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 Few questions from a yes voter

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PostSubject: Few questions from a yes voter   Fri Jun 06, 2008 11:17 pm

Hi,

The intention of this thread is not to flog a particular view point but to solicit opinions/views/facts on a handful of topics.

I intend to vote yes and have been campaigning along those lines however have been following the various debates and lending credence and thought to both sides arguments when deserved. As far as I can see almost all the initial reasons to vote no have since been discredited or disproved such as:

  • Corporation Tax ; now acknowledged no change and Ireland continues veto
  • Trade ; veto in situ
  • Neutrality ; Red herring - no change - civil cooperation miltary engagement still requires triple lock (personally don't have a big problem with common defence but irrelevant as not in treaty)
  • Abortion/Right to Life etc ; Disproven no change, confirmed by episcopal conference, bishops etc. Also apparently there is an article that states no provision of the charter of rights can in any way override or supersede member states existing provisions..(not sure reference)

However the remaining questions continue to niggle me:

  • Sovereignity ; Why exactly are we changing the constitution? What is in the treaty that means we have to do this? If we are not changing any balance of powers or sovereignity issues what are we at with the constitution?
  • Why did the French and Dutch voters vote no, what has changed between the treaty they rejected and the treaty we are voting on?
  • Privitisation of services ; potential for commodtisation of education and health - how real is this possibility? How does the treaty alter this? Is this related to Charlie McCreevy's services directive? Is most of this not in place already?
  • Laval Case/Trade Union concerns ; Are trade unions right to be concerned over Laval when local conditions were undermined by imported 'services'? Is this not safeguarded by the charter of rights?


Those are the remaining No arguments that trouble me. I would appreciate some comments on the above questions from either side.

On the reasons to vote yes, I believe the treaty is effectively the counterpart of Nice and the enlargement was never envisaged in the absence of streamlined procedures which address many of the issues previously/currently dogging the EU. You can't have one without the other. The arguments around majority voting are selfish parochial ones, we cannot expect to command a majority from a position of minority. A lot of the issues now in debate were already decided in Nice (or earlier referenda) what is now at stake are the mechanics. However we have under an Irish brokered deal managed to safeguard an awful lot of parity for smaller nations including Ireland in the rotating commissioner and other arrangements. There is no guarauntee we will ever get as good a deal again, even if renegotiation is possible, it would certainly not be managed by an Irish delegation including the current and previous Taoiseach along with the best of Irish civil servants. It has taken ten years for 27 states to come to this agreement and whilst the No side in the main will simply walk away when all this is over in 6 days time, the Yes people represent every body, interest group, political or government agency who actually have to work these institutions on a daily basis. Their intimate familiarity with the european project and protocols informs their emphasis on change and en masse every single one of them is in favour. They don't have the option to walk away from the mess afterwards and that leads me to conclude some the No side are engaged in a selfish and ultimately destructive campaign.

Anyway all comments on the above in particular the key questions appreciated. Thanks.


Last edited by croppyboy on Fri Jun 06, 2008 11:20 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Reword)
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PostSubject: Re: Few questions from a yes voter   Fri Jun 06, 2008 11:46 pm

Hello Croppyboy - nice to see you here.

Can i start with looking at your reasons for voting yes? I feel I know more No about them than the No questions you raise.

Quote :
the reasons to vote yes, I believe the treaty is effectively the counterpart of Nice and the enlargement was never envisaged in the absence of streamlined procedures which address many of the issues previously/currently dogging the EU.

That may be the case but if it was, then it shouldn't be a rehashed constitution, should it? One has to ask too whether it was ultimately sensible to expand in the absence of the kind of legislation that makes it possible to do that efficiently and then, whether Lisbon offers the kind of efficiencies that are necessary: if the LSE is correct, legislation is being processed 25% more quickly now than before enlargement and that's WITH unanimity in many areas where QMV will be introduced after Lisbon.


Quote :
The arguments around majority voting are selfish parochial ones, we cannot expect to command a majority from a position of minority.

