries that the EU guarantees to you.

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  • 145. At 11:46am on 14 Jun 2008, nmarisi wrote:

    The main problem with people and the EU is that people are ignorant, they don't read, they don't get informed and believe common myths such ash the EU is a massive bureaucracy (when only the BBC or the city of Madrid have more employees than the entire EU).

    People still believe we live in teh 19th century, that the European countries matter in the world, that they have a say.
    Because of people like this, in the years to come, China, India, the US and the other emerging economies are going to crush us like a bug and we'll still be fighting among us.
    The EU is not an option is a necessity when you're trying to compete with countries that have gigantic populations and are developing quickly.

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  • 146. At 11:55am on 14 Jun 2008, labourbankruptedusall wrote:

    It's not a crisis at all; it's just an indication that they shouldn't try it again because most of the people in Europe don't like their approach.

    The EU, instead of trying to circumvent the will of the people for their own personal easy-life, should listen to what people are telling them; it doesn't need re-drafting; they just need to drop it completely down the toilet and start afresh with something completely different which actually takes account of democracy.

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  • 147. At 12:18pm on 14 Jun 2008, purpleDogzzz wrote:

    @62 RCMoya612: "Complex? Yes. The end of democracy!? Give me a darn break."

    Well, I am nearly 40 years old, I was born in a fully independent nation that decided 100% of it's laws democratically.

    The British people have never been asked for our permission for this change.

    Even in the last election, the EU was cynically taken out of consideration, as ALL parties promised a referendum. The people were told (falsely by labour and liberal democrats) that we could vote safe in the knowledge that we WOULD be given a say on this treaty.

    We have not. We have given a vast amount of our soveriegnty over a number of treaties since the 1970's referendum on the EEC (a trading block) without being given any say.

    Where is the democratic accountibilty, for I see NONE!

    If the EU continues the ratification process, in spite of this no vote, then the whole EU project will be utterly illigitimate and without a legal basis.

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  • 148. At 12:23pm on 14 Jun 2008, Kalleboll wrote:


    "The main problem with people and the EU is that people are ignorant, they don't read, they don't get informed and believe common myths such ash the EU is a massive bureaucracy (when only the BBC or the city of Madrid have more employees than the entire EU)."

    oooo..another elitist super besserwisser.

    Until EU can decide on one location to reside its huge machine, which is populated by huge numbers of people, it should not be allowed to think about "new" expansions. The current, "we move and waste money thing" (from Brussels to Strasbourg) is disturbing. Go figure, old agreements that don't make sense.

    http://openeuropeblog.blogspot.com/2007/01/how-many-people-work-for-eu.html.

    ..problem is that no one really knows what the EU does with its money (corruption is high too). Lots of jobs for a few countries (old EU states perhaps).

    "....that the European countries matter in the world, that they have a say.
    Because of people like this, in the years to come, China, India, the US and the other emerging economies are going to crush us like a bug and we'll still be fighting among us."

    oooo, another power hungry ..scaremonger.

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  • 149. At 12:31pm on 14 Jun 2008, rose-blogger wrote:

    What I fail to realise is why the EU insist upon trying to force the EU Consitution upon nations who quite obviously do not want it. Surely it is a denial of democracy if the views of the people are not taken into consideration? The French assume that Irish voters obviously did not understand the question and hence they should vote again until they get the right answer. What will it take for the EU to finally realise that the majority of the nation did not want it for a reason and not because they simply could not undersand it? As Ireland was the only country who could hold a referendum, surely their result is the most important. I thought ministers were meant to implement policies which the public wanted, not go against their wishes and do what their colleagues in Brussels tell them to do. When are politicians finally going to realise that our voices should be acknowledged and not just ignored as has been the case with the whole construction of the Lisbon Treaty even though the French and the Dutch voted against the EU Constitution three years ago?

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  • 150. At 12:37pm on 14 Jun 2008, randomxnp wrote:

    DutchNemo

    Two points:

    Do you know why people did not understand the Treaty? It is because it was deliberately written to be unreadable, to fool people into just accepting it. That is scandalous, but also leaves it open to interpretation. How can people vote for something that not only are they not being allowed to understand, but even the people who wrote it cannot guarantee how it will be interpreted?

    Secondly the EU did rig the vote, just not enough to win. As stated above the treaty could not be understood, so even the politicians were just trusting the EU when supporting it. Then the rules governing referenda in Ireland, which had been very fair and unbiased, were changed to favour the establishment, which was in favour of a "yes" vote. The EU also paid for pro-treaty propaganda. The referendum was not run in an open, democratic fashion.

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  • 151. At 12:41pm on 14 Jun 2008, mcdv1975 wrote:

    @nmarisi (145) wrote... "common myths such ash the EU is a massive bureaucracy"

    I assure you it is a massive bureaucracy. You know why? You are not taking into account the 100s of 1000s (hundreds of thousands) of bureaucrats who on paper work for the national governments but in reality do nothing but implement EU legislation. The EU has such a degree of control over legislation that effectively many bureaucrats working for the member states, work for the EU. And that is the cunning bit, it allows the EU to keep up the myth that it really isn't a massive bureaucracy, when it so clearly is. And a very undemocratic one at that.

    @Kallebol (148)

    Elitist is the right word. You see, these people don't care if they have support for their policies or not (seems that they don't have, but that's not the point here). They are part of an arrogant 'pseudo-progressive' elite (usually university educated) who think that 'they know what is best' for stupid idiots such as me and you'. They have nothing but contempt for the principles of democracy and popular sovereignty. Monnet was one of them, he visioned an unelected mutually-appointed elite running the show, without any possibility of democratic parliamentary control.

    The main reason that this mistrust of politicians and the EU is rapidly increasing is because no matter how we vote, no matter what we do, it just continues. We feel/know that we are powerless to do anything about it. Everytime we vote no, they simply ignore it, or ask for a rerun, or just avoid referendums altogether.

    I have talked to several of Dutch politicians about this Treaty thing, and I have come to the conclusion that they do not understand the slightest bit about it. They spew out nothing but the standard EU propaganda about it. I do not want uninformed politicians making the decision for me, especially not if its a decision the majority so fervently disagree with. Polls indicate that if there had been a referendum in Holland, the no vote would have increased from 62% last time to well over 70% this time (which of course is THE reason why our arrogant political elite denied us the referendum).

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  • 152. At 12:42pm on 14 Jun 2008, Peter_Palladas wrote:

    Robert Mugabe holds an election. He loses. So he forces another election.

    Whereas European Ministers....

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  • 153. At 12:53pm on 14 Jun 2008, randomxnp wrote:

    nmarasi (145)

    It appears that you, not those you attack, are the ignorant one. The problem is not that people do not make themselves informed. The problem is that the EU deliberately keep people in the dark.

    It is not just that the Lisbon Treaty was deliberately written so that people would not understand it (a fact admitted by those that wrote it).

    EU legislation is often written obscurely, and written just before implementation by unaccountable committees so no discussion is possible. I am in the process of implementing some EU legislation in my company which was finalised about 2 weeks before we had to have our company procedures rewritten in order to continue in business, to the evident despair of our competent UK regulators who have to monitor the change.

    The EU does not like dissent, and many decisions are made in secret.

    They certainly don't like questioning from the small sector of the European media which has the temerity to do so. Deliberate lies are told about the effects of EU interference in areas it has no real business. Those who question are told their fears are groundless, until the legislation is in place, and then they are told "well it's done now. No use in complaining".

    Yes we are ignorant. By deliberate EU policy. You are also ignorant, but in addition you are ignorant of the reason for your ignorance.

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  • 154. At 1:02pm on 14 Jun 2008, the-real-truth wrote:

    I guess Mugabe will be taking notes incase the zimbabweans keep voting the wrong way.

    I always thought europe could teach banana repblics a thing or two about democracy and elections - I never imagined that this would be it though...

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  • 155. At 1:05pm on 14 Jun 2008, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Kalleboll (148):

    "Until EU can decide on one location to reside its huge machine, which is populated by huge numbers of people, it should not be allowed to think about "new" expansions. The current, "we move and waste money thing" (from Brussels to Strasbourg) is disturbing. Go figure, old agreements that don't make sense."

    Go tell that to the Swedish goverment. The EU, the Commission and the parliament are sick and tired of moving between Brussels and Strasbourg, but they don't have the authority to put an end to it. The only ones who have that authority are the member countries. In the next Swedish elections why not try to make it an issue or try to get yourself elected so you can put an stop to this.


    "..problem is that no one really knows what the EU does with its money (corruption is high too). Lots of jobs for a few countries (old EU states perhaps)."

    No. The Commission is and have been cleared by its accountants every year, however accountants haven't cleared member countries thus they haven't cleared the whole union. Some money that goes to member countries is being fraud and some moneys, or not the actual money but their papers, go missing because handling of bureaucracy.


    "oooo, another power hungry ..scaremonger."

    No. Look what China is doing in Africa. Look what the US is doing in middle east. If we don't get our act together the US, China and India will split the raw resources between them. I don't say that we should take part on this process, but we should have the power to check those powers on abusing their position.

    On a note... power and taking advantage aren't always visible. Take a look at the US and the position of US dollar. Because US has been for a while a sole superpower they have made the dollar a reserve currency. There are more dollars circulating outside the US than in the US. What this has meant that US has had the freedom to print money without creating inflation, in essence the rest of the world has paid extra and US has gathered that. The stop to US dollar has only been put by the introduction of Euro. So there is a real issue about protecting ourselves and the world against the growing influence of US, China and India.

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  • 156. At 1:20pm on 14 Jun 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    To betuli #134 re greenland,

    when is a state a country or a province or anything else and how do they move from one to the other, you are clouding the truth as that great oracle of knowledge Wikipedia says "Greenland became an integral part of the Kingdom of Denmark in 1953. It was granted home rule by the Folketing (Danish parliament) in 1978. The law went into effect on May 1, 1979. The Queen of Denmark, Margrethe II, remains Greenland's Head of State. Greenlandic voters subsequently chose to leave the European Economic Community upon achieving self-rule, because they did not want to allow European fishing fleets in Greenlandic waters."

    Consequently, though theoretically a province of Denmark they are independent and as an independent state they did vote to leave the EU and they did leave it in 1985, proving that any of the current members can leave the EU without needing the Lisbon treaty provisions.

    As for being an Island not linked to Europe, you should remember there are a number of far off Islands that also share that criteria, look at the French overseas departments for example that are in all ways part of France.

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  • 157. At 1:34pm on 14 Jun 2008, threnodio wrote:

    Three failed referenda in as many years seems to point to what has been obvious to many of us for a long time. Europe's leaders are hopelessly out of touch with what ordinary Europeans actually want. So much so that the 26 governments cynically circumvented the democratic process by styling the Lisbon process a 'treaty' rather than a 'constitution' in order to avoid the deafening roars of 'no' which would have greeted it if put totheir respective peoples.

    Perhaps it is not so much a question of being out of touch as simply not caring. The collective leadership of Europe have their project and they are damned if they are going to let it be derailed but something as trivial as the wishes of the people.

    Neither, I suspect, will tinkering with the detail then asking them to vote all over again cut any ice this time round. Telling the people they voted incorrectly and to try again sounds more like Harare than Brussels.

    If Europe is to be reformed, the best place to start would be to teach the collective leadership the art of taking 'no' for an answer.

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  • 158. At 1:56pm on 14 Jun 2008, BlackPhi wrote:

    The problem with this referendum is that it pretended there was no consequence to a 'no' vote - the EU would simply tweak things to give Eire a bit more then try again.

    A more honest approach would be for the rest of the EU to ratify the treaty then send it back to the Irish people with a simple choice: sign up to the treaty or leave the EU. If they don't want to be a part of the EU then that is their democratic right, if they do then they need to adjust their constitution to make the enlarged community workable. Leaving things as they are is not an option.

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  • 159. At 2:12pm on 14 Jun 2008, Kalleboll wrote:

    "Go tell that to the Swedish goverment. The EU, the Commission and the parliament are sick and tired of moving between Brussels and Strasbourg, but they don't have the authority to put an end to it. The only ones who have that authority are the member countries. In the next Swedish elections why not try to make it an issue or try to get yourself elected so you can put an stop to this."

    Sweden has no say in that matter. Its about jobs in two European countries. Bureaucrats within the EU will loose their job if either win (unless they want to move their families).. those decisions are made in secret meetings (perhaps I can reach that top level position next year?).

    "No. The Commission is and have been cleared by its accountants every year, however accountants haven't cleared member countries thus they haven't cleared the whole union. Some money that goes to member countries is being fraud and some moneys, or not the actual money but their papers, go missing because handling of bureaucracy."

    The commission is a tiny fraction of the EU machine. The EU as a hole is not hold accountable and neither is the commission in fully. A Swedish lady, whom also did the same job within UN, actually holds the position of fixing the corruption in the EU-bureaucracy - she repeatedly says its not possible because EU is protecting the EU (corrupt politicians, lobbyists and bureaucrats). Secrecy is a big problem and lack of will to reform another.

