Spanish Pundit (II)

junio 17, 2008

Why I was not the least optimistic about Irish rejection of Lisbon Treaty?

Because the minute they know they have rejected it, that same minute they are considering when a second vote could be made:

BBC NEWS | Europe | EU vows to pursue Lisbon treaty

Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin has said it is “far too early” to seek a solution to the Irish rejection of a European Union reform treaty.

Speaking in Luxembourg, Mr Martin told reporters: “The people’s decision has to be respected and we have to chart a way through… It is far too early for proffering any solutions or proposals.

“There are no quick fix solutions.”

But it is now up to the Irish Taoiseach – or Prime Minister – Brian Cowen to find a way forward with the other EU leaders at their Brussels summit, says the BBC’s European affairs correspondent Oana Lungescu.

Leaders want to know what went wrong, what changes could be made to accommodate the disparate concerns of Irish voters and how soon a second vote may be possible, if at all, she says.

The most likely scenario, our correspondent suggests, is a declaration assuring the Irish that the treaty will not affect their policies on abortion, taxation and neutrality.

But one minister told the BBC that there may not be any concrete proposals until the next EU summit in October, by which time it would be clear how many other countries have ratified the treaty and on what basis Ireland could vote again, adds our correspondent.

As EU Referendum writes, “the game is far from over”:

Of particular interest is a move by the Tories in the Lords to put up a motion calling for the suspension of the ratification process – the main story in the paper – and one which has already attracted the opposition of the government. Thus does Riddell think that the ratification Bill will still get its third reading tomorrow but, he ventures, “the margin could be narrow”.

(…) The reaction of most EU governments to the decision of Irish voters to reject the Lisbon treaty has, says the paper, been extraordinary. There has been contempt – suggestions that the Irish people are fearful, uncomprehending and irrational; there has been denial.

Wolfgang Schäuble, the wonderful stage German is also cited. It is he that we featured on Sunday – abstracted from Deutsche Well – declaring that “a few million Irish cannot decide on behalf of 495 million Europeans”. At last, the paper has caught up, now railing against the “combination of arrogance and unreality” of European leaders who are busy briefing that nothing has changed and that the treaty sails on.”

(…) The theme that Ireland is somehow going to be cast into outer darkness, with the rest of the member states setting up a “two tier” Europe has somehow caught the imagination, and it is one that The Daily Telegraph also pursues – as do many of the other media outlets.

Ambrose Evans-Pritichard savages this idea on his clog, referring to the “bullying treatment of Ireland”, declaring attempts at exclusion as “not legal”. Any attempt to proceed without Irish compliance, he writes, is a Putsch.


“People are only now beginning to think about what the consequences are,” said Brigid Laffan, politics professor at University College Dublin. “There is a real danger we will now be grouped with the eurosceptic group of member states.”

Ireland has now rejected an EU treaty twice in seven years – the first time in 2001 with the Nice treaty, which paved the way for European Union expansion.

“There is definitely some regret creeping in now and some annoyance that the government didn’t explain it properly,” said a property developer. “It’s fine to say it was good for Ireland, but ministers totally misunderstood the level of detail that people wanted.

(…) Prof Laffan said the first consequence would be that Ireland found its diplomatic hand in Brussels much reduced, in areas such as the upcoming review of the Common Agricultural Policy.

Well, saying “No”, stating where the limits are, is not easy and, what is more, the people to what those statements are directed, normally “don’t understand” or just plainly “don’t want to understand”. It’s much more easy not to consider the errors the treaty has, not understanding the real reasons for the rejection and consider only “how marvellous the treaty is”. The Treaty is not a marvellous one: it continues to stablish a very undemocratic structure, is not clear enough about what EU aims and principles are, is soooo complicated and soooo long citizens are not going to read it (so they are not going to know what its implications are for them) and, above all, it does not have common sense on it, by stating what are the frontiers and the limits European Union has. Result? There are even EU FMs who do not know where the limits are clearly. Something which should have been done from the first time, using the principles to select how wide and how many countries it should comprehend.

It’s curious nonetheless, that they reject the Treaty because of the possible imposition of a common taxation. We can’t forget that the first and more important role of a Parliament is the stablishment of a common taxation system for all citizens, whatever their particular circumstances are, as the principle of equality requires. If all Europeans want to be equal, that is the first step towards it: a common tax law or at least, a common regulation of taxes, leaving each of the European states the possibility of raising or lowering the tax between some margins.

There are two problems though:

a) I don’t think they actually want to state a common taxation system (something which could simplify enormously the tax declarations alongside the EU), they just want to make more obscure regulations, just as as the Treaty is. For what I know, that is. As a Law is more clearly written, its principles and effects are directly seen. If you put up a very complicated system with huge regulations, it’s really difficult for anyone to consider all the effects of a law. In Spain this is even worse, as we have the central Tax Law system and then 17 others, each for each Autonomous Community.

b) We are in a climate of economic recession. Normally those periods are difficult to introduce great changes upon a Law system, much more into a Tax Law system, as the effects are going to be directly felt by the citizens.

I believe Ireland is going to pay for this: Britain has defended Irish position against France and Germany who wanted to leave Ireland out of EU decision-making. Just wait and see.

