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 The EU - A Polity Out of Control?

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PostSubject: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 3:28 pm

The European Union has become a self-augmenting polity which is governed by rules and systems which cannot be fully digested or understood by the average citizen.

The EU progressively takes more powers to itself and develops more and more complicated rules to govern their use.

It has come to a point where we are voting on a Treaty which the leader of the country has not read.

It is clear that one cannot expect a citizen to understand the complex framework which the bureaucrats, through the helpless politicians, are seeking to put in place. We are voting to ratify something which redefines every citizen's relationship to the state. Unlike other countries, we cannot be stripped of our sovereignty without the people's consent. It is because we have a referendum that we know this is fundamental and important.

It is not that our politicians are ignorant and arrogant. They can no more be expected to understand this treaty in its entirety than we can. The system keeps changing and growing as it was designed to do from the start. This means more and more challenges are created which require tweaking. The changes have a geometric spread by each change necessitating further changes in various areas (non-linear). The progress is inexorable and irreversible. No one bureaucrat or politician has a grasp of the whole, yet the changes demand remedies and solutions effected through more treaties, standardization, control and centralization of power.

The people are becoming subject to the system rather than the system being subject to the people. This is contrary to the fundamental prinicple of our Constitution that the sovereignty lies with the people.

Some people look at the situation and think that we are heading towards a Federal Europe as has been the case from the start. If only it were as simple as that. We are heading towards a systemised, technological polity more which is much more diffuse, complex and less accountable than a federal system. The system is snowballing and it is apparent that there is no end in sight. It further apparent that the system is self augmenting such that it is not controlled by or dependent on any one group of elected representatives or any peoples.

We are a long way down this road. The citizens of Europe have lost trust in this system and the system has decided to side-step them. We in Ireland alone are being asked to vote. We are being asked to vote on something we cannot possibly understand. That in itself is the ultimate proof of the fundamental flaw in the design of the EU - people are asked to sign up to the supremacy of a law and a system which they do not comprehend.

This "fundamental flaw" is not a flaw that will stop the EU working, making technological progress, being mlitarily effective or being competitive. It is a flaw that will stop the people of Europe being in control of their political destinies.

People keep saying that various issues have nothing to do with Lisbon, but Lisbon is about the EU. Where do we call a halt and stop signing important documents we cannot understand?; documents which affect our freedom, for what is sovereignty if it isn't freedom?


Last edited by Zhou_Enlai on Tue May 13, 2008 5:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 3:39 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
The European Union has become a self-augmenting polity which is governed by rules and systems which cannot be fully digested or understood by the average citizen.

The EU progressively takes more powers to itself and develops more and more complicated rules to govern their use.

It is clear that one cannot expect a citizen to understand the complex framework which the bureaucrats, through the helpless politicians, are seeking to put in place.

No one bureaucrat or politician has a grasp of the whole, yet the changes demand remedies and solutions effected through more treaties, standardization, control and centralization of power.

The people are becoming subject to the system rather than the system being subject to the people. This is contrary to the fundamental prinicple of our Constitution that the sovereignty lies with the people.

The system is snowballing and it is apparent that there is no end in sight. It further apparent that the system is self augmenting such that it is not controlled by or dependent on any one group of elected representatives or any peoples.
Has the EU become some sort of self-aware entity that seeks more and more control? It 's the bureaucrats I feel sorry for.

Also, you refer to the 'citizens of Europe'. is this the citizens of the EU or the citizens of the nation-states of Europe?

Overall, it stikes me as opinion masquerading as fact.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 3:55 pm

It is opinion and I am not trying to masquerade it as fact.

The "citizens of Europe" refers to citzens of the EU. I don't know where you are going on that point but there you go.

Sytems and techniques often evolve with human interaction but without human control. What controls them is often efficiency and efficacy at achieving a goal. For example, workers in a corporation are put to work in systems that serve productivity not the workers. The idea of the EU bureaucracy being self aware is like a sci-fi concept to me. I don't see the EU as a sci fi entity.


Last edited by Zhou_Enlai on Tue May 13, 2008 3:56 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : typos typos typos)
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 4:03 pm

Are you questioning the need for the depth of complexity in it Zhou? The complexity exists with regard to the volume of information and rules needed but that's no different from the law or our own Constitution. I don't think the EU is so 'complex' (difficult) in terms of concept - try reading Hegel or digesting physics theories for that.