    "No. Look what China is doing in Africa. Look what the US is doing in middle east. If we don't get our act together the US, China and India will split the raw resources between them. I don't say that we should take part on this process, but we should have the power to check those powers on abusing their position."

    hmm.. this is exactly why EU is not a representation of the people it supposedly serves. This is exactly how bureaucrats thinks. Historically EU has been used as a huge distortion machine - reaping resources at the expense of other poorer countries. I believe there was an agreement not long ago to stop that stuff. China actually are doing trade with Africa on a win-win basis (and of course shady arms dealing too, but we do them too). Africa chose Chine because they get something back in return.

    You want the EU to extort, or go to war, against other countries for us to "secure" cheaper oil/wood (etc) resources. How about we pay them and collaborate instead? Did you like the Iraq war too? Don't mind people dying perhaps, for the bigger "resource" cause?

    I think I've found the EU-application form that is used when interviewing bureaucrats:

    - There is a crisis in Sudan and EU is asked to help with aids, what would you do?

    1: send food and supplies

    2: send food and supplies and broker a long deal giving cheap access to [add resource of choice]?

    - China is moving in on African markets cutting our profits, what would yo do:

    1: Try to move beyond the old EU legacy and broker fair deals benefiting Africans nations too? Its time to show we are good people!

    2: Protest/lobby at the WTO calling the Chinese criminals and then raising import tariffs on agricultural products (could impact the poorest share of Africa)?

    Correct answer is: 2,2 - which indicate a healthy level of cut throat mentality and reasonable amounts of empathy.

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  • 160. At 2:16pm on 14 Jun 2008, ebooij wrote:

    Does anyone remember how, back in the old days, the US were created? Dit the southerners get the vote? Oh no, they got armies and bullets and hundreds of thousands of vicims. What a bad union!

    I wouldn't say that this is the procedure of choice for the EU, but what exactly is wrong with leaving this sort of decisions to the elected national parliaments?

    And if countries believe the EU is no longer good for them, why not have the courage to leave the project altogether?

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  • 161. At 2:20pm on 14 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    re Greenland....

    Today, Iceland has some of the world's highest levels of economic freedoms as well as civil freedoms. As of 2007, Iceland is the most developed country in the world with fellow Nordic country Norway according to the Human Development Index and one of the most egalitarian, according to the calculation provided by the Gini coefficient
    It is also the fourth most productive country per capita

    Iceland is a member of the UN, NATO, EFTA, EEA and OECD, but not of the European Union.

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  • 162. At 2:37pm on 14 Jun 2008, DPanna wrote:

    The EU will tell Ireland to vote again... and again... and again. Until the vote the correct way.

    This is how EU democracy works! The Soviet Union it seems did not end in 1991, it simply moved to Brussels!

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  • 163. At 3:10pm on 14 Jun 2008, cooldereko wrote:

    David Milliband says we need to register the British View on ratification so it is going ahead even though the treaty is by virtue of the Irish no vote dead in the water. How come we didn't have a referndum on the Constitution wheb the French and Dutch rejected that so that we could register the British view back then.

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  • 164. At 3:21pm on 14 Jun 2008, northlondon01 wrote:

    I can't stand people on here saying THIS is what the problem is, and THIS is how is can be fixed.

    Managing the EU was always going to be a huge task - people have a genuine distrust of policiticians in the UK (and I assume maybe this is the case in the rest of Europe). I have an even bigger mistrust of european politicians because of the massive quantities of cash that flows thrugh it, the lack of auditting etc, even lack of direct democracy.

    When a country can't even make up it's mind, how do you expect 27 countries made out of millions of different people with different political/religious/social views to reach a shared opinion! So why are people surprised with the results as soon as countries start having referendums?

    But I think the key point is that you can't grab a couple of dozen countries with lots of history and pride and expect them to all get along in one glorious organisation (god forbid a USE). This is the worry alot of people (well in the UK anyway) have - they are not prepared to give up their freedoms (I am not saying the Lisbon Treaty is saying that though). I can't see it ever working, certainly not for some time when maybe policiy is implemented slowly, slowly.

    This guy on here, Moya something, was going on about America coming to the rescue, the American Constitution model etc. This is not America. As I said this is a group of countries with histories going back 1000's of years, it's not that simple to say 'this is how we should do it, let's all run our organisation like this'. And when a country sets itself up as some kind of world peace keeping force, they then can't complain about the costs of coming to the 'aid' of other countries. America doesn't do something for nothing, they are looking to get something out of it - be it influence, a favour owed etc.

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  • 165. At 3:25pm on 14 Jun 2008, purpleDogzzz wrote:

    Make that 2 Eu members deciding no.

    "Czech president Vaclav Klaus, who is supported by the country's largest political party, called the Irish referendum vote a "victory of freedom and reason" and said "ratification cannot continue".

    His view was echoed in the Czech senate. "

    The Czech Republic has not ratified the Lisbon treaty and now looks like they will not bother, as there is no point ratifying a dead treaty.

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  • 166. At 3:29pm on 14 Jun 2008, AqualungCumbria wrote:

    The sound bites now coming from EU leaders imply that they are going to press ahead and at a later date force the Irish to comply.

    whether you are for or against the treaty now becomes immaterial as this is not democracy at work.

    people must stand up and fight against this lunacy its scarey.

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  • 167. At 3:46pm on 14 Jun 2008, purpleDogzzz wrote:

    @158 BlackPhi... It looks like 2 countries at least will say no.

    The Czech Republic are now saying that they will NOT ratify the treaty, as it is already dead.

    Also, I take issue with your premise. The Irish have been one of the most pro EU members. If the EU takes such a harsh line on them, for pointing out that the project is not wrong, but this disasterous treaty is, then god help every other member state. The arrogant attitude that you display is one of the central reasons the people of the EU are becoming increasingly negative about the whole thing. You seem to want it to be a dictatorship that states "you take what we say and be grateful or else!"

    The truth of the matter is, the EU is NOT meant to be a democratic institution, it is a federalist oligarchy. It is a stepping stone to a global dictatorship.

    People have NOT rejected a cooperative EU, made up of cooperitive states, but they have rejected an EU dictatorship.

    The problem for the EU leadership is bridging the gap in the PR between the fiction of an EU of the people for the people and the reality of the imposition of an EU dictatorship on behalf of the globalist elitists.

    In the UK, anyone under the age of 51 has NEVER had ANY vote on the European project at all and NOBODY has had any vote on the EU whatsoever. When will there be ANY democratic accountibility?

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  • 168. At 3:59pm on 14 Jun 2008, glowingCiaran wrote:

    Living in France where the predecessor of the Lisbon treaty was defeated, it is clear to me that the vote had more to do with a myriad of issues (anti-Turkey sentiment, anti-Chirac votes, anti-immigration etc) rather than defeating the actual constitution. I can see why people in Ireland may think that the No vote is one in the eye for the faceless beaurecrats in Brussels, however, this vote is certainly not that. In fact the only people really benefitting from this decision are the UKips of this world and my stomach turned on Friday evening to see a grinning Jean-marie le Pen, leader of the Far-right National Front speaking of his 'Irish Brothers' as the Irish tricolour flew over the NF Headquarters. It was also peddled that the Irish people have decided and the process to ratify should now stop. 850,000 people out of an electorate of 3 million is hardly the people speaking, especially as no votes were as myriad as the French ones 3 years ago. 18 countries have already ratified. Does their votes not now count?
    There are two points from this:
    1) Despite what many think, this was not a big bold sneaky treaty designed to take away national identities and improve unelected governance. This treaty was about streamlining procedures, above all else, to allow the EU to lead globally on important global issues. The original procedures were never fully designed to allow decision making for 27 countries. What the no camp have done is to shoot themselves in the foot. Now, it is certain, we will never get decisons to further improve workers rights and to tackle global warming because a spanner has been thrown in the works. Well done!
    Secondly, The irish Government seriously need to look at why they had a Referendum in the first place. On adoption of the Euro, yes, but for this? I am not an expert on Bunreacht Na hEireann (The Irish Constitution), but how would the adoption of this treaty seriously affect the constitution?
    Most people do not really know about the institutional practices of the EU institutions. It's not patronising to say so. So how could you be expected to know about the technical changes to these voting practices which have been finely worked out over many years of tortutous negotiations and finally agreed by 27 Governments of elected politicans who DO KNOW these arrangements? Sinn Fein of all parties should know that agreements are not beautiful little ideal packages. There are things we like and don't like. That's the nature of agreements. If they had have taken that attitude 10 years ago, we would not have had the Belfast Agreement. Surely Dail Eireann (The Irish Parliament) should have ratified this document? After all, we complain our TD's (MPs) don't have much to do.
    This vote on local and immediate issues, as well as on myths and prejudices, should not be allowed to stall this delicate process which was designed to allow the EU of 27 Governments to lead on important issues of GLOBAL concern, not just for the hundreds of millions of people in the EU, nor for the 850,000 people in Ireland who want to banjax (to make something not run smoothly) the governance of this great body.

    Ciaran Hanna
    Reims
    France


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  • 169. At 4:10pm on 14 Jun 2008, deadtired wrote:

    How amusing to be told time and time again, "just trust your politicians - they understand these complicated things", when it transpires that a huge part of the problem is that the politicians themselves admit they have not read the blessed thing.
    Oh, and apparently half of it hasn't been written yet.
    I have a blank cheque here...perhaps you'd care to....oh, why not?

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  • 170. At 4:14pm on 14 Jun 2008, purpleDogzzz wrote:

    @ 145, as others have stated, the EU IS a massive bureaucracy. The EU may not directly emply thousands of bureaucrats, but there are hundreds of thousands of bureaucrats employed throughout the EU member states specifically to impliment the masses of EU diktats that have to be rubberstamped and implemented without any national democratic accountibility whatsoever.

    People are being arrested and getting criminal records because their bins have 4 inches too much rubbish in, because of EU legislation, that is passed on to the member states for the bureaucrats to implement at great inconvenience and expense.

    The EU is an undemocratic bureaucratic nightmare, yet it is the best kind of dream for jobsworths who add nothing of value AT ALL to society, yet cost society massively in inconvenience and money.

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  • 171. At 4:32pm on 14 Jun 2008, mcdv1975 wrote:

    @ glowingCiaran (168)

    "18 countries have already ratified. Does their votes not now count?"

    The peoples in those countries never voted for it, politicians did, without any mandate whatsoever, mostly against the will of their peoples. We (Netherlands) and 25 other countries were denied the chance to vote because politicians knew what the answer would be.

    glowingCiaran: "Most people do not really know about the institutional practices of the EU institutions. It's not patronising to say so."

    Maybe it isn't patronising to say so in the eyes of 'we know what is best for you' elitists. As a matter of fact, we do know what the EU is about and you don't seem to like it. The EU has always been an attempt by the political elite to effectively sideline parliamentary democracy by transferring powers to unelected politicians who cannot be held accountable (the 'Monnet' method).

    And how come many people don't know how the EU works? Well, it was deliberately designed this way. We are not supposed to know or understand. We are not supposed to be able to influence policy with our votes.

    Politicians who sign up to this against their peoples will do not represent their peoples. This is not surprising because as I mentioned many times before, the system was deliberately set up this way so that politicians who have some doubts immediately come under pressure from all sides within the system. Politicians motto's: "do not derail our gravy train", "if you do not agree you are not a good European".

    To the pro-EU crowd its always the GW Bush mentality, we're either with them or against them. We either have to blindly swallow whatever they come up with or get out of the system altogether. Never any middle ground.

    Doesn't it ever come to the mind of the pro-EU 'progressive'/university-educated elites that the peoples might not want (further) political integration? Who are you to override our will?

    Message to all politicians/journalists (particularly BBC types)/elitists etc: we don't like this systems, and small reforms won't help it. We want a clean break with what we have now and go back to economic cooperation only and maybe some cooperation on other issues (on an opt-in basis only). No more political integration unless its based on 100% popular sovereignty and 100% democracy. This system we have now is nowhere near good enough.

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  • 172. At 4:34pm on 14 Jun 2008, mcdv1975 wrote:

    http://www.eubusiness.com/news-eu/1213450322.48

    There we have it. "Keep voting until you get it right". How dare these people lecture Mugabe, China, Iran or Egypt about democracy? I can certainly understand Mugabe now, he just wants the Zimbabweans to keep voting until they get the right result.

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  • 173. At 5:35pm on 14 Jun 2008, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To Kalleboll (159):

    No, the Swedish goverment can do something to the monthly rally between Brussels and Strasbourg. If they, or any goverment of any member country, wanted to do something they would start negotiations with all other member countries to change the situation. Yes, the negations would be difficult but not impossible, of course France would want something in return of giving up Strasbourg but that's up to member states to negotiate. This is 0% about people loosing jobs and 100% about member countries just not either caring or having something more pressing to do.

    *sight*... China is bankrupting Africa. They offer big loans to African governments to start projects to produce raw materials. The money is then recycled to China by giving the projects to be build by Chinese companies and Chinese workers. In example in Nigeria there is a community of 50 000 Chinese, which is much larger number than British ever hat ex-patriots in the country. The end result that is feared that Chinese will more or less re-colonize Africa. African countries will incur debts and China will then use that as leverage to control them. African governments, largely generals and dictators, have chosen China as their partner as Chinese don't set any terms to loans and trade deals as advancing democracy and human rights. Yes, Africans will be so much better dealing with Chinese. Not.