I do agree with this in principle. However, as things stand it's one country one vote and that is suitable and correct for a union of member states. QMV only makes sense with the changed legal status of the Union as a Union of European Citizens rather than a union of member states.


Quote :
However we have under an Irish brokered deal managed to safeguard an awful lot of parity for smaller nations including Ireland in the rotating commissioner and other arrangements.

Equality is not about parity, it's about treating individuals and groups according to their needs. While the commission retains the perogative on proposing legislation, is headed by unelected members (as opposed to, say an elected MEP who is chosen from the list of MEPs when we vote for the MEPs or a specially elected commissioner) and retains under Lisbon the perception of inequality, then there is still work to be done. I find it bizarre that these roles are so intermingled. Greater minds than mind would do a better job of making sense of how that could or should be done. Suffice it to say, while there is a certain logistical logic to the current system, there is also a democratic deficit in that the punter doesn't vote for those who present the proposed legislation. Leaving 1/3 of countries out of that loop doesn't do anything to address that deficit, rather it clearly heightens the perception of it.


Quote :
There is no guarauntee we will ever get as good a deal again, even if renegotiation is possible, it would certainly not be managed by an Irish delegation including the current and previous Taoiseach along with the best of Irish civil servants. It has taken ten years for 27 states to come to this agreement and whilst the No side in the main will simply walk away when all this is over in 6 days time, the Yes people represent every body, interest group, political or government agency who actually have to work these institutions on a daily basis. Their intimate familiarity with the european project and protocols informs their emphasis on change and en masse every single one of them is in favour. They don't have the option to walk away from the mess afterwards and that leads me to conclude some the No side are engaged in a selfish and ultimately destructive campaign.

There is no promise we'll get such a 'good deal' again. But I feel a fundamental problem with this treaty is that it tries to do so much while pretending to do so little. It is being sold as a beaurocratic issue of dotting i's and crossing t's when it brings about fundamental changes to the shape and workings of the union, shifts rights, introduces new areas of shared competence and has a controversial element of militarism which might be safer dealt with separately. It's a catch- all treaty that will in effect disenfranchise this electorate because, unlike the SEA when Crotty ensured we had the right to vote on that which we could not reasonably have been expected to expect from previous treaties, there is almost nothing left out of this one. Even culture will become an area of shared competence - why?

The treaty is a victim of its own making - breaking it into smaller chunks would have made debate far easier and clearer for people and each country could have had a sensible debate on the relevant issues for them.

Quite apart from that, there's the issue of the democratic responsibility of ratifying the treaty.

If three other countries were having a referendum after us, then I doubt that we would be under the kind of emotional pressure we feel to provide a Yes vote to save face.

It is not possible or permissible to hand a decision to the people and then tell them that because they are the only ones voting, they must vote a particular way so as not to let down everyone else. It goes against every principle of natural justice and personal responsibility. That is not how it works.

We find ourselves in an invidious position. Breaking down the decision making into 27 states means that there are really only 27 decisions to be made. Is it democracy when the treaty needs to be ratified unanimously - I don't know. However, the fact that those 27 states need us to complete the circle should not be an influencing factor on the fact that we have a democratic responsibility as individuals. It's tough for the government that they have an extra layer to deal with that the other nations don't. That's the government's problem and it's separate to our democratic right and responsibility to reach our own decision as citizens of this country.
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PostSubject: Re: Few questions from a yes voter   Sat Jun 07, 2008 12:38 am

Hello croppyboy,

fair play for campaigning for a Yes, I like your faith! The issues I and others have with it are not listed in your opening post so I'll just add them here.

It's not neutrality but the 'progressive expansion of military budgets of member states' that gets me. It's in very black and white there and nowhere do you see a similar 'member states will be encouraged to expand their education budgets for the ...' It takes a lot less resources to open up the education arena than it does to expand the defence budget.