I'd agree it's a monolithic entity that could be unwieldy but again even our Constitution is a mass of complexity over the simplest of ideas which are normally only found in religion - Love your neighbour as yourself etc.

Is there a need for it and should people be able to grasp it? Or do they need to? You're not sure how your car or that computer really works nor do you need to but maybe you have a good point about human civic systems and their knowableness.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 4:07 pm

Europe and the EU are different things. Just me being fussy. More pedantry: what's the difference between efficiency and efficacy? I didn't know efficiacy was even a word!

The first two paragraphs strike me as statements of fact, not opinion.

Corporations are owned and, I like to think, controlled by shareholders etc. You point out that the EU controlled by no one, even the Eurocrats only control different parts of it. So who's running the show?
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 4:40 pm

This next is neither fact nor opinion, merely an unproven hypothesis:-

"The EU is a self-perpetuating bureaucracy acting out conciously and unconciously the agenda of the existing power interests in Europe, the most coherently organised and best-budgeted of these being corporate interests."
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 4:56 pm

A#9,

I am questioning the appropriateness of the complexity in a document that reduces sovereignty. Legislation is complex but we know that if anything impinges on the Constitution, which defines the fundamental relationship between the citizen and the state, then our consent is required. Complexity in a document which defines fundamental relations between the citizen and the state is an anathema. This applies whether we are talking about children's rights or lisbon.

I am further suggesting that the reason for the complexity is that the political direction of Europs is no longer controlled by any one vision, voice or principle.

905,
Corporations are no more controlled by shareholders than football clubs are controlled by fans or the health service is controlled by patients. I would like to think corporations are controlled by shareholders but if I did I would just be fooling myself.

Efficacy is the quality of how effective something is. Your point about the first two paragraphs is a matter of style. I believe that the EU is a self augmenting polity that is progressively developing more and more rules to deal with increase complexity brought about by augmentation. A statement of that type can only be an opinion or interpolation and so is of course open to question. The point was to stimulate debate.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 5:01 pm

cactus flower wrote:
This next is neither fact nor opinion, merely an unproven hypothesis:-

"The EU is a self-perpetuating bureaucracy acting out conciously and unconciously the agenda of the existing power interests in Europe, the most coherently organised and best-budgeted of these being corporate interests."

I will add a few facts to that:
A corporation is an abstract construct conceived to facilitate and enact wealth generation.
A corporation has legal personality and rights.
Notwithstanding any individuals desire, a corporation must act in accordance with its constitution and corporate law.

Now some opinion:
The corporations are on top for the moment but the corporations will also suffer if a greater EU efficiency or goal, towards which the EU is oriented, can be achieved.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 5:09 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
905,
Corporations are no more controlled by shareholders than football clubs are controlled by fans or the health service is controlled by patients. I would like to think corporations are controlled by shareholders but if I did I would just be fooling myself.

Efficacy is the quality of how effective something is. Your point about the first two paragraphs is a matter of style. I believe that the EU is a self augmenting polity that is progressively developing more and more rules to deal with increase complexity brought about by augmentation. A statement of that type can only be an opinion or interpolation and so is of course open to question. The point was to stimulate debate.
Touché, how about managers then? I'm pretty sure someone runs corporations. Who is running the EU or its it running itself?

I can accept that the opening paragraphs could be a matter of style but as I have shown myself they are not obviously opinion. I sent you a pm on the matter.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 5:13 pm

Are you saying it is a HAL situation?

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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 5:16 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
A#9,

I am questioning the appropriateness of the complexity in a document that reduces sovereignty. Legislation is complex but we know that if anything impinges on the Constitution, which defines the fundamental relationship between the citizen and the state, then our consent is required. Complexity in a document which defines fundamental relations between the citizen and the state is an anathema. This applies whether we are talking about children's rights or lisbon.

I am further suggesting that the reason for the complexity is that the political direction of Europs is no longer controlled by any one vision, voice or principle.

905,
Corporations are no more controlled by shareholders than football clubs are controlled by fans or the health service is controlled by patients. I would like to think corporations are controlled by shareholders but if I did I would just be fooling myself.

Efficacy is the quality of how effective something is. Your point about the first two paragraphs is a matter of style. I believe that the EU is a self augmenting polity that is progressively developing more and more rules to deal with increase complexity brought about by augmentation. A statement of that type can only be an opinion or interpolation and so is of course open to question. The point was to stimulate debate.