    The thing what I and many other want is that we power to negotiate. Currently EU doesn't have that power to really protect their member countries. Just ask Finnish about taxes on wood exports from Russia. Just ask any eastern European country, they all have problems. It's all about having power to negotiate fair deals.

    Now lets take in example Russia taxes on wood exports. By putting taxes on wood exports they essentially stop wood trading to Nordic countries. Now the result is that wood will not be shredded from Karelian forests at all meaning huge losses to local population. Now why is Russian goverment doing this? Well the reason they have announced is that they want to develop their own forest sectors and they also said that they might repeal taxes on wood exports if foreign forest companies would invest to Russia. Now that would be somehow acceptable, but in the end when in example Finnish company Ruukki tried to build a pulp mill in Russia, their project ended because of difficulties with local set of Russian goverment. The real reason why Russia is putting taxes on wood exports is to lower the woods price on Russia allowing the Russian forest companies to make even bigger profits.

    I really hope that you sometimes wake up to the reality. You have too rosy picture about what other powers are doing.

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  • 174. At 5:44pm on 14 Jun 2008, franjohn wrote:

    How long did it take to get rid of the communist Eastern block? With the democratic deficit that is evident in the EU we will soon have our very own Soviet Republic with Tsar Tony ruling!

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  • 175. At 5:50pm on 14 Jun 2008, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To mcdv1975 (171):

    "The peoples in those countries never voted for it, politicians did, without any mandate whatsoever, mostly against the will of their peoples. We (Netherlands) and 25 other countries were denied the chance to vote because politicians knew what the answer would be."

    That is pure propaganda and demeaning. All EU countries including Netherlands are representative democracies, some are more and some are less. Finland in example is strongly representative democracy where parliament is the key and only decision maker. We don't actually have a such a thing as binding referendums, if a referendum is organized it can only advice and not bind the parliament. Finnish parliament voted in favor of the treaty in numbers of 151 to 27. Peoples representatives have voted and the country has made a decision, end of story.

    If you are not happy with your representative democracy then either get elected or make revolution and transform your country to be based more on principles of direct democracy. Either way, people have been heard, they have voted in elections, they have chosen their representatives to lead the country and the representatives have made a decision. It's disrespectful and demeaning to say that people have been denied their vote as that's not how our republic nor your parliamentary monarchy work.

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  • 176. At 6:07pm on 14 Jun 2008, need4reality wrote:

    @168. At 3:59 pm on 14 Jun 2008, glowingCiaran

    you wrote: "This treaty was about streamlining procedures"

    Yes, procedures that Europeans do not want.



    "Now, it is certain, we will never get decisons to further improve workers rights and to tackle global warming"

    This treaty has nothing to do with those things. Asking us to subjugate ourselves to an unelected minority, who speak empty words on climate change and destroy workers rights is hardly a step forward.
    It only makes their regressive agenda approach faster and faster.



    "The irish Government seriously need to look at why they had a Referendum in the first place."

    Its called a constitutional protection.

    For all you EU pay-rollers, this will be wasted, but for those who are unsure:
    This protects the Irish from losing rights they have fought decades to ensure for their children.

    The EU constitution will strip these rights away and never give them back.



    "(The Irish Constitution), how would the adoption of this treaty seriously affect the constitution?"

    If the court in Europe saw (in their eyes) it was in the best interest of the Union to deny a fundamental right to an individual or organisation, it has the power to do so.

    That overrides the Irish constitution.



    "Most people do not really know about the institutional practices of the EU institutions."

    True, because they are not told.

    But in fact many people do know, and that is why so many people are against them. The people are not as stupid as the EU keeps on insisting.



    "...worked out over many years of tortutous negotiations and finally agreed by 27 Governments of elected politicans."

    ...in private meetings, with very little in the way of scrutiny; basically none at all. Powerful individuals were invited, the concerns of their governments (yes they at least, are elected...) were left in the dark.

    Carving up Europe behind closed doors is not a democratic process.



    "EU of 27 Governments to lead on important issues of GLOBAL concern"

    You mean 18 UNELECTED commissioners to help enforce the domination of a Minuscule Minority on a global scale.

    How noble their cause...

    Vivre la France

    Enfin la Tyrannie

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  • 177. At 6:21pm on 14 Jun 2008, Sailwithrob wrote:

    How can the EU preach to Mugabe about democracy when they ignore the will of the people in three referenda.

    I am now truly fearful that I live under an undemocratic system that might seem benign today but may become very sinister in the fullness of time.

    They have unashamedly proven their undemocratic leanings by their reaction to the Irish vote. How Milliband can continue with the ratification process after hearing the reactions of Barroso also demonstrates what weak ineffectual idiots we hve running our own small part of the EU.

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  • 178. At 6:30pm on 14 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    Jukka_Rohila @175 wrote: "Peoples representatives have voted and the country has made a decision, end of story."

    Well, the people of Ireland voted in a binding referendum. Ireland has made a decision: the Lisbon Treaty has been rejected. End of story.

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  • 179. At 7:26pm on 14 Jun 2008, chriskingfleet wrote:

    At 11:46 am on 14 Jun 2008, Jukka_Rohila wrote:
    To chriskingfleet (138):

    "I am a "citizen" of the EU. How does that work? What protection will the EU give me that I don't have under my UK citizenship?"

    EU citizenship gives you rights that your UK citizenship doesn't give, essentially EU citizenship gives and guarantees basic rights in all EU countries. Compare this to that when you, as a British citizen, go to a foreign country, you are at the mercy of the local laws and you either have some rights as a human or non at all.

    Now what are these rights... well they include in example such as:
    -a right not to be discriminated against on grounds of nationality
    -the right of free movement and residence throughout the Union and the right to apply to work in any position
    -the right to vote and the right to stand in local and European elections in any Member State
    -the right to protection by the diplomatic or consular authorities of other Member States when in a non-EU Member State


    Hey man. Get real.

    40+ years ago I joined a French company, working in the UK. My recollection is that there were at people from least 10 nationalities within the work-force. Some from what we now call EU countries, many from non-EU origins.

    Some of those folk got really involved with UK life and became local councillors. (No objections from local population.)

    So what additional "rights" has the EU offered?

    To be protected when in a non-EU member state?

    By whom?

    I really liked the idea of a European Economic Union. What happened to that?

    Do y7ou really believe that France would allow Air France toi be bought by a foreign entity?


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  • 180. At 7:50pm on 14 Jun 2008, dave wrote:

    This whole thing is getting embarrassing and dangerous.
    The political elite, both here in the UK and in Europe, MUST BE TOLD, in the strongest possible terms TO OBEY THE WILL OF THE MAJORITY OF THEIR RESPECTIVE ELECTORATES!
    This is such a simple point, that it should not have to be raised at all.
    Politicians are elected, in general terms, to reflect the wishes of the majority of the people they represent - otherwise, what the hell is the point of a DEMOCRACY??
    I am heartily sick and tired of the reasoning that they (politicians) must always be allowed to independently make up their minds on every major issue, vote with their consciences, toe the Party line etc.. and to completely ignore the wishes of those who put them in their positions in the first place!
    Am I missing something here - does my vote count for nothing at all?
    The yawning gulf between "them and us" is at its widest in repect of the "European Project". The utter and complete arrogance of those in power is breathtaking!
    I therefore strongly advise everyone who feels the same as I do, to send a direct message to the Downing Street website and tell the present incumbent that we must NOT continue with the present ratification process of the Lisbon Treaty and that, belatedly, a referendum should immediately be held on this subject.
    THIS MATTER IS FAR TOO IMPORTANT TO BE LEFT TO THE POLITICIANS - remember, there is a General Election in the not-too-distant-future, and we, the people STILL have the power!!!! - I hope!

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  • 181. At 8:19pm on 14 Jun 2008, ignace2 wrote:

    The Irish NO vote is an opportunity to finally start the two-tier movement in Europe. There are cleary countries that want it to be an economic union, no probblem with that. Other countries want on top of that a socio-political union, and no-one should have problems with that if that's the democratic choice of those countries. Each country should be asked where they want to be: 1.get out altogether and stop holding back the rest, 2. the economic union, 3 the socio-political union on top. I hope that that's what the country leaders will decide during their meeting next week. The current indecision doesn' help anybody, and a lot of that is due to the fact that there are these two fundamentally different visions for the EU. And if some countries want to get out altogether, then they should have the guts to make that decision and get out of the way (but please don't use the excuse that you want to get out, but your democratically elected government doesn't)

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  • 182. At 8:27pm on 14 Jun 2008, need4reality wrote:

    "Now what are these rights... well they include in example such as:
    -a right not to be discriminated against on grounds of nationality"

    Not grounds of race. (there is a difference)



    "-the right of free movement and residence throughout the Union and the right to apply to work in any position"

    Fair enough. People have opinions either way on that...



    "-the right to vote and the right to stand in local and European elections in any Member State"

    But some people don't want to vote in other countries; they enjoyed voting in their home nation when it actually gave them some power over their lives.
    The unelected Commission leaves so little power to the national governments that it is useless anyway.



    "-the right to protection by the diplomatic or consular authorities of other Member States when in a non-EU Member State"

    ...meaning they will become departments of the same EU consular.



    This also ignores the fact that, if the EU sees it the best interest for the Union, it can over-rule any of the above; and can over-rule member states constitutions too.

    No thanks.

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  • 183. At 9:09pm on 14 Jun 2008, mcdv1975 wrote:

    @Jukka_Rohila (175)

    But we voted in majority for parties that specifically and explicitly promised a referendum. Pro-referendum parties had (technically: have) a majority. Yet days after the election they cancelled the promise in a shady backroom deal. Merkel and Barroso put pressure on our government to cancel the referendum (as they did with Portugal and Britain, where also governments were elected based on a manifesto promise of a referendum).

    Is that how your socalled representative democracy is supposed to work? People vote in majority because they want something, and then when the parties who want that get a majority, they cancel the promise days after the election? Just because Merkel and Barroso pleaded with them to deny a referendum?

    And also, Jukka_Rohila, our parliaments were NOT elected so they could abdicate their responsibility and hand their legislative powers to the unelected crowd in Brussels.

    We the MAJORITY in Europe say NO to further political integration.

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  • 184. At 9:42pm on 14 Jun 2008, tykejim wrote:

    There isn't much on whichI agree with Thatcher , but this referendum demonstrates how right she was to say that complex issues (which most are) are inappropriate for determination by public vote. That's why we have developed representative democracy.

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  • 185. At 9:51pm on 14 Jun 2008, ignace2 wrote:

    @183 "We the MAJORITY in Europe say NO to further political integration." is probably the most undemocratic comment that I've seen in a long time. Let each country make their choice, and we should respect that choice, whatever it is; but don't think that you have the answer or that you can prescribe your answer, and don't trust the internet surveys that are organized by lobbyists.

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  • 186. At 10:20pm on 14 Jun 2008, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    184. At 9:42 pm on 14 Jun 2008, jimbrant wrote:

    "There isn't much on whichI agree with Thatcher , but this referendum demonstrates how right she was to say that complex issues (which most are) are inappropriate for determination by public vote. That's why we have developed representative democracy."


    That is not why we developed representative democracy. When it was developed, direct democracy would have been impractical in the UK. It was practical in Switzerland because they were operating in smaller units. They have it. It is wonderful. That is the reason they are free of the "EU" dictatorship. That is the reason so many things in Switzerland are just fantastic.

    We vote for representatives on the basis of these same "complex issues." So somehow or other we vote on them anyway. The trouble with representative democracy is that so many of those who would represent us are so despicably arrogant and dishonest.

    As it happens, I do not agree that the issues are complex. Do you want to be in a union with countries that have so many fascist policemen, so much corruption and a history of dictatorship?

    It's very very easy.

    Do you want to give your money to an organisation with a history of dodgy accounting?

    Do you want to be in a political union with a load of Catholic countries when Catholic countries in Europe and the Americas have shown a greater tendency to dictatorship than the UK?

    Simple!

    As for Mrs. Thatcher, I cannot see anything other than the workings of a simple mind in her decisions.

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  • 187. At 10:41pm on 14 Jun 2008, need4reality wrote:

    @184. At 9:42 pm on 14 Jun 2008, jimbrant wrote:

    And I suppose, being elected on the promise of delivering a referendum on this issue, only to promptly deny the right once elected is OK? Seen as the peoples of Europe are so stupid in your eyes?

    Is that your idea of representative democracy?



    I didn't agree with Thatcher on many things either; but at least she did what she said she was going to do.

    And when she became a liability to the Minuscule Minority they brought her down.

    Politicians changing sides after they get the mandate has been the basis of this new-Rome style EU.

    They buy our Politicians.

    Hold our economies to ransom.

    Issue threats of isolation.

    And expect a warm welcome...

    No way.

    The Minuscule Minority may think they have this continent in their pocket but they are wrong.

    When will your real plans be revealed?

