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01-10-2009, 13:02   #16
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I just wanted to end this with a quick explanation of why I am voting yes.

I have read the lisbon treaty, and there are negatives, mostly in the aspect that it doesnt go far enough in some areas

But it is a step in the right diretion in my opinion. Subsidary, despite FutureTaoiseach's rubishing of it in his opening is something good as is the citizens initiative. They may not be the most enforcable of additions in that neither can take control of the direction of the EU nor are required to be followed. But the EU has primarily worked on concesus and it is rare in its history where a member state has been forced down specific routes with them. What has not been rare though is the EU being used as an excuse by the Irish government (and others) for when they pass unpopular decisions. With subsidary all EU decisions will be put to the national parliaments for a peiod. This is putting pressure where it should be put, on the national governments.

As someone who has never supported Fianna Fail nor Fine Gael I have often felt disenfranchised that 3 out o the 4 institutes of the EU are directly influenced or control by the govenment party relying on the European Parliament which until Lisbon was much weaker then the other institutions would often make me feel like I have a different ideology to that of the EU. But with subsidary the actions of the government party in those other institutions will now be addressed directly in our own Dail and not kept away in Brussals I personnally see this as the opposite to the notion that Lisbon centralises power in Brussals, instead it is bringing the issues of Brussals out to the national parliaments of every member states.

On the citizens initiative, Yes it is not possible to force in a law via this route. But with a thresehold set so small, 1 million (a quarter of ireland's pop) then allowing the initiative too much legal personality could result in a serious danger to the national governments of each member state. But as a line of direct communication to the Commission it is a benefit and will hopefully be put to great use by the numerous trade unions with links across the EU. Remember the Commission is required to respond, they may not act on it, but they may respond. Equally it allows areas that the EU has had no influence on to bring attention to themselves. Consider for example a really small sport like Paintball, less then a 100 members in Ireland, but just over a million when all of the EU is taken into account. It sufers legal issues in a number of member states (Ireland included) mostly to do with the marker's being put in the same catagory as firearms. The citizen's initiative combined with Lisbon's support for encoruging pan european sporting events and cultures would allow the governing body of paintball to have the EU help with the sports growth.

Thank you.

Connla Lyons.

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01-10-2009, 14:34   #17
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In this post I hope to break down the major point of concern regarding Lisbon treaty and explain in simple terms why the No vote is imperative for all Irish voters. I will try and keep it light and easy to read, I've purposely omitted large quotes and too many figures, as information dump can make it hard to read

These subjects are
1) Control
2) Recession and recovery
3) European effects

To everyone still unsure about the Lisbon Treaty the most simplistic answer I can give is this "Lisbon is a surrender of control to the European Union"

Lisbon = Less control

There is no circumstance or situation where the Irish government would have more control of an Irish matter by ratifying the treaty which surpasses the control we currently have. We allow decisions to be made on a European basis, far away from the concerns and motivations of common Irish citizens.

This second Lisbon treaty is the EXACT same as the original defeated Lisbon treaty, not a word has been changed. To sway the vote this time we have "Legally Binding Agreements" which I'm sure you've already heard about. I have to ask, If these promises are so great why weren't they placed into the Lisbon treaty itself? I'm also concerned that they are legally binding to what? The Irish constitution? Well the European Constitution, if Lisbon treaty is ratified, will over rule that leaving our promises worthless. So are these agreements binded by the European constitution, maybe but that's subject to change beyond our control.

These agreements remind me of some very similar agreements made by Adolf Hitler in the 1930's. He promised he wouldn't invade Poland and there would be "Peace in our time". I'm sure he said they were legally binding agreements too.
If someone quotes Godwin's Law at me please get out, it's a very similar and apt parallel between the two and I feel it's something we should recognize.

Another point made by the Yes campaign is the we will have an EU Commissioner to protect our Irish interests.

it's like saying "At least that didn't take our microwave" after everything else in your house has been stolen. We've had a EU Commissioner from that start. In some posters the yes campaign states we will GAIN a commissioner which is an outright lie. At the moment we have quite a proportionally big voice in Europe. Why give that away?

Another folly of the Lisbon treaty is surrendering our Veto power. Simply explained if mammary glands are inclined upwards against Irish interests in the EU parliament, we can lay down our veto and stop the movement. If however we lose that, due to Lisbon, other countries with much larger voting power can bully us into a bad position.

2)Recession and Recovery
This is one point that is possibly the most crucial and influential to voters. Also it's the only one where the yes side is correct. Voting yes to Lisbon may help get us out recession. Will it it a major or minor influence is yet unknown but the statement is the same way that selling your son and daughter into slavery will help pay off your mortgage. It is true but not the best option. With every gain there is a loss and in my view the loss well out weigh any gains.

The Lisbon treaty and EU constitution remove workers rights, allowing larger business to make more profits and hopefully that increase trade and re investment stabilizing the economy. Then ask yourself what is the benefit of a stable economy when your rights as a person and worker have been compromised.

As an already mentioned example the Irish fisheries in west of Ireland will suffer almost certain collapse if the treaty is put through. Countries like Spain, Sweden and other large Atlantic fishing countries will be able to move in on the "Irish Box", an area of Atlantic ocean reserved for Irish fishing vessels at the moment. the economic repercussions this will cause to the Irish economy far out weigh any benefit.

3) European effects

The ratification of this treaty will not only effect Ireland but every single person in the EU. The Lisbon Treaty will establish the rejected European constitution in countries like France and Netherlands where it has huge unpopularity around 95%. In essence also wiping out democracy in Europe, as the will of the people through ballots has been rejected.


The President of Czech Republic Václav Klaus has stated he will not sign the Lisbon Treaty if Ireland reject it a second time. We are now voting on behalf of roughly 830.4 million Europeans. In most studies they would reject overwhelmingly.

