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 Treaty Dates for Your Diary Continued From the Refuge

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PostSubject: Treaty Dates for Your Diary Continued From the Refuge   Fri Mar 14, 2008 11:37 pm

Quote :
by ibis on Thu Mar 13, 2008 12:54 pm
I disagree with your interpretation of that quotation, ibis. You seem here to be referring to the incremental nature of the development of the EU whereas I think it clearly refers to the dismantling of the constitution and its presentation in its current form as a series of amendments.


I think you're right, actually - but that just brings me back to my point about d'Estaing, that he feels people should darn well have voted for his version.

What's slightly ridiculous about the number of times that quote gets used, though, is that nobody anywhere has claimed that Lisbon and the Constitution are completely different. A great song and dance is made about how this or that person has "admitted" the two documents are very much the same - and when you look at what was actually said, calling it an "admission" is pure spin.

Of course, given that the two documents are largely the same, one can hardly really claim what d'Estaing does - since anyone can read the Constitution if they find the Treaty baffling. There are even comparative versions (here's a solidly eurosceptic one for your enjoyment!).

I did enjoy that - though I need more time to read it properly. Just got time to skim through but enough to get the deja vu flavour of it. Thanks.

I think the 'admission' point is based on the fact that changes were made that took away the constitutional references and there are precious few other changes. So it's almost the same as the document the French and Dutch rejected but now they don't have an opportunity to have a say on it. Nor will those states who voted in favour of it have the chance to either reinforce their support or change their miinds based on the changes. And still it's 96% the same if you believe the Eurosceptics above and 90% the same if anyone believes anything Bertie says.

There's also a certain smarmy disingenuousness, is there not, in saying that if the constitution is dismantled and fed to the people piecemeal with its changes, it will seem easier to digest but be just as unpalatable, so to speak.

So it may be spin from a variety of perspectives...

http://www.silverpond.eu/refuge/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=29&start=16
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PostSubject: Re: Treaty Dates for Your Diary Continued From the Refuge   Sat Mar 15, 2008 1:12 am

Quote :
I did enjoy that - though I need more time to read it properly. Just
got time to skim through but enough to get the deja vu flavour of it.
Thanks.

I think the 'admission' point is based on the fact
that changes were made that took away the constitutional references and
there are precious few other changes. So it's almost the same as the
document the French and Dutch rejected but now they don't have an
opportunity to have a say on it. Nor will those states who voted in
favour of it have the chance to either reinforce their support or
change their miinds based on the changes. And still it's 96% the same
if you believe the Eurosceptics above and 90% the same if anyone
believes anything Bertie says.

Well, I'd have a bit of difficulty accepting Bertie's figures, what with one thing and another.

Quote :
There's also a certain smarmy
disingenuousness, is there not, in saying that if the constitution is
dismantled and fed to the people piecemeal with its changes, it will
seem easier to digest but be just as unpalatable, so to speak.

I think that entirely misses the point of the major difference between the Constitution and the Treaty, and the reason why one required referendums and the other doesn't. The standard ratification mechanism for most member states is parliamentary, not referendum - the Constitution required a referendum only because it replaced treaties that had themselves required referendums. The Treaty doesn't, because it amends those treaties instead - which is why we now have an "incomprehensible" treaty instead of the relatively clearer Constitution.

From the point of view of the EU, the EU Constitution was an experiment with a format, not with the content - an attempt to rationalise the foundational treaties of the union at the same time as introducing certain reforms.

So, the EU seeing the format as having failed, they reverted to a standard amending treaty, and the member states reverted to standard ratification mechanisms. I don't see that as some kind of conspiracy, I'm afraid, although I can see that if one is voting No, it would very tempting to see it that way.
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PostSubject: Re: Treaty Dates for Your Diary Continued From the Refuge   Sat Mar 15, 2008 2:46 am

Garrett's explanation is rather more convincing:


"The most striking change [between the Constitution and the Lisbon Treaty] is perhaps that in order to enable some governments to reassure their electorates that the changes will have no constitutional implications, the idea of a new and simpler treaty containing all the provisions governing the Union has now been dropped in favour of a huge series of individual amendments to two existing treaties.