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  • 188. At 10:51pm on 14 Jun 2008, purpleDogzzz wrote:

    @ 126: "But as we know, the antis think that it's only proper democracy when people are agreeing with them. "

    What a pompous and ridiculous rant. People who are against this terrible treaty, (including people who are in favour of the EU as well of those opposed) make up a clear majority of the population of the UK. That the UK Government should not only deliberately ignore the wishes of the vast majority of the UK, but break their own rules, rules that they support when it suits them and them alone, but when WE the masses state that they should abide by the rules, the rules become somehow optional. That is obscene.

    Why should we, the public, obey ANY of their laws or rules, when the Government themselves deliberately and willfuly break their OWN rules?

    The rules are completely clear. If ANY SINGLE nation does NOT ratify the treaty, then the treaty dies, end of discussion, game over and good night. That is the line that the yes camp was trying desperately to frighten the public into compliance right up until the polls closed on thursday. If you vote no, IT'S DEAD.

    Well they voted no and now, because it is a bit inconvenient for the labour elitists, They are preparing to completely ignore it and continue regardless of rules or laws.

    So, EU rules are optional to our government? So why are people criminalised for selling fruit and veg in pounds and ounces?

    Labour are a bunch of low-life hypocrites and are not fit to run a bath.

    If this does not prove once and for all, that the UK Government has NO interest in representing the hopes and aspiration of the British people, that they are singly in power to represent and do the bidding of a foriegn elite, I don't know what will wake up labour supporters to the danger.

    Labour are wanting to create a European wide dictatorship.

    We NEEEEEED an election NOW!

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  • 189. At 10:54pm on 14 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    Sure, we're a representative democracy. We elect our representatives and vote them out when we're not happy.

    Our elected representative, however, are not mandated to cede the sovereignty entrusted to them by the British people to an unelected EU. Furthermore, once they cede it, how do we ever get it back without a serious breach - or worse?

    Hence, on unique occasions such as this Constitutional Treaty (let's cut out the pretense that the Lisbon Treaty is anything other than a Constitutional Treaty in its implications) a vote by referendum is required to secure the British people's mandate. Without such a vote - and such a mandate - we are being sold out.

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  • 190. At 11:21pm on 14 Jun 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    Please #168 glowingCiaran,

    If you really think this is how the locals in the Champagne area think I suggest you go and ask them as the Irish vote is not all about local issues and misguided peoples. People in your area, Belgium, all over the EU are getting annoyed by the arrogance of the politicians who only want to keep their snouts in the trough. I asked a number of locals today in a village not so far from you what was their opinion, I think you would not like their views.

    The one thing that always comes across is that mainly because of the 'invasion' history of Europe ie too dangerous, people were not accustomed to question 'why' like us in our off-shore islands, now people have two opinions. First, old time view, Ireland should have shown solidarity, and secondly, maybe they actually had reason since they do not trust the EU and it's treaty either.

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  • 191. At 11:35pm on 14 Jun 2008, tykejim wrote:

    #189 ScepticMax "Our elected representative, however, are not mandated ..."

    But that is just the point. In a representative democracy, we do not mandate our representatives to do anything; we elect them to exercise judgement on our behalf.

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  • 192. At 11:51pm on 14 Jun 2008, chriskingfleet wrote:

    Jukka_Rohila
    at 11.46 14 June wrote...

    "...Compare this to that when you, as a British citizen, go to a foreign country, you are at the mercy of the local laws and you either have some rights as a human or non at all..."

    As far as I am aware, if I go to France to see my daughter, I have to obey the laws that apply in France.

    They are not the same as those that apply in the UK.

    There may be an over-arching "principle" that covers every "citizen" of the EU, but laws within member states of the EU are simply NOT the same.

    So there is no additional protection I can gain, even within the EU states.

    So what is so special about having a "citizenship" of a legal entity?

    Maybe you'd be happy to be a Citizen of Nokia?

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  • 193. At 00:10am on 15 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:

    190. At 11:21 pm on 14 Jun 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    "mainly because of the 'invasion' history of Europe ie too dangerous, people were not accustomed to question 'why' like us in our off-shore islands".

    Ireland is not an island anymore since 2001. At least not from an economic point of view: their currency is the Euro.

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  • 194. At 00:32am on 15 Jun 2008, need4reality wrote:

    @193. "...their currency is the Euro."

    So presumably if Ireland are invaded or occupied, its just the EU protecting their investment. Or what the Minuscule Minority like to call a 'policing action'?

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  • 195. At 00:42am on 15 Jun 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark Mardell:

    This is a sad day for the people of the Republic of Ireland and of the European Union.

    But most people already decided that this item, was going to be voted down...before it went to the polls..

    Look at 2005 polls....

    thanks.

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  • 196. At 00:43am on 15 Jun 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark,

    where is the link for the 1800 GMT bulletin on Radio 4, for your longer version ..


    could you send up the link?

    thanks

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  • 197. At 00:46am on 15 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    jimbrant @189 -

    For the duration of one parliament.

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  • 198. At 01:05am on 15 Jun 2008, valley2 wrote:

    I used to be pro European until today. I was pro European army, pro European integration and would voted Yes in the Treaty if I was in Ireland at the time.

    But all these yes people, who believe in Mugabe style democracy has pushed me into the "I don't know category"

    Why do you hold a Referendum?
    Because in important issues the people should be consulted on these issues directly.

    Let me remind you that we all signed up to this union on the basis that all countries have to agree to everything. It is written down and all countries signed up to this. So are you going to ignore this contract!!!! In the moral world that reneging on a contract puts you in the same category as cheats, liars and Mugabe. I can't even say it puts you in the same category as Bush as he would not even do what you are all proposing. (let me not have to explain refer to your own posts.)

    I must say what a great piece of writing the Irish Constitution is. To this day it protects democracy and the Irish people.

    The no vote and the Forced Irish Referendum should be used by the Yes and Pro European constitution people as the very reason why Europe needs a constitution. To protect democracy and the people of Europe.

    My proposal: Instead of the muddled incomprehensible Constitution/Treaty, lets put the Irish Constitution to the people of Europe. We will replace Ireland and Irish on the Constitution with Europe and European. We would then have a constitution that has been tested and clearly shows that it will protect democracy and the people of Europe.

    In a democracy you must respect the will of the majority whether you agree or not and I also disagree with the will of the majority sometimes like on abortion laws in Ireland and the No vote on Thursday (though undecided now) but my belief in democracy outweighs all else.

    Quick question: Why can the treaty not have clear explanations on what it is trying to achieve written into the treaty. When it talks about military cooperation, cannot it clearly state that each country can remain neutral. Simple and it will allay the fears of the people. I blame the authors of the treaty more than anything for the rejection of the Treaty.

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  • 199. At 02:10am on 15 Jun 2008, DistantTraveller wrote:

    The constitutional treaty is dead!

    Long live the constitutional treaty!

    The unelected commision instructs member states to press on with ratification - despite the latest referendum "no" vote.

    That really tells us all we need to know.

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  • 200. At 02:28am on 15 Jun 2008, DistantTraveller wrote:

    # 191 jimbrant

    You say "we do not mandate our representatives to do anything; we elect them to exercise judgement on our behalf."

    I don't agree. When politicians make pledges in their manifesto to entice us to vote for them, we are entitled to demand they keep their promise.

    We were told by labour in their manifesto that there would be a referendum on the treaty. European leaders (apart from Brown) readily admit that the new treaty was the same as the old one. The idea that the Lisbon treaty was so different that a referendum was no longer needed is frankly insulting.

    We have been cheated!

    Well done to the Irish for making a stand against this undemocratic tyranny.

    The fact that the unelected Commission is hoping to ignore the vote and instructing other member states to press on regardless should really tell us everything we need to know! Mugabe must be smiling...


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  • 201. At 06:48am on 15 Jun 2008, misterkorky wrote:

    My comments are perhaps a reprise of many other correspondents' remarks. Nevertheless, despite being a strong europhile and someone who takes an interest in political affairs, I failed to understand the Lisbon Treaty (I tried reading it) nor can I reconcile to my satisfaction the disparate views.
    One thing is clear: I am not agreeing to something I fail to understand. Matters are worsened by politicians who seemingly ignore the populace and wish to continue the process of ratification. Especially so are those who feel the Irish vote is but a storm ina tea cup and now seek ways to get round it.
    I feel ignored and sidelined. I am not going to be teaspooned euro blah blah on the basis that it is for my own good. Nor do I take it kindly when someone then says I am a bad european for refusing it. The sheer arrogance of politiciains and their patronisation beggars belief. And I doubt I am in a minority for saying so.

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  • 202. At 07:00am on 15 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    Plan A: EU Constitution

    Plan B: Lisbon Treaty

    Plan C: Paris Compact

    Plan D: Prague Agreement



    VOTE EARLY, VOTE OFTEN!

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  • 203. At 07:16am on 15 Jun 2008, Huaimek wrote:

    Betuli 141

    With reference to your saying all the peoples of the EU member states wat to stick together . You speak for yourself .

    British people think of themselves as British , as opposed to European . If Europeans across the English Channel want to stick together , they are welcome .
    The majority of British People do not want to stick together with European People , no offence meant , I have many very dear European friends and my daughter married and living in Germany .
    I too , have lived in Italy , but it doesn't change my view of the Megalithic Soviet European Union .

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  • 204. At 10:14am on 15 Jun 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    To Betuli, #193,

    Re
    *****
    I wrote "mainly because of the 'invasion' history of Europe ie too dangerous, people were not accustomed to question 'why' like us in our off-shore islands".

    Betuli replied "Ireland is not an island anymore since 2001. At least not from an economic point of view: their currency is the Euro".
    *****

    I'm just wondering what you think of the French colonies of Guadeloupe, Martinique in the Caribbean, French Guiana in South America and Réunion in the Indian Ocean. These overseas departments have the same political status as metropolitan departments and are integral parts of France, and the European Union. They are represented in the National Assembly, Senate and Economic and Social Council, elect a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), and also use the euro as their currency (source Wikipedia). Do you consider these as being part of mainland Europe as well and not far-off Islands (economically or otherwise), and should a valuable natural resource ever be discovered close to one of such islands what would the reaction be should a neighbouring country try to lay claim to them, an EU army would probably to curl up its toes and run off to the UN making lots of ineffective noise.

    My original point was that since Northern Europe has been a battleground for many years and people still recall several invasions, many still consider solidarity/security first and 'reason why' secondly, but that's changing as I've spoken to a number who symphathise with the Irish in not understanding what was being proposed in the Lisbon treaty.

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  • 205. At 10:23am on 15 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:

    Huaimek 203 wrote:

    "British people think of themselves as British , as opposed to European . If Europeans across the English Channel want to stick together , they are welcome."

    I totally agree. You should address though your message to the ruling British party that wants to ratify the Lisbon treaty this year, with the full support of the Lib-Dems, and the mild Tory opposition.

    Your daughter living in Germany may have told you Continentals have already made up their minds, since the Euro and Schengen, that UK will remain an island, despite Eurostar train takes you from London to Paris or Brussels in 2 hours.

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  • 206. At 10:37am on 15 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:

    Buzet 203,

    The overseas French colonies should be independent following UN recommendations on the issue. They just don't want to be separated from mother France, a stance I find very understandable.

    So, no problem if they choose to use the Euro, as this currency is destined to be among the major global ones. Many countries outside the EU also have the Euro as their currency.

    Knowing you like micro-states, I should remind Andorra, Monaco, San Marino, Vatican and Liechtenstein buy and sell in Euros.

    Other nascent Balkan countries do the same: Bosnia, Montenegro and Kosovo.

    The Euro is not meant to be locked in Euroland. Here in London Euros are widely accepted and you can withdraw this currency from several Londoner ATM, especially in the City of London.

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  • 207. At 11:15am on 15 Jun 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    Betuli #206,

    That leads onto an interesting question, if non EU countries are using the Euro then the ECB is unable to dictate the rate of Interest that they offer to their population. Whilst the countries/principalities you have mentioned are all geographically within the EU territorial limits or hoping to join the EU at some point since they border the EU and are therefore mindful of the ECB, what will happen if other not so close countries adopt the Euro. Even if say Martinique went independent, it is then under no obligation to follow ECB rates which leaves an interesting scenario for future investors as there would be no currency exchange needed. This may cause a lot of problems for th ECB if it has competition.

    As for London, it's very true the main shopping areas for tourists have long accepted the Euro, albeit not at a very good rate, but out in South London where I originally came from that's rarely the case even now. I've seen more advertising/acceptance of various African and Caribbean currencies than the Euro.

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  • 208. At 12:24pm on 15 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #207

    Quiet a few stores in Manhattan accept euros, as well as Swiss francs these days (albeit not at a very good rate).

    The reason? More and more Continentals fly to NY simply to shop for high ticket items, especially laptops, audio/video equipment,
    iPhones, etc.

    And in other cities (e.g.D.C., LA and SF) you also see coaches unloading groups of Japanese tourists in front of photo shops so that they could get their Canons, Nicons, Sony Alphas, Bronicas and Mamiyas (for themselves and their friends back home) much cheaper than in Tokyo, Kyoto or Yokohama.