We have a chance, unlike many other countries, to voice our opinion and say what we want our Europe to be, and importantly not be. The way forward is VOTE NO.
For democracy in Europe Vote NO

Last edited by smegmar; 01-10-2009 at 14:36.
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01-10-2009, 16:18   #18
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Originally Posted by Blitzkrieg
I request only clarification, as your initial response failed to clarify on how the european courts will be * interpreting the Charter including Article 51 as it sees fit. * when the same treaty and article that establish the charter's legal power also specify that it must be interpeted as per the provesions outline in title VII of the charter.

This does not make article 51 and article 53 simply two of many articles in the charter, it makes them the articles that enforce the type of legal status that the treaty grants the charter.

The mistake here is applying malicous intent to the court of justice, that they will intention try to work around what has been stated by both the treaties and the charte itself.
You know well Blitzkrieg that as Article 6 TEU is gives the Charter "the same legal-value as the Treaties", that Title VII of the Charter is therefore subject to the interpretation of the ECJ. They will decide how it is interpreted in practice, and the extent to which Title VII limits their jurisdiction. I am aware that Article 51 states that the rights in the Charter only apply to national governments when they are implement European law. But the Charter itself will be European law under Article 6 TEU:
Originally Posted by Article 6 TEU
The Union recognises the rights, freedoms and principles set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union of 7 December 2000, as adapted at Strasbourg, on 12 December 2007, which shall have the same legal value as the Treaties.
Under Paragraph 6 of the referendum-wording (28th Amendment to the Constitution Bill 2009), and indeed under the existing Article 29.4.10 of the Irish Constitution, EU law supersedes Irish law and the Irish Constitution:
Originally Posted by Paragraph 6, 28th Amendment to the Constitition Bill 2009
No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State, before, on or after the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, that are necessitated by the obligations of membership of the European Union referred to in subsection 5° of this section or of the European Atomic Energy 10
Community, or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures
adopted by—

i the said European Union or the European Atomic Energy
Community, or by institutions thereof,
ii the European Communities or European Union existing 15
immediately before the entry into force of the Treaty of
Lisbon, or by institutions thereof, or
iii bodies competent under the treaties referred to in this
section, from having the force of law in the State.
Article 51, on the applicability of the Charter to EU institutions and member states, says:
Originally Posted by Article 51, Charter of Fundamental Rights
1. The provisions of this Charter are addressed to the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union with due regard for the principle of subsidiarity and to the Member States only when they are implementing Union law. They shall therefore respect the rights, observe the principles and promote the application thereof in accordance with their respective powers and respecting the limits of the powers of the Union as conferred on it in the Treaties.
2. The Charter does not extend the field of application of Union law beyond the powers of the Union or establish any new power or task for the Union, or modify powers and tasks as defined in the Treaties.
The following is what Article 52 of the Charter says:
Originally Posted by Article 52 Charter
1. Any limitation on the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognised by this Charter must be provided for by law and respect the essence of those rights and freedoms. Subject to the principle of proportionality, limitations may be made only if they are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognised by the Union or the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others.
2. Rights recognised by this Charter for which provision is made in the Treaties shall be exercised under the conditions and within the limits defined by those Treaties.
3. In so far as this Charter contains rights which correspond to rights guaranteed by the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, the meaning and scope of those rights shall be the same as those laid down by the said Convention. This provision shall not prevent Union law providing more extensive protection.
4. In so far as this Charter recognises fundamental rights as they result from the constitutional traditions common to the Member States, those rights shall be interpreted in harmony with those
14.12.2007 EN Official Journal of the European Union C 303/13
5. The provisions of this Charter which contain principles may be implemented by legislative and executive acts taken by institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union, and by acts of Member States when they are implementing Union law, in the exercise of their respective powers. They shall be judicially cognisable only in the interpretation of such acts and in the ruling on their legality.
6. Full account shall be taken of national laws and practices as specified in this Charter.
7. The explanations drawn up as a way of providing guidance in the interpretation of this Charter shall be given due regard by the courts of the Union and of the Member States.
Much of the wording of Article 52 is couched in general terms, and judges love general terms, because it increases their power. In a context where the meaning of a legal-text is unclear, the judges step in to decide what it means. In particular, I am talking about this kind of language:
limitations may be made only if they are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognised by the Union or the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others.
Who will decide whether such limitations "are necessary are necessary and genuinely meet objectives of general interest recognised by the Union or the need to protect the rights and freedoms of others"? The ECJ does, because under Article 6 TEU the Charter has "the same legal value as the Treaties" and the ECJ has the final authority to interpret the Treaties. Thus, it will be for the ECJ to decide what this terminology means. I am not prepared to trust the ECJ with the tools the Charter gives them, in part because of their record of unconventional interpretation of EU law over the years.

