Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty

Posted on 2009/10/01

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Tomorrow is the big day.

The second Irish referendum regarding the Lisbon Treaty. Last time, in 2008, 54% of the voters screamed NO and made the officials in Brussels wet themselves in fear. There is no back-up plan for what would happened if the Celtic Tiger decides to ignore Brussels. There is no plan B at all.

I’ve been going through the Irish Times referendum site to try to get a hang on what the Irish people think the election is all about. The first time around the big scaremonger from part of the opposition was that the Lisbon Treaty would be the new European Constitution, meaning, among other things, that the Irish would have to abandon their pro-life legislations. But that aspect seems to be gone by now.

According to the latest polls, 48% of the voters plan to vote Yes while 19% are still undecided and 33 % will vote No.

From a Swedish perspective it sure is an interesting election, especially for the Pirate Party. Passing the Lisbon Treaty would mean two new Swedish seats in the EP, one for the Social Democrats and the other for the Pirate Party embodied by Amelia Andersdotter. However that does not balance the scale at all. Sure, the Parliament would get a bigger say in legislative questions with their vote becoming equal to the European Councils due to the codecision procedure which will be made permanent in all questions except those involving foreign affairs and security issues and certain special legislative areas.

The negative aspects of the treaty are pretty, well, big. First of all the European Council will receive a ”President” who will be elected on a 2 ½ year basis. In affect, making the person a ”President” over the entire European Union. Second, the European Union will become a legal person, making it possible for the EU itself to form agreements with other legal bodies or countries. This means that much of the member states say in international relations will be diminished, even if member states now will get 8 weeks instead of 6 to review the Commissions legislative proposals.

However, one of the biggest concerns is that the three pillars on which the European Union is founded will be restructured. As of now they consist of the European Community, Common Foreign & Security Policy andPolice & Judicial co-operation in Criminal Matters. The Treaty will warp the pillars into a single legal person, making both the second and the third pillar supranational. For us pirates this means that the question of surveillance might be moved to the supranational level, and most of us have already been bothered by the European development in these issues. Sweden can problaby not do anything about a development towards omnious surveillance even if the Pirate Party would be able to curb the national development.

Well, if it passes, at least we might be able to use the new paragraph which finally enables a member state to leave the union. That has not been possible in any of the previous treaties.