    That in the process both groups stay in American hotels, eat in American restaurants, buy tickets to American theaters and sightee some parts of the "decaying fascist state" doesn't exactly hurt us much either.

    P.S. I think that such microstates as Belgium
    also accept euro. And so is at least half a Cyprus. In some parts of Spain, on the other hand, they gladly accept rubles (no questions asked if you have plenty of them).




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  • 209. At 1:18pm on 15 Jun 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    powermeerkat #208,

    Whoops, I'm sure you didn't mean Belgium, the capital of which Brussels is home to the EU Commission. The effect I've seen throughout Europe and what you've seen in the US is that if you have a large local non-EU population or tourism from another non-Eu country, then businesses will adapt and offer to take the foreign currencies, at a nice preferential rate to themselves of course. However that won't apply to high risk currencies like Zimbabwe's.

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  • 210. At 1:29pm on 15 Jun 2008, BlarbKit wrote:

    Thank Heaven for the Irish and their laws! Hurray for saving us!

    As many on this site mentioned: yes - the Dutch had a chance to show what they thought about the EU-treaty. The result is known.
    Like other EU memberstate governments, the present Dutch government did not dare to have a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Their spin? The Lisbon Treaty is the original Treaty with just a few minor changes, so a referendum is totally unnecessary.

    How glad I was to hear the Irish Constitution ensures the Lisbon Treaty was put to the vote in Ireland. Especially after listening to and watching reactions from EU Parliament Members on telly. They not only show a sickening arrogance and total disregard for the opinion of memberstate voters, but also a complete and total disregard of democracy itself.
    Need the EU Parliament worry? Ofcourse not! They have the full backing of the majority of the EU memberstate goverments, who tow the EU-line in total disregard of voters. After all, a MEP-post is very lucrative even if one has failed on the national stage while it is the perfect outlet for ambition, inflated ego, greed and corruption.

    The reactions on telly and elsewhere left me very uncomfortable. Not only about democracy within my country or the EU. How serious will the EU be taken worldwide by dictatorial governments when taking these to task on being non-democratic while EU Parliament Members do not grasp, nor respect democracy themselves? They are already a by-word for greed and corruption.

    By the way: does anyone have any idea how long Ireland will be allowed to have its own laws that enable NO-votes on EU-issues?

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  • 211. At 1:51pm on 15 Jun 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    #210,BlarbKit,

    In answer to your last question, I'm guessing that annulling the Irish constitution is plan B followed by a non voting ratification, let's watch what happens in the meetings this week and see what wonderful plans they announce, sure in their knowledge that they have our full support (only joking). Unfortunately I guess the most controversial will be kept secret as always since we are not capable of understanding such complex matters.

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  • 212. At 2:19pm on 15 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #209

    "The euro has fallen against the dollar and the pound after Ireland rejected the EU's reform treaty in a referendum" (wires)

    I, for one, was sorry to hear that.

    I was hoping that euro would continue to go, just to match the growth of inflaction and price index in EU.

    Is there anyway, we can persuade the Irish to vote 'yes' next time?

    [We've just persuaded the Saudis to start pomping 1 million barrels a day more, so we still have some leverage, it seems]

    Because you know there's going to be next time, don't you? :-)

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  • 213. At 2:49pm on 15 Jun 2008, secondmindstorm wrote:

    With a No of Ireland, there are only 3 options available now:

    - 18 Countries already ratified the treaty. Others will follow, like UK this week. After 26 countries have ratified it, all those countries will ask Ireland to vote again (like they have done in Nice treaty). This is the most likely thing to happen.

    - Ireland vote again and say No again. This will be the end of the EU as we know, and the begining of the two-tier Europe. An Europe divided in two groups. Those who want further integration (like France, Luxemburg, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Finland, Greece, etc...) and another group that prefer to have just economic free trading like (Ireland, Denmark?, Holand?, UK?, Poland, Check Republic). This will be better that the caos that EU is already, because of more than 8 years of paralisis. Those who want Tier #1, go for it. The others have the Tier #2 to join. Everyone will be happy, and the end of the EuroCaos will be.

    - The end of EU. This is the most unlikely scenario in my opinion, if not already impossible. Lets imagine that the EU, through this caos, commits suicide. What would happen to the Irish economy, for example, if its EU membership would cease? Can you imagine the scenario, for an economy that lives on Europe markets, like the Irish does? And the other EU countries? This would be a loser-loser game. On a globalization world, it would be completely stupidity (but we should never say impossible or never, right?). Europe have already a long history of stupid moves. Two world wars, the comunist wall, the socialist fantasy, what else? There is no other continent with a bigger desire of self-destruction than Europe. This is a fact for centuries. Would be the end of it, now? I hope so.


    Personally, I don't really think Ireland will approve the treaty (with a second vote), so I think this will be the begining of the Two-Tier Europe. Already desired by most of the countries (from both sides).

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  • 214. At 2:50pm on 15 Jun 2008, griffioen wrote:

    what democratic deficit ?
    as eu citizen u vote for national parliaments (your representatives, right?) who form governments and are represented in the council.

    as a eu citizen u vote vor european EP's from your country. (your representatives, right?)

    the commission guards the EU treaty and is legislator (always with the eu treaty as basis)
    but can never act without the consent of council and/or parliament. They are impartial.

    The (more accountable) co-decisionprocedure is used in almost all areas where legislation is passed.

    All those "conspiracy theories" about European dictatorship and so on are just not correct and those people (deliberately?) disinform others.

    Regarding the 'European money magnet', sucking all your taxpayers money.
    Please consider that european budget is less than 2% of European GDP and has less personell than some of YOUR national ministries !

    please inform yourself before you start to shout simplistic slogans.

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  • 215. At 3:32pm on 15 Jun 2008, Menedemus wrote:

    Re 116:

    I could not believe this commentator's initial statement!

    "The lack of coherence of the treaty is precisely why such documents can not be decided on by direct democracy of "ordinary people.".

    How arrogant does one have to be to be a Europhiles?

    The electorate are too thick to be able to decide on complex issues are they? Perhaps the 'ordinary people' are also too thick to participate in Jury Trial where the trial subject might be too complex - let us trust Judges to decide guilt or innocence shall we? Perhaps these 'ordinary people' should not be able to vote in State Elections either - because the range of issues decided upon by the electorate might be too complex for them to understand?

    In fact, why do we have any votes at all - the 270 million 'too-thick-to-decide' European population should all be able to trust 'Superior Intellects' to represent their interests because they (the 'Superior Intellects') know exactly what is good for us all and will always do the right thing!

    Yeah, right!

    Thank goodness that not all the people with 'superior intellect' sufficient to understand the machinations of the European Elite to create the European Union from the basis of the European Common Market are Europhiles but ARE sceptical!

    Some 'ordinary people' are actually quite intelligent enough to read, write and are quite capable of deciding for themselves whether the Lisbon Treaty is a good treaty or not!

    To my mind the European Union is fundamentally undemocratic because of haughty attudes of such as the author of Comment 116.

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  • 216. At 3:34pm on 15 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    griffioen @214,

    You thinking is a poor as your spelling.

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  • 217. At 3:49pm on 15 Jun 2008, Libertas_et_Veritas wrote:

    "The unelected commision instructs member states to press on with ratification - despite the latest referendum "no" vote."

    The most depressing thing about the debate in Ireland and, as witness the above quote from another contribution to this blog, on a wider scale - alas sadly often to the greatest extent in the UK - is the breathtaking scale of the ignorance/falsehoods, which seem to proceed on the basis that, if repeated often enough, they become fact.

    Under Article 214(2) of the Treaty the Commission is elected by the Council, itself made up of Ministers of the democratically elected Governments of the Member States. It must then be approved by vote of the European Parliament. Further, the European Parliament can at any time, by vote of censure, effecively remove the Commission under Article 201.

    However, as ever with the EU, let not the facts get in the way of the rants of ignorance/untruths.

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  • 218. At 3:50pm on 15 Jun 2008, mcdv1975 wrote:

    @griffioen (214):

    oh dear it looks like we have a propagandist here from the Brussels Empire's Ministry of Propaganda. Are you?

    Haven't any of our arguments registered at all? Here's a quick recap:

    1. I vote for my national parliament, but not so that they can then abdicate their responsibility and permanently transfer their powers (in bits at a time) to Brussels.

    2. The European Parliament is not a real parliament by any definition. It has no legislative initiative, it cannot impose an agenda.

    3. The Commission/Politburo and the Council combined form a superlegislature and also partially a superexecutive that can override the will of the democratically elected national parliaments at will. There is no significant possible democratic parliamentary control on them. No laws will ever pass without the Commission/Politburo and Council agreeing.

    4. By membership of the European Council, government ministers can bypass their national parliaments. The system was deliberately set up in such a way, that it actually encourages government ministers to do so. Why bother trying to convince a national parliament if its much easier to do this with your ministerial friends from across the EU, and together with the council you can override any parliament whenever you want.

    5. Government ministers are part of the executive at home, and part of the legislative in Brussels, so there is a massive breach of the separation of powers. This is why the charge 'Enabling Act' is valid when it comes to the Lisbon Treaty. The Treaty (partially by making the Council an official EU body) effectively cements into place the structure where the executive branch also wields the legislative powers, and the legislative branch (the directly elected parliaments) have no powers to stop them.

    6. All that is needed for something to be called a dictatorship, is if the rulers are ruling by diktat. And that is what they are doing. Directives cannot be blocked by any parliament. There is no democratic parliamentary control on Commission and Council. This combo controls both executive and legislative powers and can override popular and parliamentary will whenever they want. This is called ruling by diktat, hence: dictatorship. The Roman Empire had such a mechanism as well, they also called it dictatorship. And it is actually the original meaning of the word dictatorship before the likes of Hitler and Stalin redefined it.

    7. The vast majority of bureaucrats who are working to implement directives and regulations, technically work for the member states but in reality do nothing but the bidding of Brussels. This is actually quite a clever trick, as I have explained before. Brussels can claim that its really not that big, but in reality, under the surface, the degree of control they have over legislation translates into a similar degree of control over national bureaucrats. And then the picture looks quite different.
    Agricultural departments for example, are well near exclusively run by Brussels legislation. Fisheries departments the same. Many economic departments are almost wholly controlled by Brussels legislation. There are very few domestic governmental institutions who do not fall under the enormous scope and reach of Brussels legislation.

    As for your charge of having to inform myself, I can assure you I have done so. You clearly have not, otherwise you would not be making these ludicrous blindly pro-EU claims.

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  • 219. At 3:59pm on 15 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    Re my post @216,

    I should add that my spelling doesn't seem to be much better.... Mea culpa.

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  • 220. At 5:40pm on 15 Jun 2008, mcdv1975 wrote:

    @Libertas_et_Veritas (217)

    The Commission is not elected, but appointed by the Council (who do not have a popular mandate to create this new layer of goverment in the first place). We the peoples have no influence.

    I do not approve of moving legislative powers away from directly elected parliaments that we can vote out, to unelected EU kommissars who are appointed by government ministers who were mostly appointed themselves.

    See my other post (218) for explanation why the Council and Commission together form a superlegislature which is 100% undemocratic.

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  • 221. At 5:43pm on 15 Jun 2008, rangerray wrote:

    The EU is basically a good idea being ruined by high minded politicians who don't know when to stop. Why can't the elite (who all seem to do very well out the EU) just give us a simple EU without all these extra institutions. Most new proposals (except some form of modified voting) are unneccesary and mostly unwanted.

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  • 222. At 5:48pm on 15 Jun 2008, Parisianpen wrote:

    Every time I turn on the box, I hear someone saying how democratic the Irish have been and how undemocratic the rest of Europe is. But we live in parliamentary democracies. Why didn't anyone complain about the UK not holding a referendum on, for instance, holding terror suspects for 6 weeks without trial? Because we vote for a parliament to take these decisions. It's normal. We wouldn't hold a referendum on the composition of the UN Security Council either.

    So how can it be democratic that a low turnout in a small country decides the fate of 451 million Europeans?

    If the Lisbon Treaty needs ratification through referendum then let it be a pan-European one: one person, one vote which counts people not Member States.

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  • 223. At 5:52pm on 15 Jun 2008, secondmindstorm wrote:

    Well...

    The countries that hate Brussels, why they joined in first place?

    Brussels wasn't created by itself neither forced countries to join.

    I believe, that if people want to get out of the boat, they should have the right to do so. But what is a ashame, it's to say yes _and_ no to Brussels. Thats only creates a mess, for all countries. No one is satisfied by this. Countries where there are people that are not satisfied, should make referendums to ask if they want to be in EU or not.

    But I believe, with all this mess, that a two-tier Europe will be the only possible solution, it's just a question of time anyway...


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  • 224. At 6:04pm on 15 Jun 2008, ignace2 wrote:

    @SkepticMax
    216"You thinking is a poor as your spelling."
    219"I should add that my spelling doesn't seem to be much better.... Mea culpa."

    Applies to your thinking as well?

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  • 225. At 6:10pm on 15 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    Parisianpen @222 wrote:

    "If the Lisbon Treaty needs ratification through referendum then let it be a pan-European one: one person, one vote which counts people not Member States.".