Originally Posted by Article 53 Charter
Nothing in this Charter shall be interpreted as restricting or adversely affecting human rights and fundamental freedoms as recognised, in their respective fields of application, by Union law and international law and by international agreements to which the Union or all the Member States are party, including the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and by the Member States' constitutions.
Let me give an example of why such terminology fails to reassure me. The ECJ has already given us a window into how the Charter will be interpreted by reference to Article 28 in the Viking judgement where it stated that the "right to collective bargaining" might be restricted, and that Article 28 actually acknowledged that fact:
Originally Posted by Article 28 Charter
Workers and employers, or their respective organisations, have, in accordance with Union law and national laws and practices, the right to negotiate and conclude collective agreements at the appropriate levels and, in cases of conflicts of interest, to take collective action to defend their interests, including strike action.
The shipping line Viking runs ferry services between Finland and Estonia under the Finnish flag. The company’s management decided to re-flag their ferries - using the Estonian flag, and to employ Estonian labour in order to take advantage of the fact that wages are lower in Estonia. In response, the Finnish Seamen’s Union (FSU) warned the company Viking that they might take collective action to stop the re-flagging process. To avoid the danger of being undercut, it also asked the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) under its “Flag of conveniences campaign” to ask their members not to start negotiations with Viking unless they were based in Finland. According to this campaign, the ITF affiliates agreed that only trade unions established in the state of beneficial ownership should have the right to conclude collective agreements covering the vessel concerned. This is a crucial point to understand: The Charter of Fundamental Rights will not improve the working-conditions of Irish or migrant workers. The ECJ has already made its views known on this matter through this ruling. Article 43 of the existing TEC
Originally Posted by Viking judgement
2. The right to take collective action, including the right to strike, is recognised both by various international instruments which the Member States have signed or cooperated in, such as the European Social Charter, to which, moreover, express reference is made in Article 136 EC, and Convention No 87 concerning Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, adopted in 1948 by the International Labour Organisation, and by instruments developed by those Member States at Community level or in the context of the European Union, such as the Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers adopted in 1989, which is also referred to in Article 136 EC, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
Although that right, including the right to strike, must therefore be recognised as a fundamental right which forms an integral part of the general principles of Community law the observance of which the Court ensures, the exercise of that right may none the less be subject to certain restrictions. As is reaffirmed by Article 28 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, it is to be protected in accordance with Community law and national law and practices.
In that regard, even if the protection of fundamental rights is a legitimate interest which, in principle, justifies a restriction of the obligations imposed by Community law, even under a fundamental freedom guaranteed by the Treaty, the exercise such rights
does not fall outside the scope of the provisions of the Treaty and must be reconciled with the requirements relating to rights protected under the Treaty and in accordance with the principle of proportionality.
It follows that the fundamental nature of the right to take collective action is not such as to render Article 43 EC inapplicable to such an action, initiated against an undertaking in order to induce that undertaking to enter into a collective agreement, the terms of which are liable to deter it from exercising freedom of establishment.
(see paras 43-47)
3. Article 43 EC is such as to confer rights on a private undertaking which may be relied on against a trade union or an association of trade unions.
The abolition, as between Member States, of obstacles to freedom of movement for persons and freedom to provide services would be compromised if the abolition of State barriers could be neutralised by obstacles resulting from the exercise, by associations or organisations not governed by public law, of their legal autonomy. Moreover, the fact that certain provisions of the Treaty are formally addressed to the Member States does not prevent rights from being conferred at the same time on any individual who has an interest in compliance with the obligations thus laid down. Furthermore, the prohibition on prejudicing a fundamental freedom laid down in a provision of the Treaty that is mandatory in nature applies in particular to all agreements intended to regulate paid labour collectively.
(see paras 57-58, 66, operative part 2)
4. Article 43 EC is to be interpreted to the effect that collective actions which seek to induce a private undertaking whose registered office is in a given Member State to enter into a collective work agreement with a trade union established in that State and to apply the terms set out in that agreement to the employees of a subsidiary of that undertaking established in another Member State, constitute restrictions within the meaning of that article.
Such collective action has the effect of making less attractive, or even pointless, the exercise by an undertaking of its right to freedom of establishment, in asmuch as it prevents that undertaking from enjoying the same treatment in the host Member State as other economic operators established in that State. Similarly, such collective action, seeking to prevent shipowners from registering their vessels in a State other than that of which the beneficial owners of those vessels are nationals, must be considered to be at least liable to restrict an undertaking’s exercise of its right of freedom of establishment.
Those restrictions may, in principle, be justified by an overriding reason of public interest, such as the protection of workers, provided that it is established that the restriction is suitable for ensuring the attainment of the legitimate objective pursued and does not go beyond what is necessary to achieve that objective.
In this context, it is useful to compare Article 43 TEC at present, with its renumbered form i.e. Article 49 TFEU:
Originally Posted by Article 43 TEC (at present)
Within the framework of the provisions set out below, restrictions on the freedom of establishment of nationals of a Member State in the territory of another Member State shall be prohibited. Such prohibition shall also apply to restrictions on the setting-up of agencies, branches or subsidiaries by nationals of any Member State established in the territory of any Member State. Freedom of establishment shall include the right to take up and pursue activities as self-employed persons and to set up and manage undertakings, in particular companies or firms within the meaning of the second paragraph of Article 48, under the conditions laid down for its own nationals by the law of the country where such establishment is effected, subject to the provisions of the Chapter relating to capital.
Originally Posted by Article 49 TFEU
Within the framework of the provisions set out below, restrictions on the freedom of establishment of nationals of a Member State in the territory of another Member State shall be prohibited. Such prohibition shall also apply to restrictions on the setting-up of agencies, branches or subsidiaries by nationals of any Member State established in the territory of any Member State. Freedom of establishment shall include the right to take up and pursue activities as self-employed persons and to set up and manage undertakings, in particular companies or firms within the meaning of the second paragraph of Article 54, under the conditions laid down for its own nationals by the law of the country where such establishment is effected, subject to the provisions of the Chapter relating to capital.
It is my firm contention then, that because of the reference to Article 28 of the Charter by the ECJ, that we have an window into how the ECJ is likely to interpret the 'rights' of workers contained in the Charter i.e. to interpret them as secondary to the right of freedom of Establishment. In the aforementioned respects, and taking account of the Ruffert judgement I mentioned in a previous post, it is clear that where worker's rights and freedom of establishment clash, the latter, and the consequent right of unscrupulous businesses to exploit migrant labour will take precedence. The qualifications contained on the right to collective-bargaining in Article 28 of the Charter leave no room for doubt in that respect, for the objective observer.

