17 September 2009 Edition
Sinn Féin unveils 'No to Lisbon' poster campaign
LAUNCHING Sinn Féin’s Lisbon Treaty referendum poster campaign on Tuesday, Sinn Féin Vice-President Mary Lou McDonald said the Lisbon Treaty was a bad deal for Ireland and the EU in 2008 and the unchanged treaty is still a bad deal a year later.
“The Government has not secured a single change to the treaty since the Irish people voted No. It remains a bad deal for Ireland and the EU. As it is exactly the same treaty, Sinn Féin is urging people to give it the same answer and vote No on 2 October.”
The Sinn Féin deputy leader said that the party’s poster campaign is aimed at highlighting the content of the Lisbon Treaty and its implications for Ireland and the EU.
“We want to provoke a debate on and public knowledge about what the treaty says and does. Unlike many on the Yes side, our posters reference the articles of the treaty on which we are basing our claims.”
She said that Lisbon equals lower wages.
In recent years, the European Commission has enacted policies and the European Court of Justice has made judgments that have the effect of driving down the cost of wages in a number of EU countries, including the Laval (2007) judgment in Sweden and the Ruffert (2008) case in Germany.
“While these judgments took place under the existing EU treaties,” Mary Lou McDonald acknowledged, “the Protocol on the Internal Market and Competition contained in the Lisbon Treaty provides both the Commission and the Court with an even stronger mandate to undermine workers’ pay and conditions.”
Highlighting the messages in the Sinn Féin posters, she continued:
“Lisbon equals less power. Article 6 changes the way in which key decisions at the Council of Ministers are taken. The changes would see Ireland’s voting strength reduced to 0.8% while Germany’s would increase to 17% and Britain’s would increase to 12%. The Council is where states are meant to meet as equals. The Lisbon Treaty significantly reduces Ireland’s strength on this important body.”
And passing Lisbon equals more military spending, she argued.
Article 25 and 28 contain four separate obligations on military spending. Article 28(c)(3) states:
“Member states shall make civilian and military capabilities available to the [European] Union for the implementation of the common security and defence policy.”
The same article also states “member states shall undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities”.
In addition, Article 25b(d)(3) states:
“The Council shall adopt a decision establishing the specific procedures for guaranteeing rapid access to appropriations in the Union budget for urgent financing of initiatives in the framework of the common foreign and security policy.”
All this while Article 25(d)(3)(TEU) states that “preparatory activities... which are not charged to the Union budget shall be financed by a start-up fund made up of member states’ contributions”.
Mary Lou McDonald also addressed the implications for farm families and communities.
“Lisbon equals crushing family farms.
“The European Commission has for many years been pursuing an agenda of aggressively promoting free trade over fair trade. A series of EU Trade Commissioners – from Pascal Lammy, followed by Peter Mandelson and now Catherine Ashton – have been promoting an agenda at the WTO that would be devastating for Irish and European family farms and rural communities.”
Article 188, gives the Commission power to initiate and conduct negotiations, including international trade agreements, makes Qualified Majority Voting the general rule in the conclusion of such trade agreement, and effectively ends the Irish Government’s veto on ‘mixed trade deals.
Article 2 (b) gives the EU exclusive competence over commercial policy, including the negotiating of international trade agreements. Mary Lou McDonald maintained:
“These articles effectively remove the current Irish Government veto on mixed international trade agreements, making it easier for the European Commission to impose its free trade over fair trade agenda in future international trade talks.
“Taken together, Articles 6, 28, and 188, along with the Protocol on the Internal Market and Competition, will equal lower wages, less power, increased military spending and crushing family farms.
“These are just four of the many articles that make the Lisbon Treaty a bad deal for Ireland and the EU.
“On 2 October, Sinn Féin is urging people to reject this bad deal and vote for a better Europe and a fairer Ireland.”
• HIGH FIVE: Dessie Ellis, Mary Lou McDonald, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, John Brady and Shaun Tracey at the launch of Sinn Féin’s Lisbon Treaty referendum poster campaign on Tuesday