Skip to comments.Can Ireland stop EU enlargement? (LET'S HOPE SO ALERT)
Posted on 10/03/2002 8:19:40 AM PDT by MadIvan
About 20 Irish journalists have been spending a couple of days in Brussels this week at the invitation of the European Commission and Parliament.
With Ireland's crucial vote on the EU's Nice Treaty coming up in a fortnight, they have been treated to the best on offer in the "capital of Europe" - mussels and beer, and liberal helpings of pro-Europe propaganda.
This would not have worked on an Irish journalist of my acquaintance. Rather, she would have been offended by the idea that they think she could be bribed. I suspect the Irish as a whole feel the same - Ivan
"Not a single critic of the Nice Treaty is allowed to meet the journalists visiting Brussels," says Danish eurosceptic MEP, Jens-Peter Bonde.
"This programme spends European taxpayer's money in an undemocratic and biased manner."
It is hardly surprising, however, if the EU's institutions are pulling out all the stops to influence the Irish to vote Yes to Nice on 19 October.
Their approval of the treaty is the last obstacle to be overcome before it can come into force.
And, as is endlessly emphasised in Brussels, without it the whole process of EU enlargement - the accession of probably 10 new countries and 75 million people - will be jeopardised.
When they were first asked, in June last year, 54% of Irish voters rejected the treaty.
So what will happen if they do it again?
The European Commission says it has no "Plan B".
The Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, has told voters they would effectively be telling the waiting 75 million to "go to hell".
On the contrary, Bertie, they'd be telling you and Brussels to go to hell - Ivan
But is that just bluff? Could enlargement actually go ahead without Nice?
Nice is often described as the treaty "on enlargement". This is not strictly true.
The possibility of accession to the EU is enshrined in the basic treaties, and precisely which countries will be admitted in the next round will not be decided until the Copenhagen summit in December.
The point of Nice was simply to make the decision-making process less cumbersome when the EU becomes a much larger collection of states. And in that it can scarcely be said to have been a great success.
On the one hand, qualified majority voting (QMV) was extended to some additional policy areas, "streamlining" decision-making by making it easier to overrule individual countries.
But the rules governing what constitutes a "qualified majority" were made so complicated that a maths degree will be required to work out whether a policy has been adopted or not.
The mixture of "weighted" votes and "blocking minorities" could make progress almost impossible.
A way out?
The President of the Commission, Romano Prodi, has never concealed his disappointment with the detail of the Nice Treaty, and he also once admitted to the Irish Times that "legally" enlargement could go ahead even if the Irish reject it again.
What he meant was that the Amsterdam Treaty, signed in 1997, envisages the possibility of five new countries joining without any change in the rules.
It is the prospect of six or more that causes problems (though only because it would be a technical breach of the Amsterdam Treaty).
It still might be possible for the nitty-gritty of how many votes and members of the European Parliament each new member would get simply to be included in their accession treaties.
The Union would then muddle on, with the existing rules on QMV, until a new treaty is negotiated.
Not perfect, of course - but then neither, by a long chalk, is Nice.
And after all, the Convention on the Future of Europe, chaired by former French president Valery Giscard d'Estaing, is already well down the road to designing a new Constitution for the EU which will supersede and radically change the Nice Treaty and all its predecessors.
A new Intergovernmental Conference, which will finalise the new arrangements, is already scheduled for 2004.
So what, Irish voters might justifiably ask, is all the fuss about?
Many of them may well note that this is not the be-all and end-all for enlargement (which a large majority of Irish people favour).
But it is another opportunity to stick one's tongue out at the EU.
I hope the rest of you will join me in encouraging the Irish people in saying that they should vote resoundingly No.
That's a very good question, I don't have the odds on that at the moment, I will have to get back to you.
Yes, all this high powered (and expensive) talk about respecting the will of the citizens of Europe by the bureaucrats in Brussels turns into so much eyewash when we are presented with this kind of example. The Will of the EU Must Be Obeyed! All Power to the Commisssion! Sieg Bloody Heil!
Thank God they are making rash assumptions about the intelligence of the Irish electorate, who I am sure, are not fooled by the bribery, the platitudes and the blackmail.
From an article in The Daily Telegraph:
The Irish are facing moral blackmail. If they vote No, they are told they will deprive 70 million people of the benefits they have themselves reaped from EU membership, even if the money has now virtually dried up.
regards (and kudos for your posts),
Agreed. I suggest the following slogan:
She may have gone on the trip though, to see just how far the Eurocrats would go to win her over! *LOL* :-) Actually, I would have loved to have gone on the trip and on the plane home said : ``Thanks for the hospitality, but your point is?....' *LOL*
The EU is Napoleon's dream (of a Europe run by a centralized government in Paris) made reality. Ugh!
Exactly. I am surprised the Irish haven't their blood up about this. Well some do, already, we know.
At least when they were part of Britain, they had MPs in Parliament. With the Nice treaty, they forfeit their right to have a Commissioner, and give up 3 European Parliament MPs.