The ECJ is in the fortunate position of being both hunter and gamekeeper where determining its jurisdiction is concerned. It can decide what the Charter means, and what the parameters of its jurisdiction set down in Articles 51/2/3 governing its scope mean. Articles 51/2/3 are also part of the Charter, and the Charter is part of EU law "with the same legal-value as the Treaties". In that context I am unpersuaded by your argument that somehow the extent to which the ECJ may intrude on national issues is restricted in a meaningful way in those Articles. The ECJ is the final authority on the Treaties. Article 6 TEU as amended by Lisbon states that the Charter shall have "the same legal-value as the Treaties". Therefore, the ECJ is the final authority on what the Charter - including the paremeters determining its applicability - mean.

Why do I distrust the ECJ with respect to interpretation of the Charter? Because it is a history of encroaching on the sovereignty of member states and retrospectively new competences for the EU not explicitly contained within the Treaties. How can we be sure that they will not behave in kind with respect to interpreting the Charter? Claiming the Charter won't create any 'new power' for the Union will not prevent the ECJ doing what it has a tendency to do - namely retrospectively declaring new competences (such as criminal-penalties in 2005) based on it's interpretations of the Treaties despite the absence of relevance to the specifics it is claiming the EU has a competence in? Claiming a competence is 'already there', based on the ECJ reading between the lines of existing Treaties, will not be protected against by Article 51 of the Charter. Examples of recent rulings where the ECJ has engaged in "competence creep" include the German"]Mangold case[/URL] (see report on criticism here) positive age-discrimination on restrictions on employment contracts,, a case in 2005 where the ECJ ruled that the EU had a competence in the area of criminal-penalties, despite the European Parliament and the Council disagreeing with this, and a case where an Austrian cap on foreign-students was struck down, despite education not being an EU competence:
Originally Posted by
The European Court of Justice needs to be stopped from undermining national jurisdiction, former German President Roman Herzog and Lüder Gerken, the director of the Centre for European Policy, have warned in a comment published by the EUobserver.

The sharp words come in the wake of similar arguments coming from Denmark and Austria accusing the court of stepping beyond its bounds.

Several cases analysed by Mr Herzog prove, in his view, that the European Court of Justice "systematically ignores fundamental principles of the Western interpretation of law", that it "ignores the will of the legislator, or even turns it into its opposite" and "invents legal principles serving as grounds for later judgements". One key judgement, known as the Mangold case, is set to be analysed by the German Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe and will set the tone for future relations between the ECJ and national courts, writes Mr Herzog.

Mr Mangold, a 56-year-old lawyer, was employed in June 2003 on a permanent contract, in compliance with a temporary provision to the German labour law, which lowered the minimum age for temporary contracts from 58 to 52 years, in an attempt to encourage employers to hire more older workers.

Mr Mangold argued that this particular piece of German legislation contravened the principles within the EU's Equal Treatment Framework Directive adopted in 2000, as it was clearly age discriminatory.

The ECJ ruled in November 2005 that the provisions of the German labour market reform were indeed infringing the directive, although it accepted that member states still had until December 2006 to transpose it into national law.

However, according to the ECJ ruling, in the period leading up to the transposition of the directive, member states "must refrain from taking any measures liable to seriously compromise the attainment of the result prescribed by that directive."

Mr Herzog argues however that both labour market policy and social policy are under the jurisdiction - or in Brussels jargon - 'core competences' of the member states: "This case clearly demonstrates to what extent EU regulation and EU jurisdiction nevertheless interfere in the governing of these core competences."

In order to justify its judgement, the ECJ also resorted to a "somewhat adventurous construction", that a ban on age discrimination was included in the "constitutional traditions common to the member states" and "various international treaties", notes the former German president.

However, this was a "fabrication", he believes, as only in two of the then 25 member states - Finland and Portugal - was there any reference to a ban on age discrimination, and no international treaty mentions this at all.

"To put it bluntly, with this construction, which the ECJ more or less pulled out of a hat, they were acting not as part of the judicial power but as the legislature," he says.

The former German president proposes the setting up of an independent EU court to deal with competence questions, since the ECJ is "not appropriate" to watch over the subsidiarity principle and the matters of member states.

"The ECJ was created with the aim of providing a arbitrator to mediate in the interests of the EU and those of the member states," but on the other hand, it is bound by the EU Treaty to act towards achieving a closer Union, and therefore it is "no wonder" it overrides national competences, he argues.

Thus, he says, it is necessary for the German Constitutional Court to reject the ruling in the Mangold case, and to "restrain" the ECJ, otherwise it will be much more difficult to control the ECJ in the future.

Court under fire in Denmark, Austria

Mr Herzog's comments come amid growing frustration amongst Danish leaders that a ruling by the court regarding Irish legislation covering the residency rights of non-EU citizens who are spouses of citizens, is having a knock-on effect on similar Danish legislation.

In July, Ralf Pittelkow, an adviser to former Social Democratic Prime Minister Poul Nyrup Rasmussen, used language similar to that of Mr Herzog to describe the court.

"The judges are crafting a lot of policies because the politicians allow them the margin to do so," he said, writing in the Jyllands-Posten. "Political decisions that ought to be the responsibility of elected representatives are left with the court."