    No. This assumes that there is an independent nation state called 'Europe' - there isn't. I am a citizen of an (allegedly) sovereign state called the United Kingdom and, whilst I thank the Irish from the bottom of my heart, I'd rather that we British determined our own destiny ourselves.

    To be brutally honest, I don't give a tinkers' cuss for what the people of France, Malta, Luxembourg, Austria, Bulgaria and the other 21 member states want.

    And, no - before you get the wrong idea - I'm not a little Englander. I love the peoples, countries and cultures of Europe. It's the EU I - and many, many like me - have a problem with. We just want to live in an independent Britain - not an over-arching, nascent supranational superstate.

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  • 226. At 6:13pm on 15 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    ignace2 @224, Usually not. Though I am always willing to admit to any mistakes and errors I may have made. Amazingly I've also been known to change my mind when confronted with new and/or changing facts, or a compelling argument.

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  • 227. At 6:16pm on 15 Jun 2008, Libertas_et_Veritas wrote:

    "The Commission is not elected, but appointed by the Council (who do not have a popular mandate to create this new layer of goverment in the first place). We the peoples have no influence."


    Appointed by the Council acting by qualified majority - i.e. elected by qualified majority.

    But clearly there is such a thing as invincible ignorance.

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  • 228. At 6:45pm on 15 Jun 2008, HungryCrow wrote:

    I voted Yes in the Lisbon treaty, I read a large portion of the document and found that by and large the No argument was based on scare tactics. I am a very pro-EU supporter. However, having heard the reactions coming from Europe I am personally disgusted. First of all I was shocked that every other country was not given the same right to vote on such an important document in the first place. The core workings of an integrated Europe should be based around a solid democratic process. Ireland has voted No. This should be respected, in any proper democratic union it would be. This is not whats happening. Whats even worse is that a I am getting a true sense of how the rest of Europe really views the rights of a smaller country like Ireland. If it were France or any of the other larger country’s a “well forget them and move on” attitude would not happen. Surely all these comments are just giving weight to the “scare tactics” used by the No side here in Ireland. Dare I say it’s proving them right? For one I am starting to have a sour feeling towards our European “friends”. I am even now beginning to regret not adding weight to the No vote. I think if we are bullied into voting again, it’ll will be a definite NO from me next time. These are frightening reactions we are seeing, it really gives me an uneasy feeling about handing to much power to a group of people who so quickly disregard their own self imposed set of regulations, and democracy as a whole because they just don’t like it? And we want to hand these people an EU army. Beware, is all I can say!

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  • 229. At 6:49pm on 15 Jun 2008, MJMcCann wrote:

    The rejected Lisbon Treaty is a wake-call to the both the EU Council and EU Commission on how to deal with all the peoples of Europe.

    The rejection of the Treaty is not Ireland's problem. We Irish have merely lit the fuse. It is a problem for the EU institutions to resolve principally in the areas of
    - how to deal with EU citizens,
    - how to treat them with respect,
    - how to send them documents which should be in plain, simple and readable language no matter how difficult the underlying problem or concept is to be stated,
    - how to get EU citizens involved better in EU affairs, and
    - at the end of the day, how to respect the decisions of EU citizens.

    I am so annoyed that some in Europe think that we Irish are ungrateful for the economic and financial success which a free Europe has brought us.

    They miss the point. We were successful because taxation and structural investment policies were respected in Europe.

    The institutions of the EU must continue to respect our decisions, and re-draft an unreadble 287-page document.
    Sincerely,

    MJ McCann

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  • 230. At 6:57pm on 15 Jun 2008, ignace2 wrote:

    "Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker warned at the weekend that some of the most EU-minded states could form their own "Club of the Few" to advance joint EU policy, leaving the laggards behind."

    That's the way forward, a two-tier Europe. (only, he shouldn't have "warned". Instead he should have made this a positive proposition). The political cultures are too different in Europe for Europe to become a socio-political union. I know the Anglo-Saxon cultures very well by having lived there for many years, including 3 years in England, and have a lot of respect for it. But there's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to definition of democracy or political culture, which are influenced by other aspects of culture, so other countries/cultures have the right to think differently....and it makes me smile when I see postings here by citizens of a kingdom where the vast majority of land is still owned by the heirs of the Normands claiming that the UK is the champion of democracy in this world....don't misunderstand me, I loved the English feel for tradition, an inherent part of the English culture.
    No-one should be lobbyed into the socio-economic union, only countries who consciously decide to do so.

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  • 231. At 6:59pm on 15 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:

    At 11:15 am on 15 Jun 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    "As for London, it's very true the main shopping areas for tourists have long accepted the Euro, albeit not at a very good rate, but out in South London where I originally came from that's rarely the case even now. I've seen more advertising/acceptance of various African and Caribbean currencies than the Euro."

    I absolutely agree with you, Buzet. In the financial district of "City" of London, you can get Euros from any ATM and many companies do their accountancy in Euros, while in South London, as you said, with an important Subharan and Antillan immigration, is very rear to find them.

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  • 232. At 7:00pm on 15 Jun 2008, need4reality wrote:

    "...the commission guards the EU treaty... They are impartial."

    How can you say they are 'impartial' without implying they are above everyone else.

    Bobby Mandelson is hardly an example of someone you should want to increase access to extensive powers.

    Have you seen footage of him from the national parliament (you would call them 'provincial'...) days...

    He is evidently a complete lunatic.



    He was appointed a cabinet member again after being thrown out of office in disgrace and had the audacity to gloat about it all... then they APPOINTED him into the EU Commission...

    This is not European democracy, this is the unholy Roman Empire.

    ...cliques of fascists pretending to be good news is unfortunately a regular event in European history...



    A global minority of maybe 200 is taking the northern hemisphere for their playground and the media low level (for that is unfortunately what our national governments are reduced to) are watching it happen and making as much money out of the Minuscule Minority as they can while this, their 'End Game', falls into place.

    Wake up Europe!

    Wake up America!

    All is not yet lost!

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  • 233. At 7:16pm on 15 Jun 2008, DutchNemo wrote:

    I'm shocked about many comment made on this blog! The European Union isn't an 'undemocratic dictatorship'. Do the people who believe this actually know what they are talking about? We can elect the European Parliament and we elect our leaders. Those leaders elect the European Commision. As far as I know this isn't undemocratic. I agree the democratic accountability of the Union is far from perfect but comparing it with a 'Mugabe-like democracy' is ridiculous! I would like to advice the people who believe this to emigrate to Zimbabwe. Come back next year and then we talk again about the 'undemocratic Mugabe-like democracy' the European Union is!

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  • 234. At 7:25pm on 15 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:

    208. At 12:24 pm on 15 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    "More and more Continentals fly to NY simply to shop for high ticket items, especially laptops, audio/video equipment,
    iPhones, etc"

    That's "veritas". Nowadays you can get a full city-break trip from Barcelona to NY, direct flight and 3 stars hotel in Manhatan, for the modest amount of 700 Euros.

    Whit such prices, it's hard to find anyone in Catalonia who hasn't been enjoying the Big Apple.

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  • 235. At 7:27pm on 15 Jun 2008, RatchettPatchettII wrote:

    God Bless the Czechs. Perhaps if a leader has the courage to call a halt to ratification, the EU worthies might finally be forced to admit it is all over. However one feels about the Lisbon Treaty, Europe's, and indeed, our own, political elite are now doing nothing short of dismissing the fundamental tenets which govern us: democracy and the rule of law. What possible moral authority remains in the EU after this?

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  • 236. At 7:28pm on 15 Jun 2008, DutchNemo wrote:

    ignace2,

    A two-tiered European Union will be a failure. We need to move together! The Arab League decided to become a two-tiered league and that idea failed miserable. Nowadays the Arab League is not even close to a loose confederation but a completely failed organisation. Do we want to become an organisation like that to?

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  • 237. At 7:28pm on 15 Jun 2008, need4reality wrote:

    from the EU website:
    http://europa.eu
    /institutions/inst/comm/index_en.htm

    "A new Commission is APPOINTED every five years..."
    (emphasis is mine.)

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  • 238. At 7:53pm on 15 Jun 2008, ignace2 wrote:

    @236 DutchNemo
    the reality is that Europe is too diverse to be a single socio-political union. A two-tier approach would give the opportunity to dramatically simplify the bureaucracy for the countries that opt for the economic union only, and would at the same time allow the countries that want more to move on. Let's face it, the real issue of the EU is that there are two fundamentally different visions on what it should be amongst the member countries. An organization that has a divided vision cannot succeed in the long term. Let's face that reality and work on a way forward that benefits everybody. The current indecision isn't helping anybody. To be clear to the Irish voters, we all should respect your vote, and my comments are in no way influenced by it, and if I read the situation correctly, what you want is the economic union, and that should be respected, just like other countries should be respected because they also want to move on with a socio-political union.

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  • 239. At 7:57pm on 15 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:

    DutchNemo R 236,

    I also prefer one Europe, rather than a two-tiered one.

    But it seems facts count: there's already a first speed Europe, the Euro/Schengen Europe, which as you know includes your country.

    Our Union is a process in constant movement. That means other 2nd tier countries can join in the future the first one. Doors will remain open for every European country.

    The same happens in respect to enlargement. Now we are 27, but in 1 or 2 years we'll welcome Croatia to the club.

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  • 240. At 8:00pm on 15 Jun 2008, TheFatZebra wrote:

    First off, I am a Europhile, for both subjective and objective reasons. Here are my objective reasons in which I would like to counter some of the arguments appearing on the BBC message boards:

    1. Poster mcdv1975 very rightly asks “how is it an improvement to move legislative powers from directly elected parliaments to unelected Brussels politicians who are not subject to meaningful parliamentary control?”

    To this I would reply:
    - The Lisbon treaty would expand the ‘Co-decision procedure’ apply almost across the board to any EU Legislation. This procedure is based on the Council (in which the Member States governments are directly represented) and the European Parliament (in which members elected directly by EU citizens), and I think expanding its coverage is a good thing. I think that a bigger voice to the Parliament can only be applauded, wouldn’t you say?
    - In addition, if the National Parliaments (!!) think that proposed legislative action better be done at national level (the so-called principle of subsidiarity), the Lisbon Treaty would have given them the right to object explicitly, with the possibility of even stopping the proposal being pushed forward. Notably, this is a stronger procedure than that proposed in the draft constitution, so as to alleviate the concerns over the democratic deficit of the No-voters. However, I have not seen these arguments on any of these message boards?

    2. Steve 5312 writes “The "One Europe" idea is a noble one, but it's a victim of its own mismanagement.”

    To this I would reply:
    - I agree with you, both in its internal policies, and its external policies, the Union needs to be reformed, thoroughly. This is why the Union needs to move ahead, and this treaty was the way to do so. Myself, I am most familiar with the Union’s external relations management, and in this field certainly, the EU needs Lisbon.
    - When you ask the people of Europe: ‘do you want the Union to speak with a single voice towards China’, they say YES; when you ask: ‘do you want Europe to stop criminals from escaping justice across another state’s border’, they say YES; when you ask: ‘do you want Europe to stop the import of genetically modified organisms from the USA’; they say YES; when you ask: ‘do you want Europe to be more democratically managed’, they say YES… to the Lisbon Treaty, about a million people have said NO. Why? That is beyond me…
    - The Lisbon Treaty may not be perfect, but it is a LONG way towards achieving that goal.

    3. Stuart C has written: “ The EU should stop trying to ram the same old centralisation formula down people's throats. […] We all want to co-operate - of course. But it's clear few want the EU recipe of blanket conforming political integration.”

    - This is a misrepresentation of what political integration actually means. Firstly, the Lisbon Treaty would actually substantially strengthen the idea that the Union ONLY has the powers attributed to it, and not others. Secondly, integration does not equal centralization. In fact, the trend in the Union has to be decentralize. For example, for years it was the Commission who would rule on competition cases, and in recent years, national institutions have become much more powerful, with the EU only going after the biggest cases such as Microsoft.

    4. Someone has written that “The Treaty will become self-amending, and the eurocrats will be able to change our constitution.”
    - This is blatantly wrong, and I can assure you that all constitutional courts of the European Union have guarded carefully against their constitutions becoming ‘obsolete’, especially since the Maastricht Treaty. A notable example is the German Court, but many have followed suit.

    Overall, I am very, very disappointed at this result, as well as the reasons why this result has come about.

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  • 241. At 8:05pm on 15 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    DutchNemo @236,

    ... and my bridge club has fallen apart. So what?
    There are other options.

    Having said that, the idea of the EU as "a completely failed organisation" has some appeal: We could stop funding it, for one.

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  • 242. At 8:20pm on 15 Jun 2008, metric tonne wrote:

    There are plenty of side arguments going on in this thread. For example the question about how democratic the EU is. Personally, my view as a citizen of the UK is simple. In 1973 4 countries voted about whether they should join the embryonic organisation that was to become the EU. 3 (UK, Ireland, Denmark) joined what was largely considered to be a free trade area. 1 (Norway) stayed out. Interestingly, since that date Norway has been part of the EEA, which agrees to free trade with the EU, without getting involved in any of the silly politics. The other countries have been sucked constantly into greater political union, sometimes rejecting parts of it, the UK and Denmark both rejected the Euro for example. In general though, the free trade area that we wanted to join has become much much more, and this change has been a series of creeping changes, rather than something which the country has consciously decided to do.