Virtual incomprehensibility has thus replaced simplicity as the key approach to EU reform.



As for the changes now proposed to be made to the constitutional treaty, most are presentational changes that have no practical effect. They have simply been designed to enable certain heads of government to sell to their people the idea of ratification by parliamentary action rather than by referendum."



- Dr Garrett FitzGerald, Irish Times, 30 June 2007
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PostSubject: Re: Treaty Dates for Your Diary Continued From the Refuge   Sat Mar 15, 2008 3:03 am

Well, you pays your money and you takes your choice. All the treaties since the originals have been amending treaties like this one - the Constitution was the new departure, not Lisbon. Any claim that virtual incomprehensibility has replaced clarity completely ignores the treaties prior to the Constitution.
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PostSubject: Re: Treaty Dates for Your Diary Continued From the Refuge   Sat Mar 15, 2008 9:30 am

ibis wrote:
Well, you pays your money and you takes your choice. All the treaties since the originals have been amending treaties like this one - the Constitution was the new departure, not Lisbon. Any claim that virtual incomprehensibility has replaced clarity completely ignores the treaties prior to the Constitution.

Yes but...

Were any of the other treaties based fundamentally on a constitutional type document that had in its first incarnation been rejected by two countries? And I do know it was ratified by several but I'm playing devil's advocate here.

It's not a treaty pure, to transliterate a German phrase and the others didn't have the baggage that this one has.
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PostSubject: Re: Treaty Dates for Your Diary Continued From the Refuge   Sat Mar 15, 2008 2:30 pm

Kate P wrote:
ibis wrote:
Well, you pays your money and you takes your choice. All the treaties since the originals have been amending treaties like this one - the Constitution was the new departure, not Lisbon. Any claim that virtual incomprehensibility has replaced clarity completely ignores the treaties prior to the Constitution.

Yes but...

Were any of the other treaties based fundamentally on a constitutional type document that had in its first incarnation been rejected by two countries? And I do know it was ratified by several but I'm playing devil's advocate here.

It's not a treaty pure, to transliterate a German phrase and the others didn't have the baggage that this one has.

No, none of them had, or had, as you say acquired the "baggage" this one has (since Nice, of course, didn't change between our two referendums) - and that's certainly relevant to the argument as to whether we should reject the treaty based on the earlier rejection of the Constitution.

However, do you see what I'm saying in respect of the claim that this treaty is somehow "deliberately incomprehensible" or that the change from the relative clarity of the Constitution somehow represents a new departure? That despite all the claims made in that respect, this is not in fact the case, and that the Lisbon Treaty is a perfectly normal document of its kind?
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PostSubject: Re: Treaty Dates for Your Diary Continued From the Refuge   Sat Mar 15, 2008 2:41 pm

"The aim of the Constitutional Treaty was to be more readable; the aim of this treaty is to be unreadable ... The Constitution aimed to be clear, whereas this treaty had to be unclear. It is a success."
- Karel de Gucht, Belgian Foreign Minister, Flandreinfo, 23 June 2007

This claim seems to fit the known facts.
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PostSubject: Re: Treaty Dates for Your Diary Continued From the Refuge   Sun Mar 16, 2008 6:51 pm

Helium Three wrote:
"The aim of the Constitutional Treaty was to be more readable; the aim of this treaty is to be unreadable ... The Constitution aimed to be clear, whereas this treaty had to be unclear. It is a success."
- Karel de Gucht, Belgian Foreign Minister, Flandreinfo, 23 June 2007

This claim seems to fit the known facts.

Quite the opposite. The aim of the Constitution was indeed to be readable, but the Treaty of Lisbon is neither more nor less readable than any other piece of amending legislation, including its predecessors of Nice, Maastricht, Amsterdam etc.
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