In 2006, former Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schussel also attacked the European Court of Justice after it forced Austrian universities to open its doors to more foreign students, arguing that the court was interfering in education, "a clear national competence," he said at the time.
I also wish to bring up a new danger from the Lisbon Treaty - that of the creation of a European legal-system that will override that of Ireland. The Lisbon Treaty provides for the creation of an office of European Public Prosecutor, by unanimity on the Council. It also provides for the establishment of "specialised courts" which will override those of Ireland. The Government claims we have an optout on Justice and Home Affairs. However, in Paragraph 7 of the referendum-wording, the Government is providing itself and the Oireachtas with the power to abolish that optout without a referendum. That would mean Qualified Majority Voting on Justice and Home Affairs. Specifically, it would mean QMV imposing laws on Ireland in the areas of : Asylum , Border checks, * Immigration, Incentive measures in the field of crime prevention, Eurojust – structure, operation, field of action and tasks, Europol – structure, operation, field of action and tasks .
Originally Posted by Article 86 TEU
1. In order to combat crimes affecting the financial interests of the Union, the Council, by means of regulations adopted in accordance with a special legislative procedure, may establish a European Public Prosecutor's Office from Eurojust. The Council shall act unanimously after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.In the absence of unanimity in the Council, a group of at least nine Member States may request that the draft regulation be referred to the European Council. In that case, the procedure in the Council shall be suspended. After discussion, and in case of a consensus, the European Council shall, within four months of this suspension, refer the draft back to the Council for adoption.
Within the same timeframe, in case of disagreement, and if at least nine Member States wish to establish enhanced cooperation on the basis of the draft regulation concerned, they shall notify the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission accordingly. In such a case, the authorisation to proceed with enhanced cooperation referred to in Article 20(2) of the Treaty on European Union and Article 329(1) of this Treaty shall be deemed to be granted and the provisions on enhanced cooperation shall apply.

2. The European Public Prosecutor's Office shall be responsible for investigating, prosecuting and bringing to judgment, where appropriate in liaison with Europol, the perpetrators of, and accomplices in, offences against the Union's financial interests, as determined by the regulation provided for in paragraph 1. It shall exercise the functions of prosecutor in the competent courts of the Member States in relation to such offences.

3. The regulations referred to in paragraph 1 shall determine the general rules applicable to the European Public Prosecutor's Office, the conditions governing the performance of its functions, the rules of procedure applicable to its activities, as well as those governing the admissibility of evidence, and the rules applicable to the judicial review of procedural measures taken by it in the performance of its functions.

4. The European Council may, at the same time or subsequently, adopt a decision amending paragraph 1 in order to extend the powers of the European Public Prosecutor's Office to include serious crime having a cross-border dimension and amending accordingly paragraph 2 as regards the perpetrators of, and accomplices in, serious crimes affecting more than one Member State. The European Council shall act unanimously after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament and after consulting the Commission.
This will lead to Irish citizens being tried in EU courts for matters that the Irish people may not want to become crimes under Irish law. The abolition of the vetoes under Paragraph 7(iii) of the referendum-wording (28th Amendment to the Constitution Bill 2009) allowing for the Government/Oireachtas to abolish the optout Protocol 21 will pave the way for foreign governments, the Commission and the European Parliament, forcing changes in Irish criminal law, including on sentencing and the criminal-code, that the Irish people and Government may not agree with. In spite of the fact that the Irish people and government may not approve of such a criminal-code, the European Public Prosecutor's office will have the power to prosecute them. This is unacceptable and represents foreign, colonial rule in this country over our justice-system, which until Lisbon had remained relatively free of intrusion from the EU institutions. A country that doesn't even control its own justice policy is more a province than a nation once again.
Originally Posted by Paragraph 7, 28th Amendment to the Constitution Bill 2009
The State may exercise the options or discretions—
i to which Article 20 of the Treaty on European Union relating to enhanced cooperation applies,
ii under Protocol No. 19 on the Schengen acquis integrated into the framework of the European Union annexed to that treaty and to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (formerly known as the Treaty establishing the European Community), and
iii under Protocol No. 21 on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland in respect of the area of freedom, security and justice, so annexed, including the option that the said Protocol No. 21 shall, in whole or in part, cease to apply to the State, but any such exercise shall be subject to the prior approval of both Houses of the Oireachtas.

Last edited by FutureTaoiseach; 01-10-2009 at 16:40.
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01-10-2009, 16:22   #19
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In response to BlitzKrieg's point:

I do not believe there is nothing good about the Lisbon Treaty.

Indeed, I believe that there are many things that are positive.

Almost all of these positive aspects are founded upon the greater competencies of the EU Parliament - and I need not do my opponents' job by listing these individually. Also, the transparency of the EU is vastly improved (seeing that its decision making is almost entirely opaque as of the moment).

This does indeed sound encouraging.

But the EU Parliament is still the weakest parliament in Europe - possessing absolutely no powers of legislative initiative. Not only this, but the strength and range of the competencies of the Consilium and Commission are themselves extended through Lisbon. Although the Commission is still unelected by the people, their selection by individual states is now subject to a vote in the Consilium by QMV, and approval by the new position of EU President of the Council (who is also not subject to direct election).

If you wished that the laws on, let's-say, paintball should be changed - should this be a decision subject to your national executive, or supranational executive? What makes you believe the fact that a law originates from a non-directly elected body makes it more likely to fit your particular preferences? Because the decision of your national executive might be overturned as per Article 4(2C)? As I have said before, what capacity can you exert if you do not approve of this supranational legislation? Write to the Commission in protest as per the Citizens' Initiative?

I have chosen not to get bogged down in the details of the treaty - because its interpretations are extremely subjective. And what use is it for me, or you to interpret, for instance in terms of the divisive EDA; that respect of individual states' national outlook will mean that Ireland does not have to - indeed, will not partake in its provisions hitherto set out - when our interpretation has not the slightest significance in the manner in which the EU itself interprets the legal ramifications of it. I am only throwing the EDA out as an example - as I said I didn't want to get bogged down in the nitty gritty, and I don't personally care about neutrality (although I know many of the electorate do).

But why is it there in the first place?

Why is there going to be a unified foreign policy embodied in the High Representative, who indeed will represent us (as European citizens) in the UN?

Why are the 'no' and 'yes' campaigners banging on about the details of a unified peace-keeping or military role for the EU? Why should there be a unified peacekeeping or military role for the EU in the first place? Surely this is the point of the UN, or NATO, both of which are divorced from the laws of any of its member states - for international cooperation on humanitarian or militaristic grounds?

I have heard that the EU Parliament should not be granted legislative initiative due to the fact that the largest countries would have the greatest influence (I have also heard arguments against it in terms of the ignorance of the electorate, but we will let those pass).