    I think it is time for the UK to decide as a nation whether we want to be part of what is clearly a political union, or whether, like Norway, we would prefer to be part of a free trade organisation. The UK is a net contributor to the EU, the key benefit we get from the EU is free trade, just the same as Norway who pay nothing to the EU. It strikes me that Norway made the right choice in 1973, and perhaps if those countries who didn't want political union pulled back into a free trade organisation, then those that want political union could carry on with the great experiment. That seems to me the most obvious choice in all this.

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  • 243. At 8:23pm on 15 Jun 2008, ignace2 wrote:

    @241 ScepticMax

    even most of the Irish will say (I believe) that the EU is a good thing. At least I have heard many Irish No-voters say that they didn't vote against the EU, they voted against additional tranfer of socio-political powers.
    For me personally, the most visible adavantages of the EU are Schengen and the EURO, and by the way none of my friends living in several EU countries complain about the EURO....
    I suggest that you work agressively with your elected PM's to get out of the EU altogether, because I really empathize with your suffering....If that doesn't work, then accept and respect the consequences of the democratic choices.

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  • 244. At 8:48pm on 15 Jun 2008, RatchettPatchettII wrote:

    @233: Re Zimbabwe. What moral authority do we retain when we call into question the legitimacy of a President who puts his country to the vote and then does not accept the results and bullies that electorate into voting again to get the result he wants when the almost universal response of Eurocrats and national politicians - with the noble and notable exception of the Czech leader, God Bless His Soul - has been to try and sideline the express wishes of the Irish electorate and/or bully them into submission at some future date? Not only that, but to have already agreed, as early as February 20th 2008, that they would NOT respect the Irish vote? (The EU Parliament having rejected an amendment on that date which requested that the IRish vote would be respected.)

    The law is simple: the Treaty needs 27/27 to be ratified. The Irish Constitution requires a referendum. The people voted no. 26/27 does not equal 27/27.

    Mr Barroso can no more ignore this than I can go out and steal my neighbour's car. For him to attempt to do so is to invite comparison with dictatorships and banana republics. It is a serious thing for our politicians to play fast and loose with the rule of law.

    @239: I have no real problems with a two-tier Europe. So long as we are in the political Crawler lane, with a view to turning left and getting off at the next slip-road. I would, of course, be saddened to see the erosion of the individuality and national identity of individual European nations, which I believe would happen across the Channel, but that choice is the right of those in the fast lane (although i fear they may not get a real choice). As pointed out by another poster, Norway and Swizerland both seem to manage to be outside Europe and are not yet political and economic disaster zones.

    Interestingly, Norway got another choice sometime in the late Nineties. They opted to stay out again, mostly because they were worried about unbridled access to the Barent's Sea fisheries, if I recall. But the point is that they were given the option.

    I would welcome the kind of debate that honestly outlines the pros and cons: not jingoistic little Englander nonsense or Europhile motherhood statements and good intentions: a genuine debate, which acknowledged some of the pitfalls and sacrifices which would be required, but also outlined the benefits which might accrue. So much of the Europe debate is based on soundbites which appeal to fear: the fear of being left out of 'the club', the fear of unspecified economic consequences, the fear of losing one's identity etc etc.

    @230:
    There's no getting around the fact that it was those 'heirs of the Normans' who drafted Magna Carta nigh on 800 years ago. The Great Charter - anniversary today, by the way - is one of (note, i say ONE OF) the foundation stones of all our freedoms. Frankly, the people who drafted the tortuous EU treaties would do well to read it, because it is a great deal simpler and more accessible than the gobbledegook that comes from Brussels. In fact, it is rousing stuff.

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  • 245. At 8:54pm on 15 Jun 2008, ignace2 wrote:

    @242 dave_h

    I totally agree with you. It would be a simplification and win-win for everybody.
    Just one point about Norway paying "nothing". Countries like Norway and Switserland do pay a contribution to the EU, which is in the neighborhood of 1.2 billion Euro per annum (but would have to verify that amount)

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  • 246. At 8:59pm on 15 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:

    240. At 8:00 pm on 15 Jun 2008, TheFatZebra wrote:

    "Overall, I am very, very disappointed at this result, as well as the reasons why this result has come about."

    TheFatZebra, the integration of Europe keeps going on since its birth 50 years ago, whatever adverse result can happen.

    You can feel this growing integration travelling from Lisbon to Helsinki, without the harsh of showing the passport, nor the nightmare to change currency.

    That's what's happenning right now, let alone the Erasmus programme which has been an enormous success in its aim of exchanging students across Europe.

    So the reality of Europe is not mainly in the Brussels offices. it is in our hands.

    Irish will figure out what best to do after this result. We only can respect their decision and let them to find a way out.

    By the way, welcome Slovakia to Euroland! Slovakia is the second ex communist country in fulfilling the economic criteria to enter the common currency, after Slovenia.

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  • 247. At 9:03pm on 15 Jun 2008, DutchNemo wrote:

    ignace2,

    I'm just very affraid a two-tiered union will eventualy fall apart. In my opinion whe should move together to prevent this scenario to happen.

    ''what you (the Irish) want is the economic union, and that should be respected''

    As far as I know the Irish aren't against a political union. They voted against Lisbon because many didn't understand the document or because they thought they could get a better deal out for Ireland if they voted 'No'. We should accept the outcome of the Irish vote and try to improve the democratic accountibility of the European Union.

    SkepticMax,

    ''There are other options.''

    What other options? Do you mean EFTA? EFTA is just a free-trade agreement while the European Union is an economic and political union. You can't compare these organisations.

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  • 248. At 9:10pm on 15 Jun 2008, jeffjohn wrote:

    The EU Commision needs to understand that there is a widening gap between the unelected decision makers and the populace; the protest is basically one of recognition of a fundamentally distant, arrogant and un-democratic process.

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  • 249. At 9:20pm on 15 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    ignace2@243

    I too am glad for the Euro and Schengen when I travel on the continent. And just as glad that neither apply to the UK.

    DutchNemo @247
    EFTA is just what I mean. After all, in 1975 - the last time the British people were given a direct say on the matter - we voted for a European Economic Community. The phrase 'political union' was kept under wraps, else the result may have been different.

    Changing the EU doesn't mean we have to keep marching to 'ever closer union' even if the road leads off a cliff-edge. If the peoples of the EU member states want a looser alliance then this must surely be the result.

    It is disgraceful - and deceitful - that the EU elites have a ratchet approach to legislation ('ever constricting union'?). Laws can be repealed too.

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  • 250. At 9:31pm on 15 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:

    244. At 8:48 pm on 15 Jun 2008, RatchettPatchettII wrote:

    " I would, of course, be saddened to see the erosion of the individuality and national identity of individual European nations, which I believe would happen across the Channel, but that choice is the right of those in the fast lane (although i fear they may not get a real choice). "

    RatchettPatchettII, I appreciate your sincere concerns towards us, "across the Channel" as you said. Don't worry too much though, we will survive. At the end of the day, the hell is no so bad.

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  • 251. At 10:17pm on 15 Jun 2008, Parisianpen wrote:

    Sadly, I see a gleam of fundamental self-righteousness in all the comments of those who are against the Lisbon Treaty.

    It would seem that only those who say "no" are being democratic whereas those who say "yes" are not.

    Is this a question of you can have any question you like, as long as the answer is 'no'?

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  • 252. At 10:21pm on 15 Jun 2008, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    It is not in any way the fault of the Irish.

    Arrogant supporters of the "EU" and its predecessors have lied and lied and lied and bullied and probably bribed because they were unable to persuade. This goes right back to Ted Heath.

    People do not want a Greater European Reich.

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  • 253. At 10:40pm on 15 Jun 2008, Wopitt wrote:

    Anyone know how the Eurocrats can change the terms of the treaty without requiring the other countries to re-visit the validation process?

    It doesn't make sense for the Irish to have their own terms from the other nations, and I can't see how the Eurocrats can change the treaty for everyone after it has already been passed into national law.

    It seems that procedurally the Irish will have to be given some other concessions that do not fall within the remit of the treaty, but that would be seen as blatant bribery. Alternatively the Eurocrats will be hoping that the threat of bad things happening will scare the chastened Irish to voting Yes. Based on a very rudimentary reading of history, I would suggest that is not a course of action that is very likely to succeed.

    Does anyone have any ideas?

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  • 254. At 10:53pm on 15 Jun 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    To ignace2
    Re
    "For me personally, the most visible adavantages of the EU are Schengen and the EURO, and by the way none of my friends living in several EU countries complain about the EURO...."

    You have got to be joking, I go through the French Schengen border often as I live close by and there are always a line of Police just like before Schengen, so don't fool yourself anything has changed. As for the Euro, well, whilst many like the common currency, we all know why the prices have rocketed and why the fallacy of only 2% inflation for the introduction was fatally flawed.

    "I suggest that you work aggressively with your elected PM's to get out of the EU altogether, because I really empathize with your suffering....If that doesn't work, then accept and respect the consequences of the democratic choices."

    Hum er quoi, democracy where?, you are now inviting people to vote BNP, FN or any fanatic party, maybe if you look more carefully you will learn that it's not only the UK and Irish voters that are upset.

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  • 255. At 10:59pm on 15 Jun 2008, busby2 wrote:

    Pariseanpen wrote in 251 "Sadly, I see a gleam of fundamental self-righteousness in all the comments of those who are against the Lisbon Treaty".

    And there wouldn't have been self righteousness from those in favour of the treaty if the vote had been Yes? Of course there would! All we are getting is sour grapes from the Yes side that they didn't manage to frighten the Irish into voting Yes.

    The Yes side did not and could not put forward any positive reasons for voting Yes and they were prepared to lie when they said it would not mean any loss of Irish influence in running the EU.

    Pariseanpen's comment "It would seem that only those who say "no" are being democratic whereas those who say "yes" are not" is nonsense. The fact is that only one country was given the chance to decide whether they wished to support the treaty. All other 26 govts decided not to be democratic because they each decided NOT to seek the approval of their electorates for the treaty in a referendum. And the reason is simple: they feared defeat.

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  • 256. At 11:12pm on 15 Jun 2008, chf-cooper wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 257. At 11:21pm on 15 Jun 2008, jwwhite021 wrote:

    As a pro-european irish voter, I was bitterly disappointed by the No vote last Thursday. However, people may be celebrating a No victory but the reality is that a simple protocol to the present treaty clarifying the role of the treaty on taxation, neutrality and abortion will satisfy the majority of centre voters. (even when these issues were not affected by the treaty in the first place!)

    We must vote again, having clarified the concerns of Irish voters. Or we move forward with a bilateral treaty sidelining Ireland and implementing Lisbon. The train for European Integration is unstoppable and in reality a country of 4m cannot and will not stop progress for the remaining 490m.

    So let the No side enjoy their limelight, the Yes side will enjoy success soon, as they have done for the past 35 years.

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  • 258. At 11:22pm on 15 Jun 2008, mcdv1975 wrote:

    (227): "But clearly there is such a thing as invincible ignorance"

    Speaking of ignoring, why did you ignore my argument that national politicians have no mandate to hand their powers over to Brussels? I'd call that arrogance.

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  • 259. At 11:36pm on 15 Jun 2008, mcdv1975 wrote:

    If someone presents me with a document I don't understand and asks me to sign it, then I will always say 'NO'. And that is what one should always do.

    The pro-EU crowd argue, that anything that comes from Brussels, is by definition good and must always, under all circumstances be approved (even if, say, all democratically elected parliaments are 100% against it). And if you don't agree, they'll resort to namecalling and insults. "You're not a good European", "you're holding progress back" etc...

    Look people, I'd say 99,99% of people are in favor of economic cooperation, but might it just not be so, that there is no such support for the unlimited integration the pro-EU crowd seems to argue for all the time? Every time there is some problem they always advocate that 'more Europe' can solve it. Political integration for the sake of it.

    I am personally not adverse to some federal solution, as long as its based on democratic principles 100% and based on popular sovereignty (countries opt-in after a referendum). But what we have now is nothing of the kind. And I believe that what we have now is nothing but a dictatorship of the political elite (I believe I explained the definition of dictatorship in an earlier post).

