Lisbon Treaty

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suzie_k
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suzie_k
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May 16th, 2008 at 03:17pm
I don't know how many of you Europeans are aware of the Lisbon Treaty.
But on the 12 of June Ireland gets to vote in it.
The Treaty depends on the outcome of the Irish Vote.
Due to our Constitution we have to have a refurendum to change anything in said constitution.
Hence we are the only European country have this Treaty put to a public vote.
The Treaty in itself is long and complicated not written for the ordinarey Joe Bloggs to understand.

If voted YES If then the Constitution of Ireland will be changed and Ireland will ratify the Treaty.
This brings into play the fact that our representation in the European parlement will be halved from 2% to 1% while the German representaton will nearly double.
It also infringes on the justice system where by the European court can over rule our Supreme Courts ruling.

There will also be a President of the EU who will not be voted for by the public, but rather chosen but his or her colluges.
Now due to the length of the Treaty I can't post it.
But I will link it. Here and warn you there are 287 pages.
So you can read it if you want.

In Irish press there has been an immense amount of pressure to vote "Yes" to the Treaty.
Even new Prime Minister Brian Cowen want's a yes vote. He has been telling us how wonderful this Treaty will be and how much better the Irish state will get.
HE however has not actually read the treaty.
.
I for one shall be voting "No" as will the other members of my family who have the vote.

I have copied and pasted the following because having read this it has helped me reach my conclusion of a "No" vote
I will be voting no on the grounds that

Quote
1) Loss of national sovereignty
Since the Lisbon Treaty is a constitution that lays down the foundation of a new federal state of the European Union, ratifying the treaty implies the loss of national sovereignty of each EU-state, in legal, political and economical terms. All the other negative consequences, such as loss of neutrality, higher prices and higher taxes, loss of public services and privatisation of healthcare, along with an endless list of unforeseeable effects, are the secondary outcomes of the loss of sovereignty under Lisbon. This is one of the main reasons the pro-Lisbon advocates deny the fact that the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty entails the loss of national sovereignty of the member states.

2) A constitution to cheat 500 million
The text of the Lisbon Treaty is the same as that of the former EU Constitution, under different name and with different presentation. The European Commission and the national governments of the EU countries deny this fact in order to avoid putting this Treaty on referendums. This act amounts to a grand-scale deceit to misinform nearly 500 million citizens and to make them unknowingly accept a new constitution of a new federal state. By such act the political class of Europe forcefully imposes new citizens’ rights and obligations onto nearly 500 million citizens, and deprive them of their current voting competencies.

3) The undemocratic process of Lisbon
Propaganda and deceit are by definition methods of undemocratic forces rather than of democracies. “Dictatorship is one of the two chief forms of government in use today. Modern dictators usually use force or fraud to gain power and then keep it through intimidation, terror, suppression of civil liberties, and control of the mass media.” (Encyclopædia Britannica).
The implementation of the Lisbon Treaty by means of deceit is the end of the nation states of Europe, end of political freedom and the end of democracy in Europe.
Because the Lisbon Treaty is a constitution the referendum on this treaty in all of the EU-states would be the absolute requirement of the democratic foundation of a new federal state. A new constitution is the fundamental set of laws defining the rights and obligations of the citizens and defining the type of the system (democratic or other) they will be governed by; therefore the citizens’ direct approval of the new system would be the a priori requirement to satisfy the principles of democracy in the process of constitutionalisation. However, in the case of Lisbon Treaty, the citizens of 26 EU countries out 27 countries are not granted the democratic constitutional right for general elections to express their decision on the new federal constitution.
Rather than following the democratic process of constitutionalisation, the leaders of Europe have utterly contradicted the voters’ voice expressed via the former French and Dutch referendums. With the European Parliament having ratified the Lisbon Treaty long before the results of the Irish referendum on the Treaty, the EU has revealed its utter lack of respect for the voice of people of Ireland as well.
It is a contradiction in terms to guarantee a region of democracy, security and rule of law, and to establish a new political system in the respective region by the very act of abolishing the voters’ ultimate right to have a say on the system to be implemented. While the EU and the national political class resort to totalitarian means to pursue their ambitions, they use derogatory labels like “nationalism”, “xenophobia”, and the false application of the terms “terrorism” and “racism”, etc. to neutralise the voices of democracy, and to suppress the European voters’ rightful and lawful self-defence against the undemocratic process of Lisbon.