And yes, this is true. We, Europeans, are not one nation. I do not say 'Ich bin European' - I believe myself to be an Irish man first and foremost, and subject to the laws of my government. I will repeat that - my government. Yes, the Irish parliamentary process is far from perfect and nowhere near entirely democratic - but that is a damn sight better than having laws which are internal to each member state written within the framework of a supranational body that has the powers of a state, yet without the accountability of a democracy.

And I will not predict that the EU will legislate for conscripted armies, or reduce the minimum wage, or force abortions upon us. Those policies are far too specific in terms of hypothetical legislation, and are also combated by safeguards, at the moment.

Nor will I say that the EU has been bad for Ireland. It hasn't. But hasn't the manner in which it has been good been founded entirely upon the 1st pillar of the EU; the concepts of free-trade and monetary unity and economic development?

Why should we direct the EU into new areas, areas into which we will have almost no say.

I do not want a High Representative who has not received a single Irish vote speaking for Irish people.

And it this reason, among countless others, why I shall be voting no.

Thank you.

Last edited by RandomName2; 01-10-2009 at 17:57. Reason: commas were needed
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01-10-2009, 16:43   #20
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Under Paragraph 7(iii) of the 28th Amendment to the Constitution Bill 2009 (referendum legislation), the Government/Oireachtas will have the power to abolish the optout Protocol 21 on Justice and Home Affairs, meaning that if they use this power to abolish it outright, Qualified Majority Voting will determine our asylum and immigration laws. Here are provisions of the TFEU as amended by the Lisbon Treaty introducing Qualified Majority Voting on asylum and immigration. Note Article 78(3) TFEU and it's clear hints at burden-sharing of asylum-seekers from member states experiencing a large-influx. Note that in the Lisbon Treaty, the term "ordinary legislative procedure" means Qualified Majority Voting. That could force Ireland to take other member state's asylum-seekers:
Originally Posted by Article 78 TFEU
1. The Union shall develop a common policy on asylum, subsidiary protection and temporary protection with a view to offering appropriate status to any third-country national requiring international protection and ensuring compliance with the principle of non-refoulement. This policy must be in accordance with the Geneva Convention of 28 July 1951 and the Protocol of 31 January 1967 relating to the status of refugees, and other relevant treaties.
2. For the purposes of paragraph 1, the European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall adopt measures for a common European asylum system comprising:
(a) a uniform status of asylum for nationals of third countries, valid throughout the Union;
(b) a uniform status of subsidiary protection for nationals of third countries who, without obtaining European asylum, are in need of international protection;
(c) a common system of temporary protection for displaced persons in the event of a massive inflow;
(d) common procedures for the granting and withdrawing of uniform asylum or subsidiary protection status;
(e) criteria and mechanisms for determining which Member State is responsible for considering an application for asylum or subsidiary protection;

6655/1/08 REV 1 101
(f) standards concerning the conditions for the reception of applicants for asylum or subsidiary protection;
(g) partnership and cooperation with third countries for the purpose of managing inflows of people applying for asylum or subsidiary or temporary protection.

3. In the event of one or more Member States being confronted by an emergency situation characterised by a sudden inflow of nationals of third countries, the Council, on a proposal from the Commission, may adopt provisional measures for the benefit of the Member State(s) concerned. It shall act after consulting the European Parliament.
Originally Posted by Article 79 TFEU
1. The Union shall develop a common immigration policy aimed at ensuring, at all stages, the efficient management of migration flows, fair treatment of third-country nationals residing legally in Member States, and the prevention of, and enhanced measures to combat, illegal immigration and trafficking in human beings.
2. For the purposes of paragraph 1, the European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, shall adopt measures in the following areas:
(a) the conditions of entry and residence, and standards on the issue by Member States of long-term visas and residence permits, including those for the purpose of family reunification;
(b) the definition of the rights of third-country nationals residing legally in a Member State, including the conditions governing freedom of movement and of residence in other Member States;
(c) illegal immigration and unauthorised residence, including removal and repatriation of persons residing without authorisation;
(d) combating trafficking in persons, in particular women and children.
6655/1/08 REV 1 102
3. The Union may conclude agreements with third countries for the readmission to their countries of origin or provenance of third-country nationals who do not or who no longer fulfil the conditions for entry, presence or residence in the territory of one of the Member States.
4. The European Parliament and the Council, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, may establish measures to provide incentives and support for the action of Member States with a view to promoting the integration of third-country nationals residing legally in their territories, excluding any harmonisation of the laws and regulations of the Member States.
5. This Article shall not affect the right of Member States to determine volumes of admission of third-country nationals coming from third countries to their territory in order to seek work, whether employed or self-employed.
In the context of Article 79(5), note that "third-country nationals" refers to legal immigrants entitled to be in the EEA to seek work.

Lisbon also encourages welfare tourism by abolishing (not subject to any optout) the veto on freedom of movment and social welfare entitlements of workers in EU member states:
Originally Posted by Article 48 TFEU
The European Parliament and the Council shall, acting in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure, adopt such measures in the field of social security as are necessary to provide freedom of movement for workers; to this end, they shall make arrangements to secure for employed and self-employed migrant workers and their dependants: (a) aggregation, for the purpose of acquiring and retaining the right to benefit and of calculating the amount of benefit, of all periods taken into account under the laws of the several countries;
(b) payment of benefits to persons resident in the territories of Member States.
Where a member of the Council declares that a draft legislative act referred to in the first subparagraph would affect important aspects of its social security system, including its scope, cost or financial structure, or would affect the financial balance of that system, it may request that the matter be referred to the European Council. In that case, the ordinary legislative procedure shall be suspended. After discussion, the European Council shall, within four months of this suspension, either:
(a) refer the draft back to the Council, which shall terminate the suspension of the ordinary legislative procedure; or
(b) take no action or request the Commission to submit a new proposal; in that case, the act originally proposed shall be deemed not to have been adopted.
This underlines a reason for voting no to Lisbon - namely - the race to the bottom and the use of the Treaty to increase the availability of cheap labour for corporate-interests that are benefactors of political-parties. Vote no and protect Irish jobs.