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  • 260. At 11:59pm on 15 Jun 2008, picous wrote:

    What this resuly shows is how ridiculous it is to have a complex subject like this decided by referendi. Only 45% of the Irish electorate bothered to vote and only just half of these voted No. Thus the whole issue was decided by roughly 24% of the population. Of these a large portion would have voted no simply because they are fundementally against the European Union and no matter what the treaty contained would have made no difference whatsoever. Another large percentage would have voted no because it was a way of giving the government a good kicking. Of the rest a large proportion would have been swayed by the No campain led by a ragbag of political fringe parties and pressure groups all using the referendum for a host of different reasons and with no qualms whatsover about stretching the truth or simply lying. These are some of the frankly, ridiculous things which were said during the campain: That the EU would be able to declare war on behalf of Ireland. That abortion on demand would be forced on the Irish state, that each family would be restricted to two children and these would have to be microchiped and so on and so forth. A huge joke if the consequences were not so serious. It is all very easy to say that the EU now has to react to the fears of its wider electorate but how can it ever propose a treaty which would not be met with the same mass of objections. It is true that the EU is not perfect and needs urgency to face up to the obvious issues of corruption, accountability etc., but to ask it to confront an almost incoherent wall of continued and fragmented opposition is, I think, almost impossible. The European elite and the pro-Europeans in general need to get of their backsides and confront the antis at every opportunity and, just as the volume of anti-european propoganda has, over 30 years, established itself as the default position in the European debate, seek to turn the perception of the public towards the opinion that Europe, in general, is a good thing and not something to be fought at every opportunity. Perhaps then the whole European debate can be conducted with some intelligence and calmness and not subjected to the hysterical farce that is a referendum.

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  • 261. At 00:14am on 16 Jun 2008, need4reality wrote:

    @252. At 10:21 pm on 15 Jun 2008, SuffolkBoy2 wrote:
    “Arrogant supporters of the "EU" and its predecessors have lied and lied and lied and bullied and probably bribed because they were unable to persuade. This goes right back to Ted Heath.

    People do not want a Greater European Reich. “


    It goes back much further than Heath...

    ...watch this.
    http://www.stopthenorthamericanunion.com/videos/NaziTiesToEuropeanUnion.html#Title

    its almost an hour long and very insightful indeed from a man who was there at the third reich's rise and fall... and met many influential people at the time...

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  • 262. At 00:18am on 16 Jun 2008, need4reality wrote:

    ...or find a copy of his book:

    'Germany's Four Reichs'
    - Harry Beckhough

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  • 263. At 00:49am on 16 Jun 2008, ignace2 wrote:

    @254 Buzet23

    Re: Schengen. I have never been stopped crossing borders by car between Netherlands, Belgium, germany, France, Italy, and at aiports I freely walk out of the door within the Schengen bloc, so need to understand your experiences.
    On the EURO, yes, I understand that one can have divided opinions, but I know it had a stabilizing effect in a number of countries that joined.
    I never suggested to vote for extreme parties and I wouldn't, I'd just would like people to act instead of just complaining.....and my personal opinion is that we will never get the EU issue resolved if we're not clear on it's vison, and currently there are two visions: 1. the economic union 2. the socio-political union. Let countries decide which menu they want instead of mixing it all in one pot.
    ....and of course I'd like to see the EU bureaucracy simplified.

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  • 264. At 00:58am on 16 Jun 2008, ignace2 wrote:

    @261 need4reality

    I watched the link that you sent.....and suggest that you change your pseudo into Ilovefiction

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  • 265. At 05:19am on 16 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #234

    I'm glad to hear that.

    More purchasing power to Catalans!

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  • 266. At 08:39am on 16 Jun 2008, virtualrationality wrote:

    @ 260 Picous

    If I applied your rant against referendums a bit more widely, I could easily say the same about elections in general.

    However, I think you should realize that the greatest virtue of democracy is NOT the ability to make the best decisions in the 'technocratic' sense of the word. The greatest virtue of democracy in my opinion is to make decisions that are best accepted by the people that are affected by it. What good is a decision, which, even if it is technically the best one, is not accepted and needs to be enforced at huge cost?

    People have the freedom to make choices. Choices which are good, but also choices which are bad. If we were only allowed to make 'good choices', we would need to ban smoking, drinking beer and liquor, gambling, cars that can go over the legal speed limit etc etc.

    The people of Ireland rejected Lisbon. I think its pretty obvious that if, had the people been given a choice, quite a few more European countries would have chosen that same option.

    Now you can lament all you want about how this was a 'bad choice', but that does not change the fact that it is a fundamental part of democracy. Your technocratic rejection of the No-vote exemplifies where Europe is going off-track. You are willing to sacrifice democracy to the altar of technocracy.

    I am a civil servant. The epitomy of technocracy in many ways. But I never forget that in the end, democracy is more important than getting the 'best' solution.

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  • 267. At 10:36am on 16 Jun 2008, Wopitt wrote:

    Number 260

    Why do you say that "only 45% bothered to vote" I have seen this number in several postings that criticise the Irish result.

    The true figure was 53.4% voter turn out. The margin was 47% no and 53% no, a 6% difference and reflecteed 100,000 voters. The fact that 46.65 didn't bother to vote (technical term - abstained) means either they didn't understand what they were being asked, so therefore felt unable to cast a vote, or they were happy to let others to decide for them.

    This was a definitive result by all practical measures.

    The only absolute measure would be if more than 50% of the electorate voted one way or another. This would require a turnout nearer to 90%. Are you advocating this as the measure that you would apply for any future vote? I am sure that the no camp would be delighted to accept it.

    The rules were clear in advance. You cannot now whinge about the rules because you disagree with the rules. We all know that had the vote been yes, you and others would have been the first to cliam a clear, undisputed mandate for change.

    Please either validate your assertion that 45 % voted, or correct your post regarding the turnout number, or I will have to report it to the moderator as their is a clear factual error in it.

    Democracy is a messy business.

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  • 268. At 10:44am on 16 Jun 2008, Wopitt wrote:

    I should add, in the second vote on the Nice treaty, the turn out was 49% - and the yes was accepted as the will of the people.

    You can't have it both ways.

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  • 269. At 10:54am on 16 Jun 2008, virtualrationality wrote:

    to add to the debate on the validity of a referendum in which 'only' 53% of the people voted.

    In the last election for the European parliament, only 45.6% of the people turned out to vote (including at least 1 country where voting is mandatory). So if the Irish referendum had a turnout that was 'too low' to take seriously, then I suggest the European parliament resigns since they can't be taken seriously with a 45.6% turnout.

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  • 270. At 11:13am on 16 Jun 2008, chrisday10 wrote:

    If ALL member states MUST ratify the Lisbon Treaty and the Irish have clearly said no, other EU leaders now want to follow the logic of Robert Mugabe.

    That is, we have lost, but we will keep steamrollering through until we find a way of battering the Irish into submission.

    What about kicking the Irish out of the EU? That way their referendum would be null and void!

    At least the Irish got a vote. The trouble is all the other member states are terrified to hold a referendum for fear that the electorate will say no.

    Lets face it its not just the Irish voters who do not want this treaty ratified. I would quite happily bet everything I own on a no vote being the result in more than half the member states if referenda were held.

    The general public in many nations are simply fed up with the meddling by Brussels.

    The first time I was old enough to vote was in the referendum on whether the UK should join the Common Market.

    I voted yes. But I voted based on the EU being sold as a great way to increase common trade. I did not vote for the monster it has become.

    Thanks to the Irish, we in the UK may finally get a referendum, when this ineffectual U turn government is shown the door at the next general election. After all we were promised a referendum by them in the last one.

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  • 271. At 11:30am on 16 Jun 2008, FreedomOK wrote:

    The European Project pushes ahead because it knows if it stops, it will die and never get going again.

    It can only achieve its end by constant change and the resulting confusion and distraction.

    The Leaders of the EU are motivated by their personal status and MONEY.

    They are in turn "directed" by the mega-rich family dynasties like the Rockerfellas, for who money is a minor issue (they own half the planet already) and influence virtually every aspect of aour lives indirectely.

    They provide the politicians with all the financial "incentives" necessary to achieve their plans for total control.

    These very same people who want all of us to be Micro-chipped and enslaved and the EU is their way to achieve this.

    The EU leaders are simply pupets and front-men fr this regime.

    They treat the people like insects (such is thier total contempt) and will keep pushing until they get their way.

    The people must understand the motivation of the politciant and Poly-Ticks in general.

    They are looking out for themselves and the failure of the EU means they would loose thier "incentives", pensions etc.

    Ask the simple question, how does B'liar support a 10M property portfolio ?? Where does the money REALLY come from ??

    To win this "war against the Elite" the people must make it extremely uncomfortable for the Politicians otherwise they will "collectively" ignore the people, or find some way to "get around" their own laws that state that "That Lisborn must be ratified BY ALL 27 COUNTRIES"

    If each country had all been allowed a referendum .... how many would have said "YES" .... there has been three "NOs" (then the voting stopped) .... Likely there would have been many more .....

    The Politicians MUST be made to realise that the EU project has gone far enough and it will not be allowed to go further





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  • 272. At 2:11pm on 16 Jun 2008, need4reality wrote:

    @264. ignace2
    ...is it 'The End of History...' and you '...the Last Man' standing.

    Try reading his new book.

    America at the Crossroads: Democracy, Power, and the Neoconservative Legacy (2006).
    - Yoshihiro Francis Fukuyama

    I think he may have realised the fiction in his earlier book of 1992.

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  • 273. At 4:22pm on 16 Jun 2008, Aherlaman wrote:

    Having voted YES on Thursday last and heard the various reactions since, I can now understand one of the reasons why the vote was not carried.

    Some people fear that the EU is undemocratic and voted NO, the worring thing about the reaction since then is that it proves that they are correct.

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  • 274. At 4:32pm on 16 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    257., jwwhite021 @257 says: "The train for European Integration is unstoppable"

    Hmmmm... I hate the idea of trains in a 'Greater Europe'. It reminds me of what the last lot who tried to 'integrate' Europe used them for.

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  • 275. At 00:03am on 17 Jun 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    To Ignace2 #263,

    Re ": Schengen. I have never been stopped crossing borders by car between Netherlands, Belgium, germany, France, Italy, and at aiports I freely walk out of the door within the Schengen bloc, so need to understand your experiences."

    Before Schengen there were many small roads without border controls, then Schengen came and most of the main road border cabins were removed, now because of 'terrorism' the controls are back whether they be immigration or customs. As an example go from Belgium to France along the Autoroute in Wallonie that goes past Tournai into France, it's by no means the only one I can assure you.

    Re "I never suggested to vote for extreme parties and I wouldn't, I'd just would like people to act instead of just complaining.....and my personal opinion is that we will never get the EU issue resolved if we're not clear on it's vison"

    In my commune 11% voted for the FN, and not only do I live in a very traditional PS (Socialist) province that is probably the poorest in Belgium, but a large part of those FN voters were young new voters who see only politicians with their snouts in the trough, and being reasonable educated and aware have seen past the 'vision' of what's being pushed by both national and EU politicians and they've started to 'act'.

    The opinion of many of my sons friends is that if it takes voting fanatic to make the current batch of head in the sand politicians to listen then none of should be surprised if the BNP, FN etc become powerful one day soon.

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  • 276. At 01:47am on 17 Jun 2008, Hokie90 wrote:

    Opps - well the US was a loose union until a war between the States make it clear no one could leave - Not sure Europe is up for that - perhaps 100 more years then vote again

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  • 277. At 07:00am on 19 Jun 2008, Huaimek wrote:

    137 G_Plamantouras

    One wonders from what standpoint you express your opinion .
    Perhaps you are one of the innumerable passengers on the EU gravytrain .

    While you are offering Ireland a referendum on leaving the EU ; Please offer a referendum to the British people . The majority would certaily be happy to leave the EU . I think if Referenda were offered in some other countries , the EU might lose a few more member states as well .

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  • 278. At 08:39am on 19 Jun 2008, Huaimek wrote:

    240 TheFatZebra

    You give examples of European Democracy in an ever closer European Union . Do the people want to speak to China with one voice ? I never heard that asked ! This and other questions sound to me like typical EU questions , which only the EU political and bureaucratic body is permitted to answer . People talk of more Democracy , being given by the closer harmony of the EU . Does the EU know the meaning of the word Democracy ? The EU usage and meaning of words such as Democracy , Federal and Devolution , seem to be the opposite of that in the dictionary .
    Democracy in fact does not exist in the EU . There is no need to quote the European parliament , a faceless body of failed national MPs , like Kinnock and Mandleson and people whose political experience has been confined to local government , if any at all . There seems to be no communication between them and their constituents . Many british people vote derisively , for the green party , which they see as representing nothing ; or as the last EU elections , for the UKIP , anti EU party . I recall Military service " The General is coming to inspect this Army camp ; I want voluntiers to paint the coal white !!!" You , You , You and You !

    For many British people membership of the EU is something we never sought , wanted or within which we want to continue ever closer relationship .
    We are misrepresented by our Traitorous undemocratic government ; who will pay dearly for their ratifying the Lisbon Treaty at the next General election .

    For those of you who believe in the totally integrated state of Europe , I would not want to stand in your way . I would be happy for Britain and any other country who wished , to remain outside in loose association , like Norway and Switzerland

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  • 279. At 08:51am on 19 Jun 2008, Huaimek wrote:

    Mark ,
    You are onto a great thing here with your Euro Bloggs and public comments .

    If you bother to read the comments ,
    Like the muck speader the " Dung " really flies off the fan . I expect certain words might be considered offensive here .

    Of course , No negative views will be permitted to reach brussells .

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  • 280. At 06:17am on 24 Dec 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Mark:

    It is true, that the Ireland's NO vote sparked a EU Crisis...But, people in Ireland, saw that there was problems with the treaty...

    --Dennis Junior--

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