I have no doubt that the first post was opinion, intended to stimulate debate and it has done just that.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 5:26 pm

905 - I haven't seen the PM; in fact I can't see how to get my PMs anymore! We won't fall out over it one way or the other.

It's a bit like HAL alright. He tried to take control away from the astronauts when they didn't do what he wanted - let's call it his "EU Constitution Moment". Churchill's speech for united states of Europe is the metal column that landed amongst the chimps at the beginning of the film! Very Happy

It's also a bit like Kafka's Trial where Joseph K. can get no handle on the faceless forces acting against him.

It is also a bit like Alduous Huxley's Brave New World where the system controlled the people in every aspect of their life for their own good.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 5:31 pm

well nothing unique, see all these meps being quoted as saying it just like ( the distance between) you and your parliament, whats up.

its the notion of expanding eu power globally im worried about.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 5:50 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
905 - I haven't seen the PM; in fact I can't see how to get my PMs anymore! We won't fall out over it one way or the other.

It's a bit like HAL alright. He tried to take control away from the astronauts when they didn't do what he wanted - let's call it his "EU Constitution Moment". Churchill's speech for united states of Europe is the metal column that landed amongst the chimps at the beginning of the film! Very Happy

It's also a bit like Kafka's Trial where Joseph K. can get no handle on the faceless forces acting against him.

It is also a bit like Alduous Huxley's Brave New World where the system controlled the people in every aspect of their life for their own good.

Zhou - I was just about to pm you to tell you how to find your pms, and then I realised that was never going to work. Embarassed

If you look at the toolbar/navbar along the top of the screen under the words "A look under the Nation's Bonnet" you will see a little blue envelope to the right of 'Logout'. If there is a little orangey stripe on it, it means you have mail.

Box is probably bulging with my spam. Sorry. Embarassed Embarassed

I don't think 905 will mind if I mention that his pms can be 'stimulating', but that no personal offence is intended.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 5:56 pm

Well, Ireland has a written Constitution that sets out the basis of the Irish Republic. There is no distance between the citizen and the Constitution.

A civil service and a parliament is needed to define policy and implementation. It is not their proper function to redefine the Constitution.

If you are being asked to vote on an incomprehensible Treaty on the basis that you "trust" the politicians and civil servants then you are effectively subrogating your right and duty to protect the constitution to the politicians and civil servants.

That is wrong because the constitution already defines the areas we trust them in. They shouldn't need more and if they do need more then they should make it understandable to the people.

Shakespeare punished Lear severely for farming out his power, privileges and duties. The lesson applies to all areas of life. The lazy option often carries a hidden price.

I found the PMs by the way!


Last edited by Zhou_Enlai on Tue May 13, 2008 5:57 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 5:57 pm

cactus flower wrote:
Zhou - I was just about to pm you to tell you how to find your pms, and then I realised that was never going to work. Embarassed
Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 6:19 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
Well, Ireland has a written Constitution that sets out the basis of the Irish Republic.

'fraid not.

The word 'republic' does not appear in the Irish Constitution. Do you think the Pope would have given it his imprimateur back in '37 if it did.

Another word that doesn't feature in the Irish Constitution is 'neutrality'.

Zhou_Enlai wrote:

There is no distance between the citizen and the Constitution.

There is. Its called Locus Standi.

Zhou_Enlai wrote:

If you are being asked to vote on an incomprehensible Treaty on the basis that you "trust" the politicians and civil servants then you are effectively subrogating your right and duty to protect the constitution to the politicians and civil servants.

I'm not aware of anyone asking anyone else to do anything on the basis of trust.

Zhou_Enlai wrote:

That is wrong because the constitution already defines the areas we trust them in. They shouldn't need more and if they do need more then they should make it understandable to the people.

I understand the Lisbon Treaty. I don't understand the Companies Act, 1963 or the last Finance Act however.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 6:50 pm

Fine post Zhou. (What a name...)

The former President of Germany (and former head of their Constitutional Court) made some related points last year:

" It is true that we are experiencing an ever greater, inappropriate centralisation of powers away from the Member States and towards the EU. The German Ministry of Justice has compared the legal acts adopted by the Federal Republic of Germany between 1998 and 2004 with those adopted by the European Union in the same period. Results: 84 percent come from Brussels, with only 16 percent coming originally from Berlin ... Against the fundamental principle of the separation of powers, the essential European legislative functions lie with the members of the executive ... The figures stated by the German Ministry of Justice make it quite clear. By far the large majority of legislation valid in Germany is adopted by the German Government in the Council of Ministers, and not by the German Parliament ...