Last edited by FutureTaoiseach; 01-10-2009 at 17:29.
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01-10-2009, 16:43   #21
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Originally Posted by BlitzKrieg View Post
On the issue of fishing

Is there a source for the 200 billion lost in fishing?

Cause the killbegs fishing organisation has come out in favour of Lisbon

And from inshore ireland and the total value of fish taken from irish waters since 1950 has been 12 billion. Only 8.4 billion during our time as part of the EU.

It is important to consider that the fishing industry in Ireland has improved more so under the EU that beore joining the EU the value of fish caught by Irish fisherman was substantialy less then the UK, since our membership our catch is now almost double.

I never put a figure on the value of our waters (as it is near impossible as a lot of the catch from foreign boats never see the light of day)

also the damage to our fish stocks has impacted on our angling tourism


competitions ran on the east coast of Ireland used to attract over 250 angler quite a few from abroad in the 80s and 90s

now with the beaches more barren its lucky if a competion gets 50 and no one travels any more

the E.U has a hunt and destroy attitude to our waters once they are gone the nordic waters will be next

Also if our catch is up then why are prices so high?

the reason is that the fish from our waters end up in mainland europe and further afield

How can we allow the E.U to further damage our fisheries

NO to lisbon
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01-10-2009, 17:42   #22
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To end my part in this debate

Many thanks for allowing myself to take part sadly over the last week work and my internet at home have prevented me from giving 100%

A big thank you to my associates in the no camp well done on your effort no matter what happens now

Thanks also to the yes camp for there efforts and to the judges of this debate

Until our last lisbon vote was made a mockary off by our government and europe i never got involved in political discussion and just like my religon i kept my beliefs to myself while respecting others

But for me now enough is enough

I will tommorow enter the voting booth and place my x beside the NO option this will come about from my beliefs of this treaty as giving europe too much power over our own constitution.

"Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

"Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it"

  • We cannot be punished for voting no
  • our markets will suffer more in the agriculture and fisheries from a yes vote
  • This is a vote on the lisbon treaty not our political parties
  • this 2nd referendum is undemocratic the treaty is unchanged
I do believe in the E.U my no vote is not anti europe it is anti lisbon. Lets go back to the drawing board and put the next treaty to all citizens of the Eu

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01-10-2009, 23:52   #23
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My apologies for coming late to the debate - real life, and paid work, intervened.

First, let me deal with the issue raised by RandomName2, and which provides a sort of backdrop to many other arguments - that the EU is "only really intended to be economic".

This is historically inaccurate. The goal of the EU and all its predecessors has been the same - "ever closer union" between the peoples of Europe. Not some kind of single state Europe, but literally everyone in Europe getting closer to their neighbours. There is no intention to make everyone live in one vast communal dormitory, or even abolish our separate houses - the intention is only that we should feel as comfortable in our neighbour's house as in our own. The EU is not some kind of totalitarian, or even necessarily federal project, but exactly what it says on the tin - a gigantic exercise in trying to help Europeans treat each other as neighbours.

The alternative, historically, has been the division of Europe into armed camps, and piles of smoking corpses measuring in the millions. Even today, even when the success of the European project has produced generations who have virtually no conception of European war, the alternative to the EU remains that division into competitive national entities, with all that that entails. A mere free trade area will not accomplish anything in terms of making us neighbourly, any more than it has in NAFTA.

The starting point of the EU was overtly political - the ECSC controlled coal and steel, because those were then the sinews of war - by sharing control over them, the six nations involved gave up their ability to stockpile against each other, and thereby much of their ability to engage in a renewed arms race against each other - an overtly political goal. Indeed, the most overtly political claims and visions come from that period, so one can hardly claim that the EU started off economic. Clearly it started off political.

Throughout its history, the EU has remained political. The creation of, first, the customs union, and then the common market, weren't undertaken because the remit of the EU was economic - they were undertaken because they would bring Europe closer together, by making it easier for Europeans to live, move, work, and do business with each other inside the EU, and thereby disarm the easily-inflamed suspicions and national tensions. Ever closer union - not a federal state, but simply a case of getting to know each other better. Again, this is something the EU has done so well that we take it for granted, and are in danger of forgetting how and why it came about. Free movement, and the right to live and work anywhere in Europe, aren't economic goals, but political and social ones - they serve the purpose of ever closer union, not of some kind of European Free Trade Area.

The economic tools were those that were first used to bring Europe closer together, because those tools were the least contentious, and the benefits easily measured in hard cash. The result has been a huge increase in prosperity for Europe, but that wasn't the reason it was done - if that had been the case, it could have been done at any time. It wasn't, because there was no political will to cooperate, no political will to work together.

In conclusion to that section, it should be clear that the EU's remit has never been purely economic. In turn, many of the freedoms we enjoy as citizens - the right of free movement, free establishment, and so on, aren't economic either - there would be no need for them in a purely political union.

To claim, therefore, that Lisbon represents some kind of sudden move into politics, or some kind of different union, is false. It is a continuation of the same process, for the same reasons - to bring Europeans together. It's a process that's already very well advanced, and each step of which has been voted on by the Irish people, and accepted - lest we forget that point.

Throughout this process, the member states have been concerned to ensure that, while Europeans come closer together, the member states retain their individual identities, and that the member states remain, in the words of the German Constitutional Court "the masters of the treaties".