The second point is, if I and other education people had been consulted on this in the first place then there would be a specific reference to education in it. Now, some are asking 'Why wasn't there extensive public consultation?' The education body is a huge group of people and I don't know if any of my comrades were consulted over the past number of years but I certainly wasn't. So there is a cloud over the democratic involvement surrounding it.

The absence of real social meat in the Treaty has triggered a massive reaction to the Treaty from the European left, I imagine, and from socialist thinkers and anyone with the soul to want to see behind the notion of economies run solely by markets. It was cited as article 188C in the radio programmes and in the meetings I went to but when I went to browse for it in the Treaty copy I have (the 'readable' one) then it had somehow morphed into article 207 or something.

Which led me to the thought - to hell with this this is a scam - how can something not only be unreadable but paragraphs get renumbered between 'versions' ...

People will vote with their guts and their guts, I hope, will say No on the day.
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PostSubject: Re: Few questions from a yes voter   Sat Jun 07, 2008 12:43 am

croppyboy wrote:
Sovereignity ; Why exactly are we changing the constitution? What is in the treaty that means we have to do this? If we are not changing any balance of powers or sovereignity issues what are we at with the constitution?

Well, we would have to have a referendum if for no other reason than that the European Communities, as we have written in our Constitution, will cease to exist if Lisbon is ratified. I would also say that the technical legal character of the EU changes somewhat by both subsuming the EC and inheriting its legal personality.

However, there are also sovereignty changes - the extension of QMV and the creation of a couple more 'shared' competences. In addition, any change in the objectives of the EU might be held to materially change the nature of the EU - so adding in 'combating climate change', for example.

What I don't see as being in there is some kind of giant 'gotcha'. It's not as if we haven't had the attention of thousands of eurosceptic lawyers, constitutional activists, etc focussed on Lisbon for nearly six months - and they haven't actually pulled out any such item, so I'm happy enough it isn't in there.

Having said that, I would love to see the AG's advice, because that's the closest we'll get to definitive answer to that question short of another Crotty case.

croppyboy wrote:
Why did the French and Dutch voters vote no, what has changed between the treaty they rejected and the treaty we are voting on?

The Government White Paper is the best source on that:

Quote :
27. The mandate given to the IGC was, therefore, to draw up a Treaty,
called the “Reform Treaty”, which would consist of amendments to the
current Treaties with a view to enhancing the efficiency and democratic
legitimacy of the enlarged Union, as well as the coherence of its
external action. The idea of replacing the existing European Union
Treaties with a single Constitutional Treaty was abandoned. This was
done in a direct response to what were seen as legitimate concerns
among many of Europe’s citizens.

28. Instead, the new Reform Treaty would preserve the balance of the
practical improvements to the Union’s decision making and structures
which had been agreed by the Heads of State or Government under the
2004 Irish Presidency. At the same time, it would drop those elements
which had had a constitutional character. For example, the title “Union
Minister for Foreign Affairs” would be changed to “High Representative
of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy”. In this context,
it was also agreed not to proceed with the formal adoption in the
Treaty of the Union’s symbols – the EU flag, the anthem and Europe day.

29. Other modifications introduced as a result of the period of
reflection and of further consultation with the Member States related
to: the respective competences of the EU and the Member States and
their delimitation; the specific nature of the Common Foreign and
Security Policy (CFSP); the enhanced role for national parliaments; the
treatment of the Charter of Fundamental Rights; and a revised
mechanism, in the area of judicial cooperation in criminal matters and
police co-operation, enabling Member States to go forward with a
proposed measure while allowing others not to participate. An Irish
Government proposal to include a reference to combating climate change
under the Union’s environmental policy was also agreed.