[And so the question arises whether Germany can still be referred to unconditionally as a parliamentary democracy at all, because the separation of powers as a fundamental constituting principle of the constitutional order in Germany has been cancelled out for large sections of the legislation applying to this country ... [/font][/size]The proposed draft Constitution does not contain the possibility of restoring individual competencies to the national level as a centralisation brake. Instead, it counts on the same one-way street as before, heading towards ever greater centralisation ...

[]Most people have a fundamentally positive attitude to European integration. But at the same time, they have an ever increasing feeling that something is going wrong, that an untransparent, complex, intricate, mammoth institution has evolved, divorced from the factual problems and national traditions, grabbing ever greater competencies and areas of power; that the democratic control mechanisms are failing: in brief, that it cannot go on like this."
[font=Times New Roman]Dr Roman Herzog writing in Welt Am Sonntag, 14 January 2007.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 6:54 pm

Cheers HT.

In response to Seinfeld...

seinfeld wrote:
Zhou_Enlai wrote:
Well, Ireland has a written Constitution that sets out the basis of the Irish Republic.

'fraid not.

The word 'republic' does not appear in the Irish Constitution. Do you think the Pope would have given it his imprimateur back in '37 if it did.

Another word that doesn't feature in the Irish Constitution is 'neutrality'.
The Irish Constitution sets out the basis of this Nation State a.k.a. the Republic of Ireland, sometimes referred to as the Irish Republic.

seinfeld wrote:
Zhou_Enlai wrote:

There is no distance between the citizen and the Constitution.

There is. Its called Locus Standi.
Any citizen will have locus standi where his or her rights are infringed. I take it you are talking about other provisions of the Constitution which may not be directly enforceable by a citizen in given cirumstances. Can you please clarify?

seinfeld wrote:
Zhou_Enlai wrote:

If you are being asked to vote on an incomprehensible Treaty on the basis that you "trust" the politicians and civil servants then you are effectively subrogating your right and duty to protect the constitution to the politicians and civil servants.

I'm not aware of anyone asking anyone else to do anything on the basis of trust.
If it is incomprehensible then it follows that you are being asked to trust that the experts who have designed or considered its various aspects have done so correctly and have summarized and explained it correctly to you. This is supported by the fact that the government have circulated summaries and guides rather than the treaty itself. The alternative is that you think the treaty is readily comprehensible to the average citizen.

seinfeld wrote:
Zhou_Enlai wrote:

That is wrong because the constitution already defines the areas we trust them in. They shouldn't need more and if they do need more then they should make it understandable to the people.

I understand the Lisbon Treaty. I don't understand the Companies Act, 1963 or the last Finance Act however.

Well, I think you are in the minority on the Lisbon Treaty. Perhaps you are a student or are employed in a job that has allowed you to dedicate long periods to the complexities of the treaty? Or perhaps you are exceedingly bright?

There is a distinction between legislation properly delegated to the Dail and constitutional amendments which require approval by plebiscite. My previous posts have dealt with that.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 7:04 pm

Helium Three wrote:
Fine post Zhou. (What a name...)

The former President of Germany (and former head of their Constitutional Court) made some related points last year:


" It is true that we are experiencing an ever greater, inappropriate centralisation of powers away from the Member States and towards the EU. The German Ministry of Justice has compared the legal acts adopted by the Federal Republic of Germany between 1998 and 2004 with those adopted by the European Union in the same period. Results: 84 percent come from Brussels, with only 16 percent coming originally from Berlin ... Against the fundamental principle of the separation of powers, the essential European legislative functions lie with the members of the executive ... The figures stated by the German Ministry of Justice make it quite clear. By far the large majority of legislation valid in Germany is adopted by the German Government in the Council of Ministers, and not by the German Parliament ...



And so the question arises whether Germany can still be referred to unconditionally as a parliamentary democracy at all, because the separation of powers as a fundamental constituting principle of the constitutional order in Germany has been cancelled out for large sections of the legislation applying to this country ...