For a neat summary of what has happened, I’m copying this paragraph from Eursoc’s post on the subject:

First off comes the cry that 3 million registered voters in Ireland shouldn’t be able to derail a treaty designed to bring the blessings of an integrated Europe to 490 million, a theme supported by the BBC but neatly snipped by Guido, who demonstrates that as the other 26 nations are ratifying by parliamentary vote, it’s more like around 9,000 MPs deciding on the future of Europe for 490 million.

Oh, and read Guido’s report of Irish anti-EU politician Declan speech in Westminster. What an ironic man this Guido. 😆

No soy muy optimista acerca de la Unión Europea y de lo que va a suponer para su desarrollo a partir de ahora el rechazo al Tratado de Lisboa por parte de Irlanda. Tanto Alemania como Francia la quieren dejar aislada o, al menos, han amenazado con ello. Al parecer, Irlanda sólo va a conseguir en el mejor escenario, que se le excluya de determinados capítulos como la imposición o el aborto.
El Tratado de Lisboa no es bueno: tiene una redacción farragosa, sin principios claros. Su longitud y la poca claridad hacen que los ciudadanos ni se planteen leerlo y por tanto, la publicidad de la Ley no sirve a su propósito.
Pero no creo que la más fundada causa para rechazarlo sea que imponga un sistema impositivo conjunto. De hecho, esto sería lo deseable: que dejando un margen a los Estados se estableciera un sistema común por el Parlamento Europeo. Sin embargo, veo dos problemas: el primero, la propia forma de legislar en la Unión Europea, en la que el papel del Parlamento es anecdótico, consultivo o bien necesita la aprobación del Consejo o de la Comisión. El segundo es la propia inercia reguladora de la Unión Europea: no creo que la legislación que aprobara fuera clara, si no todo lo contrario.
El clima de recesión generalizado tampoco creo que ayude mucho a un cambio tan importante del sistema impositivo (en este caso del Impuesto de Sociedades).
Así que la razón, como en prácticamente todo lo demás, no es que se rechaza a LA Unión Europea, si no a ESTA Unión Europea. Y es eso a lo que la mayoría de los políticos no prestan atención: por de pronto lo que quieren es simplemente que se repita de nuevo el referéndum.

Como el resto de los países no lo van a someter a referéndum, la situación puede describirse mejor como que “9000 parlamentarios van a decidir la suerte de 490 millones de personas”. Milagros de la democracia representativa… 😦

Veremos qué ocurre.

5 comentarios »

  1. I think the EU while might have some good points, sorry if I fail to know them. I think there is a point where it intrudes to much over national sovereignty. The if the Irish felt this was not good for them they had that right to do what they did. Personally the idea of the EU comes off to much as one of those “One World Governments” things that I tend to distrust. Although I can’t say that it has ever found a way to reach the level of hate I have for the U.N. I more of have a kind of apathy toward it. I think the EU would probably be better as more of a large free trade arrangement then a governing body. It might be just me but I trust the government about as much as I trust a crack head. The difference is a crack head is much easier to deal with.

    If the Irish didn’t think it was in their best interest good for them. I do think though this is going to come back at them in a bad way. They pissed off some people and those people are going to want revenge.

    Comentario por letterstoadyingdream — junio 20, 2008 @ 9:13 pm | Responder

  2. The problem is exactly that: they are not clear about what their target is. In the beginning they all agreed that what it was needed for achieving a political union was to make first an economic union. But now, they don’t consider that, to make a succesful political democratic union, they must first consider all citizens equal. But they are only considering them equal for some things, not all.

    But, it’s not only that they are not understanding what equality is, is that they are directly considering that each people is a property from their own Governments. They are not letting the people (that’s us) decide IF they want THIS European Union.

    It’s really disgusting. 👿

    Comentario por Nora — junio 24, 2008 @ 5:13 pm | Responder

  3. I know what their target is, it’s control. People are not property of their government. Government is the property of the people. Sadly we the people are not doing our job by letting these people control us. I fear for the future. Revolution should never be thought of lightly or in glorious terms it is pain and struggle, but first you need a revolution of the mind and the soul. Not in the stupid hippie/communist way but to break free from the elitist thinking and control that lead to all the horrors or the 20th century and still permeates national discourse today. Fear for a would where people think a thousand people “know” what is better for you then what a billion know is what’s best for them.

    But always remember we have always been at war with Eastasia….

    Comentario por letterstoadyingdream — junio 26, 2008 @ 1:37 am | Responder

  4. I fear for the future too. The worst thing is that I see we are not prepare for what’s coming… we needed really a revolution of the mind but I don’t see it really. As you wrote in another comment, normal people are just thinking of living their lifes but afterwards they protest of the effects that the different policies have on their lives… without doing anything to prevent those who can harm them from actually harming them…

    I just get angry… 😉

    Comentario por Nora — junio 26, 2008 @ 5:32 pm | Responder

  5. That’s what I mean the populace needs to get and keep themselves informed about what is going on. If they don’t they are going to wake up one day and realize they are screwed and it’s going to be to late to do anything about it.

    Comentario por letterstoadyingdream — junio 26, 2008 @ 8:53 pm | Responder

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