Advertisement
If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on hello@boards.ie for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact hello@boards.ie

Lisbon treaty - I haven't a clue what's it all about?

Options
  • 13-05-2008 12:54am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 8,789 ✭✭✭


    Ok, I'll start by admitting I haven't a clue about the Lisbon Treaty is all about. I tried to read it a few weeks ago, and once I got past the preface and into all the legalese, I gave up, about 5 or so pages in.

    I am very much undecided. So far, I've mananged to ascertain the following.

    1) The treaty is meant to restructure the European assembly in some way so as to make it more efficient.
    2) The "treaty" is a re-hash of the European Constitution, which was rejected in referenda in both France and Holland.
    3) Many people are calling for "No" votes have an agenda, such as the farmers, who - admittedly having no quarrel with the treaty itself - are calling for, or threatening a no vote to make sure Peter Mandelson protects them in WTO talks, Liberitas (who the **** are they?) and Sinn Fein ... a weird mix of former terrorists, Socialism and Nationalism.

    One thing that caught my attention was this post:
    sink wrote: »
    The EU itself will also be damaged, it's voice on the world stage and it's ability to act in it's own interests will shrink. It will effect foreign relations issues like energy talks with Russia, giving Russia more bargaining power because the EU will be fractured and weaker. Or other issues like human rights in China, keeping tabs on nuclear weapons, negotiating with the US on data protection and visas, having a real effect on climate change and pressuring despotic regimes like Burma and Sudan will be made more difficult.
    This alone makes me want to vote Yes. Though a part of me is skeptical.

    My questions, if anyone from the "Yes" or "No" camps can answer, are this:
    1. What potential does the Treaty have to damage Ireland's interests? Jobs? Farming? Taxes? Representation at EU level?
    2. What potential does the Treaty have to further Europe's interests?
    3. Would an EU, emboldened by this treaty in a manner outlined by "sink" make an effective bulwark against more jingoistic, imperial power blocks like Russia, China, U.S? (You need only look at Burma, whos military junta is backed to the hilt by the commies in China and not much better in Russia to see how large power blocks operate to the detriment of all the peoples of the world)
    4. What likely effect will the Treaty - if implemented - have on plans for EU Enlargement? Other parts of Eastern Europe? Turkey?
    I'm looking for solid facts or at least good information. If anyone who responds could quote portions of the Treaty itself to back their claims, that would be much appreciated.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,283 ✭✭✭✭Scofflaw


    Well since it's late, just the questions...from a Yes voter.
    SeanW wrote: »
    My questions, if anyone from the "Yes" or "No" camps can answer, are this:
    [*]What potential does the Treaty have to damage Ireland's interests? Jobs? Farming? Taxes? Representation at EU level?

    Hmm. Jobs/farming - no specific impacts that I can see. Theoretically, you could go for the idea that (AFAIK) trade agreements move to QMV as something that might damage the farmers' interests in trade talks, but it's as likely to go one way as the other. If anything, it's more likely to go in their favour, since the CAP reformers wouldn't be able to block farmer-friendly deals, but I don't think that's necessarily realistic.

    Taxes...indirect taxes (VAT, customs) go through the EU already (EU is funded out of a VAT levy and customs duties). Direct taxation (income, corporate) is not an EU competence at all.

    The full extent of the interesting changes in Lisbon to the Tax provisions are the following:
    The Council shall, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission in accordance with a special legislative procedure and after consulting the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee, adopt provisions for the harmonisation of legislation concerning turnover taxes, excise duties and other forms of indirect taxation to the extent that such harmonisation is necessary to ensure the establishment and the functioning of the internal market within the time limit laid down in Article 14 and to avoid distortion of competition.
    SeanW wrote: »
    [*]What potential does the Treaty have to further Europe's interests?

    Tricky - very wide scope of question. It makes the EU more efficient, in the sense that it can get legislation through (gain of about 6-10%). It makes it more cohesive, in the sense that the President of the Council is around for longer, and there's a single face for diplomacy (when unanimously agreed, although it may also turn out to be the answer to Kissinger's question to some degree). So, overall, while it doesn't really provide all that much in the way of extra tools to further Europe's interests in the world, it does make the structure a little more responsive and flexible.
    SeanW wrote: »
    [*]Would an EU, emboldened by this treaty in a manner outlined by "sink" make an effective bulwark against more jingoistic, imperial power blocks like Russia, China, U.S? (You need only look at Burma, whos military junta is backed to the hilt by the commies in China and not much better in Russia to see how large power blocks operate to the detriment of all the peoples of the world)

    Not, I think, in the same way. It would probably give the EU a bit more cohesiveness abroad, in the sense that it would be better able to bring its 'soft power' to a stronger focus. We would gain someone who could speak with all the weight of the EU behind them rather more than at present, although the unanimity requirement makes that a capability that will only be useful in the less contentious issues.

    The unification of energy policy will probably be significant vis-a-vis Russia, while the euro may be more significant in respect of dealings with the Middle East (and hence the US).

    We're not getting a military counter-weight to the other blocs - we're getting the beginnings of a joint procurement agency(the EDA), plus some idea that the forces of EU countries should complement each other - that EU countries should specialise in ways that allow the overall military forces of Europe to be a balanced thing...which serves the main EU goal of making it less likely yet that European powers will fight each other.
    SeanW wrote: »
    [*]What likely effect will the Treaty - if implemented - have on plans for EU Enlargement? Other parts of Eastern Europe? Turkey?