Quite a bit, really. The Dutch also got bits they wanted:

Quote :
Clearly novel was the defensive approach of the Dutch delegation
towards a number of specific issues, which allegedly served to do
justice to the concerns voiced by the electorate upon rejection of the
Constitutional Treaty draft in June 2005. To that aim, the Dutch
negotiating position focused specifically on the incorporation of a
number of concrete checks and balances, safeguards and emergency breaks
into the treaty text. Two key points included the Dutch demand for
clarification of the existing division of competencies between member
states and the Union, and the incorporation into the treaty text of a
reference to the accession criteria for candidate member states. It was
successfully made clear to the EU negotiating partners that conceding
these particular demands would be instrumental for the Dutch delegation
in bringing the treaty back home. The vulnerability of the Dutch
position in terms of legitimacy was thereby effectively turned into a
strength in the negotiations.

As to why they voted no, there doesn't seem to be any straight answer obtainable. I did come across an analysis for France which suggested the usual mix of reasons - people objected to the flag and anthem (yes, really), objected to Turkish entry, wanted to give Chirac a kick, opposed it on ideological grounds. I can't find the source again, which is a pity, because the proportion whose issues have been dealt with is quite large.

croppyboy wrote:
Privitisation of services ; potential for commodtisation of education and health - how real is this possibility? How does the treaty alter this? Is this related to Charlie McCreevy's services directive? Is most of this not in place already?

A lot of it, certainly. The thing with this issue is that the Treaty doesn't mandate or encourage privatisation of public services. It tries to deal with the reality, that some countries are privatising, others are definitely not. The whole red herring of the "introduction of competition" applies only where the national government has decided to privatise - it's a clause intended to prevent governments creating "national champions" that are supposedly private, but are actually protected monopolies.

croppyboy wrote:
Laval Case/Trade Union concerns ; Are trade unions right to be concerned over Laval when local conditions were undermined by imported 'services'? Is this not safeguarded by the charter of rights?

The Laval precedent applies either way. It could be challenged on the basis of the Charter, I would think, but whether that would be successful I don't know.

I agree with you that those whose job it is to actually deal with the EU are uniformly voting Yes, and that the No side often seems to have no agenda but voting No. The claim that the No side is the guardian of democracy around Europe rings entirely hollow to me, when there has been no pressure since the Constitution for referendum decisions in the countries that don't usually have them. It's a tactic, and if Lisbon is defeated, we'll hear no more of it.
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PostSubject: Re: Few questions from a yes voter   Sat Jun 07, 2008 1:11 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
Hello croppyboy,

fair play for campaigning for a Yes, I like your faith! The issues I and others have with it are not listed in your opening post so I'll just add them here.

It's not neutrality but the 'progressive expansion of military budgets of member states' that gets me. It's in very black and white there and nowhere do you see a similar 'member states will be encouraged to expand their education budgets for the ...' It takes a lot less resources to open up the education arena than it does to expand the defence budget.

The second point is, if I and other education people had been consulted on this in the first place then there would be a specific reference to education in it. Now, some are asking 'Why wasn't there extensive public consultation?' The education body is a huge group of people and I don't know if any of my comrades were consulted over the past number of years but I certainly wasn't. So there is a cloud over the democratic involvement surrounding it.

There is a whole Title (TITLE XII) dedicated to "EDUCATION, VOCATIONAL TRAINING, YOUTH AND SPORT". Starts with Arricle 165:

Quote :
1. The Union shall contribute to the development of quality education by encouraging cooperation between Member States and, if necessary, by supporting and supplementing their action, while fully respecting the responsibility of the Member States for the content of teaching and the organisation of education systems and their cultural and linguistic diversity. The Union shall contribute to the promotion of European sporting issues, while taking account of the specific nature of sport, its structures based on voluntary activity and its social and educational function.
2. Union action shall be aimed at:
– developing the European dimension in education, particularly through the teaching and dissemination of the languages of the Member States,
– encouraging mobility of students and teachers, by encouraging inter alia, the academic recognition of diplomas and periods of study,
– promoting cooperation between educational establishments,
– developing exchanges of information and experience on issues common to the education systems of the Member States,
- encouraging the development of youth exchanges and of exchanges of socio-educational instructors, and encouraging the participation of young people in democratic life in Europe,
– encouraging the development of distance education,
– developing the European dimension in sport, by promoting fairness and openness in sporting competitions and cooperation between bodies responsible for sports, and by protecting the physical and moral integrity of sportsmen and sportswomen, especially the youngest sportsmen and sportswomen

There are references to education in the objectives as well as throughout the Treaty. All told, there are 48 references to 'education' or 'training', versus 22 to 'military'.