To that end, the EU is essentially a framework for cooperation between the member states, rather than an entity in itself. The competences "the EU" has aren't powers pulled from the member states and handed over to an external body, but areas in which they will undertake to make decisions in common, rather than separately. That, in turn, is why EU law has precedence over national law - not because it is law laid down by a superior external entity, but because each law agreed in Europe is an international agreement in itself. If every party to an agreement can separately override an agreement, there is no agreement in any meaningful sense.

Thus, the member states appoint the Commission, the member states vote on all the legislation - the EU is only the framework through which they act, a union established among the member states, exactly as it says in the preamble to the treaties.

Naturally, as the EU has grown, agreement between all the states has become more and more difficult, particularly in areas where every member has a veto. Exactly the same process can be observed in any club or group - when it's small, it's possible to give everyone the right of absolute refusal, because the groups is close-knit. As it grows, some sort of majority system becomes more and more pressing, if the club is not simply to fall apart - and history is littered with the remains of international institutions that never took such a route, and never achieved anything before falling apart.

So, as time has gone by, majority voting has become more common. It wouldn't have done so if the member states had found that majority voting regularly pushed them into accepting legislation they firmly opposed. The EU member states have found, instead, that majority voting has worked out alright - because membership of the union is voluntary, each member could walk away if membership entailed unacceptable obligations.

So the reason Lisbon contains movement from unanimity to QMV is because QMV has been found to be alright, and unanimity to be problematic. If that weren't so, the member states wouldn't have written it into the treaties - because, again, it's the member states that write the treaties, not some external force. The fuss made over "losing vetoes" therefore misses the point. The people who make the fuss appear to blithely ignore the fact that Ireland wouldn't have accepted the writing into the Treaty of QMV moves unless they were happy that they weren't thereby losing anything.

Even where QMV voting applies, there is very little voting - about 15-20% of legislation comes to a vote. The rest is adopted by consensus - if any member state is really opposed, the matter is usually shelved, because it's more important to have everyone's agreement than to produce any given piece of legislation.

Voting weights, then, are largely irrelevant in the operation of the real EU, but they form a bone of contention in public debate because they are taken as proxy measures of a nation's influence - inaccurately, because it's not possible for any one nation to dominate the EU through its voting mechanisms - real influence is measured in alliances and goodwill.

Despite that, QMV exists, and Lisbon changes the way it's calculated, and people find that exciting, so I'll briefly cover it. FutureTaoiseach inaccurately claims that population weight is used for the first time in Lisbon - that's wrong, as are the COIR and SF posters. Currently we have three voting weights - population (0.8%), membership (3.7%), and council votes (7/345 = 2.02%). Lisbon dispenses with the council votes, and uses only the first and last measure - so now we have two voting weights - population (0.8%) and membership (3.7%). The average of the three Nice weights is 2.17%, the average of the two Lisbon weights is 2.25%. They won't tell you that down Capel Street.

The question is, then - why the change? The answer is that council votes aren't distributed by any formula, but arrived at through horse-trading, and everyone is sick of it. The new system doesn't drastically change anyone's voting weight, but does mean that any new accession, be it Croatia or Iceland, is immediately factored in.

Several of the institutional changes in Lisbon are of that kind - intended to dispense with things that cause long bouts of tedious wrangling. They're not required for enlargement (there's no cap in Nice, as people apparently believe), but they do make it easier. When Sarkozy said "no enlargement without Lisbon", is statement was purely political - in other words "no more horse-trading" - a statement that would be set aside instantly if Iceland applied for membership, Lisbon or no Lisbon.

Most of the rest of the changes in Lisbon are intended to address issues that were left unresolved in Nice. Nice was a hurried treaty, which is one reason why work started immediately on the next treaty - it was hurried because it was necessary to allow in Eastern Europe before it fell back into Russian orbit. The timing of Nice was dictated by Putin - before he began flexing Russia's muscles again, the candidacy of Eastern European countries was proceeding at the usual leisurely pace. After it became clear that Russia had got up off the floor, absorbing Eastern Europe became a priority.

The result was a treaty that was absolutely necessary, but which gave the EU a huge case of indigestion - not really in institutional terms, but in terms of the "ever closer union". Ireland, in particular felt this, by virtue of dispensing with the period of restriction on free movement of accession state nationals. The resulting immigration has created in many a sense of unease with the whole EU project, which is borne out by the xenophobic subtext in many No campaigns, and the immigration concerns of many No voters.

FutureTaoiseach has brought that up in relation to immigration policy and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which brings me neatly to the benefits of Lisbon, not least of which is the Charter. FutureTaoiseach consistently misapplies the Charter to national law, but in fact, it is a bill of rights for EU law only, and something that offers huge advantages to the citizen, because it makes it possible to challenge EU law (and only EU law) on the basis of stipulated and explicit rights, something currently not possible.

Most of the rest of the changes in Lisbon are of this second type - addressing the balance of power between the citizen and the EU, increasing the powers of the citizen-elected Parliament (which is primarily a citizen watchdog body over both the Commission and the national governments operating in the EU), increasing the powers of national parliaments and the information made avaialble to them, increasing the transparency of the EU's workings, and making it possible for the citizens to put legislative demands directly on the European agenda.

All of those things separately are not particularly powerful, but together they form a toolbox of reforms which offer a huge upgrade to citizen power and democratic input into the EU, and which go a long way to reducing the democratic deficit created by Nice. They form the backbone of the reason for my view that voting Yes is the better choice tomorrow purely on the Treaty itself.

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02-10-2009, 00:07   #24
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That's it, we have now crossed into Friday and the nation will go to the polls in a few hours.

The judges will begin deliberation on the debate tonight and as I mentioned, we hope to have an answer for you at around lunch time tomorrow.

I want to extend a big thanks to all our members who took part in the debate, it's been greatly appreciated.

Remember, please exercise your right to vote if you're elligible, if you weren't sure how to vote before, we hope this debate has helped you make the decision either way.

Thank you all for your time, I shall talk to you tomorrow with some results.

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