    Hmm. There aren't any changes I've been able to find that alter the way that new menber states accede to the Union.
    SeanW wrote: »
    I'm looking for solid facts or at least good information. If anyone who responds could quote portions of the Treaty itself to back their claims, that would be much appreciated.

    Too late at night for much digging around...

    cordially,
    Scofflaw


  • Registered Users Posts: 68,317 ✭✭✭✭seamus


    Just one that Scofflaw missed, that's been used as a bit of a hand grenade by the likes of Libertas.
    SeanW wrote: »
    Representation at EU level?
    There will be some pretty major changes to every country's representation at the EU. The No campaigners try to paint it as if only Ireland will be affected.

    The main one being that the European Commission will consist of commissioners which number two-thirds of the number of member states, and will sit for five years at a time.
    This means that every five years, one-third of the EU states (regardless of their GDP, size or population), will not have a commissioner at the table. Or to put it another way, every country has a say at the commission for ten out of every 15 years.
    It's a worry for many people, but I feel that if the Commission is to avoid becoming completely tied up in bull****, it's necessary. To look at it in childish way (which is how libertas are painting it), no countries are going to get screwed over while they don't have a commissioner - they can just screw over everyone else when they get their seat back.

    The other major change is to do with how voting is conducted. I won't break it down, it's laid out better here: http://www.lisbontreaty2008.ie/lisbon_treaty_changes_gov.html

    For me, the new system makes way more sense for voting on such issues.

    My only concern about the whole thing is the EU president. Yes, he/she will be voted in, but from where? From member state governments? From the commission? From the MEPs? And what powers will he/she have?


  • Registered Users Posts: 23,283 ✭✭✭✭Scofflaw


    seamus wrote: »
    Just one that Scofflaw missed, that's been used as a bit of a hand grenade by the likes of Libertas.

    There will be some pretty major changes to every country's representation at the EU. The No campaigners try to paint it as if only Ireland will be affected.

    The main one being that the European Commission will consist of commissioners which number two-thirds of the number of member states, and will sit for five years at a time.
    This means that every five years, one-third of the EU states (regardless of their GDP, size or population), will not have a commissioner at the table. Or to put it another way, every country has a say at the commission for ten out of every 15 years.
    It's a worry for many people, but I feel that if the Commission is to avoid becoming completely tied up in bull****, it's necessary. To look at it in childish way (which is how libertas are painting it), no countries are going to get screwed over while they don't have a commissioner - they can just screw over everyone else when they get their seat back.

    Thanks, seamus. I tend to leave that one out, because the Commission gets reduced under Nice anyway. The only difference Lisbon makes is that the reduction happens in 2014, as opposed to next year. The relevant bit from the Nice Treaty is the Protocol on the Enlargement of the EU:
    2. When the Union consists of 27 Member States, Article 213(1) of the Treaty establishing the European Community and Article 126(1) of the Treaty establishing the European Atomic Energy Community shall be replaced by the following:
    ‘1. The Members of the Commission shall be chosen on the grounds of their general competence and their independence shall be beyond doubt.
    The number of Members of the Commission shall be less than the number of Member States. The Members of the Commission shall be chosen according to a rotation system based on the principle of equality, the implementing arrangements for which shall be adopted by the Council, acting unanimously.
    The number of Members of the Commission shall be set by the Council, acting unanimously.’

    For some reason this gets ignored by those arguing that the "loss" of "our" Commissioner is a major reason for voting against Lisbon.
    seamus wrote: »
    The other major change is to do with how voting is conducted. I won't break it down, it's laid out better here: http://www.lisbontreaty2008.ie/lisbon_treaty_changes_gov.html

    For me, the new system makes way more sense for voting on such issues.

    My only concern about the whole thing is the EU president. Yes, he/she will be voted in, but from where? From member state governments? From the commission? From the MEPs? And what powers will he/she have?

    There's a list of all the President's duties/powers here. The general outline of the post is:
    5. The European Council shall elect its President, by a qualified majority, for a term of two and a half years, renewable once. In the event of an impediment or serious misconduct, the European Council can end the President's term of office in accordance with the same procedure.

    6. The President of the European Council:
    (a) shall chair it and drive forward its work;
    (b) shall ensure the preparation and continuity of the work of the European Council in
    cooperation with the President of the Commission, and on the basis of the work of the
    General Affairs Council;
    (c) shall endeavour to facilitate cohesion and consensus within the European Council;
    (d) shall present a report to the European Parliament after each of the meetings of the
    European Council.

    The President of the European Council shall, at his level and in that capacity, ensure the external
    representation of the Union on issues concerning its common foreign and security policy, without
    prejudice to the powers of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security
    Policy.

    The President of the European Council shall not hold a national office.

    Other than the last point, there doesn't seem to be any restriction on who is actually elected.

    cordially,
    Scofflaw


  • Registered Users Posts: 11,563 ✭✭✭✭For Forks Sake


    wanmo wrote: »
    Anyone else want to jump in

    You're a little bit late.....


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,115 ✭✭✭✭Fr Tod Umptious


    What is it with zombie threads around here these days


  • Advertisement
Advertisement