The proposed draft Constitution does not contain the possibility of restoring individual competencies to the national level as a centralisation brake. Instead, it counts on the same one-way street as before, heading towards ever greater centralisation ...



Most people have a fundamentally positive attitude to European integration. But at the same time, they have an ever increasing feeling that something is going wrong, that an untransparent, complex, intricate, mammoth institution has evolved, divorced from the factual problems and national traditions, grabbing ever greater competencies and areas of power; that the democratic control mechanisms are failing: in brief, that it cannot go on like this."



Dr Roman Herzog writing in Welt Am Sonntag, 14 January 2007.

Thanks for this quote HT - you pack some serious ammo.

I categorise myself as one of those peole referred to in the last paragraph.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 7:08 pm

In that last paragraph, what would be an example of a 'democratic control mechanism' failing? That many countries don't have referenda or what?
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 7:18 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
In that last paragraph, what would be an example of a 'democratic control mechanism' failing? That many countries don't have referenda or what?

The separation of powers is a characteristic of modern democracies. This is in pursuance of Montesquieu's checks and balances approach. The Councils of Ministers has the final say on EU legislation and the Council of Ministers is comprised of members of each nation's executive. Where this can be done without reference to the European Parliament or to National Parliaments then the "democratic control mechanism", viz. the check imposed by the separation of the legislative and executive powers, has failed.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 8:26 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:

seinfeld wrote:
Zhou_Enlai wrote:

If you are being asked to vote on an incomprehensible Treaty on the basis that you "trust" the politicians and civil servants then you are effectively subrogating your right and duty to protect the constitution to the politicians and civil servants.

I'm not aware of anyone asking anyone else to do anything on the basis of trust.

If it is incomprehensible then it follows that you are being asked to trust that the experts who have designed or considered its various aspects have done so correctly and have summarized and explained it correctly to you. This is supported by the fact that the government have circulated summaries and guides rather than the treaty itself. The alternative is that you think the treaty is readily comprehensible to the average citizen.

The Treaty is an amending Treaty, in that it amends the Treaty of Rome and the Maastricht Treaty. Are you suggesting that the Government send out copies of the Treaty of Rome, the Treaty of Maastricht and the Lisbon Treaty?

The leaflet is sent out by the Referendum Commission, which is an independent body. The leaflet highlights the main provisions of the Treaty. These are indicative of the general thrust of the Treaty. If a citizen is concerned about any of these provisions, they are free to consult the texts of the aforementioned Treaties. The leaflet is not supposed to be some sort of surrogate for the Treaty. It aims to provide information and guidance.

To suggest that the Treaty is incomprehensible because the Referendum Commission sends out a leaflet rather than copies of the 3 Treaties is ridiculous.

The Treaty is complex, as any Treaty between 27 nations would be, but it is clear in what it hopes to achieve. Any citizen can has concerns about these objectives can easily consult the text of the Treaties, despite being told that they are too thick to do so by No campaigners.

Zhou_Enlai wrote:

seinfeld wrote:
Zhou_Enlai wrote:

That is wrong because the constitution already defines the areas we trust them in. They shouldn't need more and if they do need more then they should make it understandable to the people.

I understand the Lisbon Treaty. I don't understand the Companies Act, 1963 or the last Finance Act however.

Well, I think you are in the minority on the Lisbon Treaty. Perhaps you are a student or are employed in a job that has allowed you to dedicate long periods to the complexities of the treaty? Or perhaps you are exceedingly bright?

There is a distinction between legislation properly delegated to the Dail and constitutional amendments which require approval by plebiscite. My previous posts have dealt with that.

No there isn't.

Amendments to the Constitution are made to allow legislation to be passed in the Oireachtas. If the Referendum is passed, legislation will be introduced in the Oireachtas to ratify the Treaty, in the same way that Family Law legislation was introduced into the Oireachtas after the Divorce referendum. The fact that the Treaty of Lisbon is complex does not mean that the Oireachtas is hoodwinking the public anymore than he complexity of Family Law means that the Oireachtas is hoodwinking the public about divorce.

The question that is being asked of the public on June 12th is not whether they agree with the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon, but whether or not they wish the Constitution to be amended to allow for its ratification.

Clearly, many people will vote based on their understanding of the Treaty, but the fact that a person votes for amendment on the basis that they wish to allow the Oireachtas to act is a perfectly legitimate expression of sovereignty.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 8:31 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
In that last paragraph, what would be an example of a 'democratic control mechanism' failing? That many countries don't have referenda or what?