They are basically being asked to vote in favour of a treaty that reduces their ability to run their own affairs. I wonder what Michael Collins would have said.
Just know this first, going in, OK??
As a rule I have become quite barbaric in my treatment of Europeans, Canadians, Aussies or anyone else who felt compelled to give me their unsolicited opin concerning our internal politics here in America.
It'd be hypocritical of me to now turn right around & do the very things I've bashed these fellow worldly conservatives by essentially doing the same thing I blown a gasket with them, over.
Bottom line is, then?
This problem is one I'll be following much closer, now; while, watching how the Irish people grapple with the predicament.
As I watch, I'm going to be trying extra hard keeping my personal opins to myself.
This is for the Irish people to fix.
Here're a few thoughts based upon my observations...
There're a whole slew of (appropriate) old country saying's that fit the jam the Irish people are having to deal with, here.
First (& foremost) simply states there's an absolute futility of one closing the barn's door, once the horse is already out!
Why did the Irish permit their nation to participate in this godless bureaucratic EU monster from the very beginning??
An arrangement which would -- to me -- depend for the most part solely on foriegners (~from Ireland's POV & interests...) doing the "right thing" for all concerned; while, completely neglecting to take into account man's propesity toward favoritism & corruption??
Just can't "legislate" human nature, as you know.
Anyway, that'd be at the root core & very essence of this matter, I'm afraid.
Ireland's membership in the EU.
The "will" (vote) of the Irish people can easily be circumvented with an end-around & rendered moot, H1.
IF this group of elitest EU bureaucrats really want to go over the Irish electorate's wishes that'd appear to be almost too easy to pull off, actually.
Which they're going to do, btw, as sure as God made little green apples, you realize.
Vote or no vote.
All that's needed from this bunch is to confine the number of countries to 5 or less; and, be resigned to the added work of having to come back around again next year to pick up country(s) missed, this time.
"...the Amsterdam Treaty, signed in 1997, envisages the possibility of five new countries joining without any change in the rules."
+ the added analysis of your *friend* & mine follows to underscore the crux...
"It is the prospect of six or more that causes problems (though only because it would be a technical breach of the Amsterdam Treaty)."
So you see?
From my POV; &, given the situation as this writing puts forth?
The Irish people have to hold their political leaders who're responsible for this EU involvement, minimally; because, I'm afraid they've (EU) got'cha all by the short hairs, Ms.AM.
IF Europe's Liberal-Socialists are anything like their comrades here in the states?? (~& I believe Europe's Liberal-Socialists are actually a good deal worse than their American counterpart-wannabes...)
Then the citizens of Ireland will be held to the strictest interpretation of that, "treaty." [read: contract]
Naturally, had the tables been turned; &, it were a "treaty" of conservative authorship & design these Liberal-Socialists were trying to overcome??
Welllll these very same Liberal-Socilaists would do precisely what *our's* here have done many times to break any "contract" [read: Law] getting in the way of their Utopian daydream(s).
Redefine, obfuscate, get their sycophant lapdog media to slash & burn opponents as they smeared & cleared their way to what they wanted.
Then if need be & all else appears to have failed??
They'll refer everyone to some nebulous & obscure Scottish Law. ;^)
Utterly bewildered, confused, & really just flat-out fatigued, we've simply given in out of exhaustion.
"The The Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern, has told voters they would effectively be telling the waiting 75 million to 'go to hell'."
How bad could that be; when, a nation's sovereign independence & liberty is at stake??
That'd be the question I'd be asking this Irish PM & in no uncertain terms, too.
IF what he replied didn't satisfy the question, his removal -- obviously -- wouldn't just be demanded, it'd be imperative.
The Irish peoples are a proud, scrappy lot; &, unless they're as badly hypnotized by the Irish Liberal-Socialists as our nation's citizens seem to be when *our* Liberal-Socialists have done a bangup job setting the hook?
Then it is they, the Irish citizens, who must be depended upon to do the right thing!
Which isn't voting, "No" on, "Nice."
It'd be demanding Ireland's PM withdraw from the EU altogether, immediately.
Again, though; unlike some of the others you know?
I'm no statesman or ambassador; so, my response &/or reaction(s) to these kinds of shenanigans are never going to be recognized as a legitimate option.
...I see now your article nails the issue, though; dead-on.
...10 new countries and 75 million people...
An average of 7.5M/country. Heck, we have a city or two with more people...
* The treaty was rejected once in a fair and legitimate election.
As as we in the US are becoming more & more aware (or should I say despair?) what does that have to do with anything? Or Jimmy Carter?
Jeez, even in local issues such as school budgets, they just keep at it, voters rejections aside.
What's that line from the original "Batman" movie. "...needs an enema..."
I will defer to the lovely Happygal's wisdom on this, but in my opinion, the EU offered new opportunities for Ireland. Think about it, Ireland, geographically is on the fringe of Europe, with not the greatest access to European markets. A proposition that would offer to remedy that would be welcome.
Britain was similarly lured by trade prospects, only to find out as time went on the project was much larger than that.