4) Undemocratic constitution “ wide gap between promises and realisation[
The Lisbon Treaty itself and its supporters claim that the treaty's provisions will actually implement a democratic system, and the treaty will even “improve democracy”. However, based on the very text of the Lisbon Treaty, the exact opposite is true. So far only the “NO to Lisbon” groups could substantiate their claims by the actual text and of an objective analysis of the implications of the Treaty. As opposed to the statements of the advocates of Lisbon Treaty, this treaty is a profoundly undemocratic constitution designing a profoundly undemocratic political system, in which the essential legislative powers of the national parliaments are transferred to a distant, unaccountable and unelected group of bureaucrats, the European Commission. The Lisbon Treaty is a constitution with provisions protecting the new federal state against its citizens, rather than protecting the citizens against the abuse of powers by the state. The system the treaty designs is without effective checks and balances of powers, which would be required as per the principles of democracy.

5) Radical loss of actual influence of the voters on the political decisions
For all EU-countries, but especially for the smaller countries like Ireland, the loss of national sovereignty under Lisbon implies a further loss of democratic influence on the political decisions. As of today the voters of each EU-country delegate ALL of their representatives by general elections into their national parliament. The electorate is represented with 100% coverage of the decisions made by their respective national parliament. However, under the Lisbon Treaty the voters of each EU-country can delegate by general election only a fragmental representation into the European Parliament and the Council, the members of which will however exercise powers over ALL citizens of Europe. This fragment equals the percentage determined by the country size divided by the entire size of the EU. In the case of Ireland, this percentage will be 12/751 =1.5%. The Irish voters’ ability to influence the overall decisions made by their political lead will therefore be reduced from 100% to 1.5%.

6) Loss of permanent representation in the Commission
After 2014 the EU-states lose their right to a permanent Commissioner. In any 5 year term only two-third of the EU-countries will be represented in the Commission, in the ultimate decision-making body, which will shape the all-time strategies and the very direction of the EU. Because smaller countries like Ireland will not have significant say via other EU-institutions either, for Ireland the loss of permanent commissioner entails the absolute lack of influence on the decisions of the EU.

Voting NO to Lisbon Treaty does not mean rejecting alliance among the countries of Europe; it means a demand for restoring the voters’ rights and other guiding principles of democracy, rule of law and constitutionalism in Europe. It means asking for an accountable political lead, and for a transparent and truly democratic system established on a genuine debate and factual agreement between the leaders and voters of Europe. The optimal alternative of the Lisbon Treaty is to retain the sovereignty of the nation states and to design a truly democratic European system in which a strong yet free alliance among the countries of Europe is developed under the constitutional control of the voters over their own national governments and over the decisions of the EU.


So I for one would like to hear other Europeans voices on this.
Because we are not just voting for our own but for the welfare of Europe.
I know it's long winded but I hope you read it and give me your input.
Maybe point out some positives for me.
Matt Smith
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May 17th, 2008 at 08:33am
I think this is a very important topic, and as a politics student, a European (and a strongly pro-European at that) I feel obliged to state my views. xD

suzie_k:
It also infringes on the justice system where by the European court can over rule our Supreme Courts ruling.

I thought the Factortame ruling of 1990 already established that, where national laws clashed with European laws, EU law would be supreme. So in this respect, the Lisbon treaty is not saying anything new. This has been the situation for a long time.

As far as 'loss of national sovereignty' goes, I disagree with your information. Every EU treaty since the Single European Act has been reducing national sovereignty; look at Nice and Amsterdam, all have expanded the use of qualified majority voting. So if you think that all of a sudden, Lisbon is going to remove all national sovereignty, then this is misguided; it has been going on for years.

I also don't really get what your information means by the 'undemocratic processes of Lisbon'. Is this referring to the so-called democratic deficit within the EU? Because, to my knowledge, the Lisbon treaty will actually expand the powers of the European Parliament and extend the procedure of co-decision making, if anything having a positive influence on democracy within the EU.

Essentially what I am trying to say is that the treaty of Lisnon isn't doing anything that hasn't already been done by the treaties of Nice, Amsterdam, Maastricht and so on. As a pro-European, I see the need for a specific document which states clearly the objectives and procedures of the EU, and to clarify its position. Particularly since the EU has expanded in size over recent years, this has strengthened the case for a single document.