The separation of powers is a characteristic of modern democracies. This is in pursuance of Montesquieu's checks and balances approach. The Councils of Ministers has the final say on EU legislation and the Council of Ministers is comprised of members of each nation's executive. Where this can be done without reference to the European Parliament or to National Parliaments then the "democratic control mechanism", viz. the check imposed by the separation of the legislative and executive powers, has failed.

The EU is not a State.

The Separation of Powers as it exists in relation to the EU exists *within* member states, in that members of the European Council are accountable to their respective legislatures.

This is confused by the existence of the EU Parliament, which was never designed as a legislature. It became a representative assembly and was given the name 'parliament' to difuse the inevitable whinging that would arise when the Council began to make decisions.
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PostSubject: Re: The EU - A Polity Out of Control?   Tue May 13, 2008 8:47 pm

seinfeld wrote:


The Treaty is an amending Treaty, in that it amends the Treaty of Rome and the Maastricht Treaty. Are you suggesting that the Government send out copies of the Treaty of Rome, the Treaty of Maastricht and the Lisbon Treaty?

The leaflet is sent out by the Referendum Commission, which is an independent body. The leaflet highlights the main provisions of the Treaty. These are indicative of the general thrust of the Treaty. If a citizen is concerned about any of these provisions, they are free to consult the texts of the aforementioned Treaties. The leaflet is not supposed to be some sort of surrogate for the Treaty. It aims to provide information and guidance.

To suggest that the Treaty is incomprehensible because the Referendum Commission sends out a leaflet rather than copies of the 3 Treaties is ridiculous.

The Treaty is complex, as any Treaty between 27 nations would be, but it is clear in what it hopes to achieve. Any citizen can has concerns about these objectives can easily consult the text of the Treaties, despite being told that they are too thick to do so by No campaigners.

First of all, I am not a No campaigner and I have not decided how I will vote.

I agree that my arguments apply equally to the Maastricht Treaty and the Nice Treaty. I referred to the leaflets sent out to corroborate my position rather than as definitive proof. The text of the treaty is not clear or easily comprehensible to me and I am used to reading and drafting long and complex documents. I accept that you think the Treaty is readily comprehensible and can be referred to by any citizen on any point they have difficulty on and if that is the case then it is a valid rebuttal. However, to my mind, apart from the fact that you have to make an effort to get a copy of the treaty (easier if you are au fait with the internet) and then compare and integrate it with the other treaties, its length and breadth make it quite difficult to understand in its entirety, even for a student of politics, law or european studies.

I would suggest that your statements that "The leaflet highlights the main provisions of the Treaty. These are indicative of the general thrust of the Treaty." are indicative of trust. That trust may be well placed but it is trust nonetheless.

seinfeld wrote:
Zhou_Enlai wrote:
....There is a distinction between legislation properly delegated to the Dail and constitutional amendments which require approval by plebiscite. My previous posts have dealt with that.

No there isn't.

Amendments to the Constitution are made to allow legislation to be passed in the Oireachtas. If the Referendum is passed, legislation will be introduced in the Oireachtas to ratify the Treaty, in the same way that Family Law legislation was introduced into the Oireachtas after the Divorce referendum. The fact that the Treaty of Lisbon is complex does not mean that the Oireachtas is hoodwinking the public anymore than he complexity of Family Law means that the Oireachtas is hoodwinking the public about divorce.

The question that is being asked of the public on June 12th is not whether they agree with the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon, but whether or not they wish the Constitution to be amended to allow for its ratification.

Clearly, many people will vote based on their understanding of the Treaty, but the fact that a person votes for amendment on the basis that they wish to allow the Oireachtas to act is a perfectly legitimate expression of sovereignty.

I see a fundamental difference between legislation and amendments to the constitution. I am against enabling amendments which reference legislation generally and that is why I referred to the same applying equally to an amendment relating to children's rights.

Your point about the amendment to the constitution itself being simple is well made but I am afrid I do not find the logic compelling because I do not believe people are aware which specific provisions of the Treaty require a constitutional amendment, i.e. which parts of our constitution are being impinged on or changed. Our country signs many other treaties which do not require such amendments. As such, I see the enabling amendment which references the entirety of the lisbon treaty as being unacceptable.
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