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21 February 2008 Edition

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Lisbon Treaty - Who fears democracy?

Speaking in Strasbourg this week Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald raised an issue of central importance in the debate on the Lisbon Treaty. The treaty will only be subjected to the democratic scrutiny of people in Ireland. As there appears to be a fear of referenda in other states, the Dublin MEP has rightly asked: “Who fears democracy? Who fears the voice of the people? We talk the talk of democracy but walk the walk of a deeper centralisation of power. How can we speak the language of peace yet commit to further increase the Union’s military spending and support the continuing development of the armaments industry in Europe? Why do we insist on emulating the United States? Do we really believe that creating its European equivalent will promote a peaceful world?”
Nobody who believes in democracy, international peace or public services should support the Lisbon Treaty.
The myth that the EU values public services and workers’ rights continues to be pedalled by the Treaty’s advocates in Ireland. One need only ask Irish Ferries workers about the EU’s commitment to vindicating workers’ rights to see how shallow it is.
EU leaders congratulate themselves for being substantial donors of aid to developing countries while devising ‘partnership agreements’ that force poor countries to lay bare their markets to European economic ambition.
The Treaty is not about efficiency or reform. It is a carte blanche for further erosion of democracy. Its self-amending clauses alone are evidence of this. It is a charter for further privatisation. It offers no advance on the environment, nothing new in the protection of workers’ rights and it gives powerful EU institutions a free hand to further militarise the European Union.
Because it is unlikely that the people of Europe would support such a treaty, with the exception of Ireland, where the government has no choice on the matter, they will not be asked their view.
The Lisbon Treaty is about advancing the ambitions of those who will not rest until the EU takes its place among the superpowers of the world.
The EU needs to be radically reformed to enable the people of Europe to bring about the positive change that Europe and the rest of the world deserves. All EU members states, large and small, should equally enjoy the right to take decisions in the best interests of their own citizens, the people of Europe and of the wider world.
Meanwhile as another Sinn Féin MEP and member of the European Parliament Committee on Climate Change Bairbre de Brún, correctly pointed out this week, comments by Minister John Gormley about supporting the Lisbon Treaty because of its impact on climate change are wide of the mark.
The EU is already dealing with climate change. The Lisbon Treaty will not enable the EU to do anything it is not already doing. President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso did not need to wait for the Lisbon Treaty for his recent announcement of the Commission’s proposed plan to tackle climate change over the coming decades.
Either John Gormley doesn’t know what he is talking about or the Greens have learned well from their coalition partners and are employing the traditional tactic used by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the PDs when it comes to EU referenda – spreading misinformation and confusion among the electorate.

An Phoblacht Magazine

AN PHOBLACHT MAGAZINE:

  • The first edition of this new magazine will feature a 10 page special on the life and legacy of our leader Martin McGuinness to mark the first anniversary of his untimely passing.
  • It will include a personal reminiscence by Gerry Adams and contributions from the McGuinness family.
  • There will also be an exclusive interview with our new Uachtarán Mary Lou McDonald.

Buy An Phoblacht magazine here

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