If Britain were to have a referendum on this treaty (and pigs can fly), then it would be voted out. But I would still vote in favour of it. The main issue that I can see is the expanded use of QMV within the Council of Ministers, which I think has its advantages, as it allows the council to pass far more legislation. However, I would still like Britain to retain a veto on certain things.
suzie_k
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suzie_k
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May 17th, 2008 at 09:41am
In Ireland there has never been a case where the European court has over ruled our Supreme Courts ruling due to our constitution.
But now if this is voted in we may aswell get rid of our constitution which we fought so hard to get.

"Decleration 17 concerning primacy" which is attached to the Lisbon Treaty would give the E.U the power to make new laws binding on the Irish citizen and would take the power away from the Irish Dáil and the Irish people who elected the Dál.
As is the same in the other countries of the E.U.

Also being one of the smaller countries of the E.U our voting weight in parliament will be cut by 66%, where as a larger countries, like Germanys would be increased by 110%.
Meaning our voice and the voice os smaller European countries will not be heard.

It gives the EU court the right to decide our values, becaue attached tot he treaty is a Charte of Rights which was never agreed to by the Irish people. Yet it is binding in all states of the EU.

The treaty also removes Irelands right to a permenant EU commissioner.
The parliament is limited to making amendments. Having a commissioner there for gives a nation a vital voice in the EU.
Under the Lisbon Treaty , Ireland would only have a Member of the commission for 2 out of every 3 meetings meaning 33% of the time our voice won't be heard.

As for the Nice Treaty, that was originally voted "No" to in Ireland.
Then we had a re-vote, in which we used electronic voting macines.
After the government got their yes vote, we were told that the macines were faulty and have never been used since.
I don't know what that says about the Nice Treaty but it sounds kinda iffy to me.

As for you saying
Quote
I also don't really get what your information means by the 'undemocratic processes of Lisbon'

It is undemocratic in the sense that it Has alread been voted "No" on but The French and Dutch. Because this was The "EU Costitution" but has now been re-named the "Lisbon Treaty"

I found this of intrest

Quote
Is it a Constitution or a Treaty?

In 2005 the people of France and the Netherlands voted against the EU Constitution. It was a serious blow to the European politicians and bureaucrats who had devised and promoted the new Constitution. It also taught them a valuable lesson: that while voters were prepared to support an economic union, they balked at the very obvious creation of a United States of Europe, complete with a President,an anthem and a flag.

So the politicians and high-ranking civil servants went back to the drawing board and came up with the Treaty of Lisbon. According to themselves it retained all of the important features of the EU Constitution, but it could now be simply passed off as a Treaty. That clever move meant that the French, the Dutch, the English and all the other voters across the EU except the Irish were no longer entitled to vote on it.

So is it a Constitution or a Treaty?

Here's what Bertie Ahern said:

"Thankfully they haven't changed the substance (of the Constitution);90 per cent of it is still there."
An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, Irish Independent, 24 June 2007

And Minister Dermot Ahern agreed.

"The substance of what was agreed in 2004 has been retained. What is gone is the term 'constitution' ".
Dermot Ahern, Irish Foreign Minister, Daily Mail Ireland, 25 June 2007

It does not simply reform what went before - it creates, for the first time, a European Federation.
Matt Smith
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May 18th, 2008 at 02:34pm
The point I'm trying to make is the Factottame ruling of 1990 already established the primacy of EU law over Domestic law (Irish or otherwise).

suzie_k:

Also being one of the smaller countries of the E.U our voting weight in parliament will be cut by 66%, where as a larger countries, like Germanys would be increased by 110%.
Meaning our voice and the voice os smaller European countries will not be heard.


I actually happen to think that proportional representation is fair enough. It wouldn't be fair for a small country like Cyprus with a population of 0.8 million to have equal power of decison making compared to a country like Germany, with a population in excess of 80 million, because the decision made would affect a much larger proportion of the total EU population.

Also, how is it undemocratic for the Lisbon Treaty to be imposed because France and the Netherlands voted against the EU Constitution? Firstly, they haven't had a referendum on Lisbon, and even if they did, if the majority of EU states supported it, it wouldn't be undemocratic to impose the treaty on France and the Netherlands. Not every voter in Britain voted for Labour, doesn't make them democratically illegitimate. Democracy does not mean getting what you want all the time.
suzie_k
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May 19th, 2008 at 10:19am
Bloodraine:


Also, how is it undemocratic for the Lisbon Treaty to be imposed because France and the Netherlands voted against the EU Constitution? Firstly, they haven't had a referendum on Lisbon, and even if they did, if the majority of EU states supported it, it wouldn't be undemocratic to impose the treaty on France and the Netherlands. Not every voter in Britain voted for Labour, doesn't make them democratically illegitimate. Democracy does not mean getting what you want all the time.


I'm not saying it means getting what they want all the time.
What I'm saying is they knew after Fance and the Netherlands voted "No" to the EU constitution that they would have to revise their game plan.
Because the way it was looking was that no one would vote yes.
So they changed the Name of the document and took away your right to vote.
I turly think they should have kept it as the EU constitution and saw it through to see how the vote would have run.
suzie_k
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June 8th, 2008 at 06:03pm
So the refurendum is in 4 days and the "No" voters have pulled ahead.
I find it odd that there has been so little outside influance from the rest of Europe pending the vote.
Anyone have anything to add?
suzie_k
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June 10th, 2008 at 11:21am
Matt Smith
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June 10th, 2008 at 12:58pm
I still think the Lisbon Treaty is nothing more than a tidying up exercise for the EU.
People who say 'it will destroy democrarcy' etc. are misinformed. Every treaty and ruling has done exactly the same as Lisbon will do for years and years.

Besides, Lisbon will expand the role of the European Parliament, which can only be a good thing.

Furthermore, given the dramatic expansion of the EU in recent years with 10 new member states joining in 2004, it is clear to me that there does need to be a single document outlining just exactly what the EU is, what its roles are, and what its powers should be.
suzie_k
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June 10th, 2008 at 01:06pm
Bloodraine:
'it will destroy democrarcy'


From my stand point it has already done that.
That fact that the vote was taken away by changing the name of the document.
The fact that the French and Dutch voted no to the constitution on the firstplace.
Democrasy was lost back in 2005 when they took your right to vote away.
And now with the new Treaty, if it comes into force, will amend itself.
Matt Smith
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June 10th, 2008 at 05:08pm
suzie_k:

Democrasy was lost back in 2005 when they took your right to vote away.

Yeah, but how did they take it away? Ignoring the voters happens all the time. It is not the same as taking away the actual right to vote.

Adnd you might as well just say that democracy within the EU was lost back in the eighties with the single european act. Honestly, I don't see why the Constitution/Lisbon treaty is being blamed so much for this, it has been happening all along.
suzie_k
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suzie_k
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June 10th, 2008 at 05:30pm
Bloodraine:
suzie_k:

Democrasy was lost back in 2005 when they took your right to vote away.

Yeah, but how did they take it away? Ignoring the voters happens all the time. It is not the same as taking away the actual right to vote.

Adnd you might as well just say that democracy within the EU was lost back in the eighties with the single european act. Honestly, I don't see why the Constitution/Lisbon treaty is being blamed so much for this, it has been happening all along.


In a constitution that mends itself there is no right to vote there so the right to vote is taken away.
In Ireland everytime we want to put a new law into our constitution we have a refurendum. That is not happening here.

Don't get me wrong I am pro-Europe it has been fantastic to and for Ireland.
But I don't want to hand away our Constitution that my ancestors faught and died for.
I don't want people from outside of my country making laws for my country.
I am Irish first then European and not the other way round.

And the whole nutrality thing gets me too.
they say Ireland can remain a neutral state yet they want us to spend more money on arms.
Why would we need to do that?
Matt Smith
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June 11th, 2008 at 05:07pm
'I don't want people from outside of my country making laws for my country.'

I know I'm probably being repetitive here but I think I've already said that the factortame ruling of 1990 already established the supremacy of EU law over national law. And also...what if the law is for the benefit of the EU as a whole? Not all laws made by people outside of Ireland need to be bad for Ireland. Besides, Ireland will still retain a veto on some issues such as agriculture and farming (I saw this on the news today so if I'm wrong blame the BBC).

(I like how we're the only people who actually care about the EU btw)
suzie_k
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June 12th, 2008 at 09:39am
Bloodraine:

(I like how we're the only people who actually care about the EU btw)


I was gonna say that.
I don't think people have been following it because it has been decided everywhere else.

The thing in Ireland is that we MUST have a refurendum on ANY new law coming in.
It's in the constitution.
No one can put in place a law unless it is brought to the Irish people first.
That is the point I am trying to make. But I'm up to my eyes in cold and flu meds that I don't really know what I'm typing.

And I was gonna say something else but I forgot......
Oh yes so this Treaty amends itself.
I am or Europe I really am. It has don't so much for the Irish but I have yet to read an article or hear someone talk about the positives.
All I read is that I should vote yes and thats it. No reasons.

Also Charlie McCreevy, our EU commisioner, wehn speaking about the treaty told the media "Sure only and Idiot would read that"

I have major issue with the fact that the people of Ireland are NOT being given a readable copy of the Treaty.
It is all in legal terms which the ordinary joe soap cannot understnd.
I say that if you don't understand a legal document you don't sign it.
So if you don't understand this treaty you vote no.
And I will keep voting no until it is fully explained to me.
I have read extracts and find it so difficult.
And the only people who have tried to explaing it are the No campainers.

The Yes campainers, as in our major political parties, are telling us vote yes and they have not read the document.
suzie_k
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June 13th, 2008 at 10:59am
So it's a "No" vote.
Only 40%-45% turn out which is a disgrace.
So if we look at it in the break down.
3 million people could vote.
About 1.2 million at the least voted on the behalf of 500 million people.
What a disgrace.
However I knoew that a low turnout would mean a No vote.
The "no" voters seemed more passionate about it than the "yes" voters
Matt Smith
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June 14th, 2008 at 12:53pm
Turnout wasn't good but I don't know if it would be any better in Britain. Probably worse, actually. From my point of view it's a shame but at least the Irish people had a chance to vote which is more than any of the other 26 member states and you can't really ignore direct democracy.

What shocked me was the reaction of José Barosso or whoever he is, saying that the result would make things 'difficult' and things would have to be discussed. Well there can't really be any discussion about it, if one member state won't ratify it then it can't go through. I think the rest of the states should still carry on with their ratification process anyway, they should still make a decision on it. But this result should effectively mean that Lisbon is dead.

The idea of a constitution probably scares most voters because they see it as an attempt to create a European super-state. But I think that, given the enlargement of the EU, there needs to be some kind of general 'statement' (constitution is probably a loaded word) that states clearly the objectives and the responsibilities of the EU. I don't think most people would object to that, but mention 'constitution' or 'lisbon' and people get freaked out.

I'll be interested to see what they come up with next, though, because plan B has now become unviable.
suzie_k
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June 14th, 2008 at 01:22pm
I know.
And I agree that something is needed to bring a general agreement over laws and governing in the EU.
But I feel something should have been introduced before the 10 new states were brought in.
If Europe is too big for them to manage make rulings now that will be of help when the next set of countries are introduced.
I feel more forward planning is needed.
I also blame the Irish government for the no vote and small turn out.
Not once were we told of how we would benifit.
When our Ministers were asked how we would benifit we got no answere.

The people of Ireland were too focused on the change of Taoiseach and the tribuneral of the last Taoiseach.
It was a bad time for a vote.
IMO
Matt Smith
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June 15th, 2008 at 10:25am
The government in Britain has also generally failed to make the case for the EU. Governments can't expect their citizens to be pro-european and to vote for more integration if they don't show the people how it will benefit them.
suzie_k
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June 22nd, 2008 at 09:52am
So it looks like we are being made vote again in October.
How democratic.
Mike N Tre Erections
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July 8th, 2008 at 07:28am
I voted no.

As it stands, for such a small country we have a lot of power due to our right to a referendum. A yes vote sees some damage to our referendums.

Honestly, I'm not in favour of following anything that Fianna Fail is game for.
a-dawg.
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July 13th, 2008 at 09:01am
suzie_k:
So it looks like we are being made vote again in October.
How democratic.
To be fair, it has happened before. Personally, I'm pro-Treaty - though I do feel that certain sections should be altered, if only to win over more Irish people.
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