Auditor #9 wrote:
The absence of real social meat in the Treaty has triggered a massive reaction to the Treaty from the European left, I imagine, and from socialist thinkers and anyone with the soul to want to see behind the notion of economies run solely by markets. It was cited as article 188C in the radio programmes and in the meetings I went to but when I went to browse for it in the Treaty copy I have (the 'readable' one) then it had somehow morphed into article 207 or something.

Which led me to the thought - to hell with this this is a scam - how can something not only be unreadable but paragraphs get renumbered between 'versions' ...

People will vote with their guts and their guts, I hope, will say No on the day.

I can't help but hope they'll vote with their brains.
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PostSubject: Re: Few questions from a yes voter   Sat Jun 07, 2008 4:34 am

ibis you are very graceful in supplying me with that above which I wasn't aware of because I didn't bother to read the Treaty fully. There's a reason for that which I won't fully hide behind either - even some academics aren't in the habit of savouring documents of this nature, a fact that I believe was another element in supporting a No vote if that's how it'll fall (is there still time for a mood swing?). Can you tell me if there's mention of the bottom line - funding - with regards education because there is overt reference to military budget expansion.

It's not a particular care of my own but I've heard it expressed as a general concern that the European Health system isn't dealt with overtly either... Now shouldn't it be explicitly referred to? My belief is that the public economy should strive to meet most of the needs represented on the lowest rungs of that Maslow hierarchy and let the private economic world have it's play with the rungs above because as you travel up that ladder your world is concerned more and more with smaller groups and then with individualism and the private until you are at the highest level which finally concerns the individual themselves alone. There is a place for the private but it is hardly at those lowest stages in any great shape or form. MASLOW HIERARCHY

There is also the powerful feeling that there is a socialistic loss or at least nothing gained from it. Demogogues there may well be who have influenced many of us but many of us have socialistic hearts in our bodies and perhaps we just viscerally feel that socialism is absent from this Treaty and by extension this Union so there is a backlash..
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PostSubject: Re: Few questions from a yes voter   Sat Jun 07, 2008 11:47 am

I have a very limited knowledge of these things but, in the safe and certain knowledge that Edo and ibis will fill in the yawning gaps, I will say this much.

Quote :
Sovereignity ; Why exactly are we changing the constitution? What is in the treaty that means we have to do this? If we are not changing any balance of powers or sovereignity issues what are we at with the constitution?

We are changing the constitution because under Lisbon our previous sovereignty (or self-determination might be a better word) is alterd by the provisions which would come into place when the treaty is ratified. In other words - and you probably know this already, we make an agreement as clearly set out in the wording below, that no part of the Treaty if ratified can be undermined by our current constitution.

Some would say that the EU rules now supersede the Irish constitution and that is the case but only in the areas in which we grant that permission under the terms of the Treaty.

It's more clearly worded here

Quote :
10° The State may ratify the Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the
Treaty establishing the European Community, signed at Lisbon on the 13th day of December 2007,
and may be a member of the European Union established by virtue of
that Treaty.
(This allows for the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon)
11° No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by
the State that are necessitated by the obligations of membership of the European Union referred to
in subsection 10° of this section, or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the
said European Union or by institutions thereof, or by bodies competent under the treaties referred to
in this section, from having the force of law in the State.
(This is similar to the existing subsection 10° and allows for the provisions of the Treaty of
Lisbon to be put into effect in Ireland)

That is taken from this referendum wording link

In that sense our sovereignty is most definitely affected, though whether that is a good or bad thing depends on whether you believe the EU is better able to deal with certain areas than member states individually are - in which case it's a shared sovereignty - a kind of symbiotic or synergetic agreement. Or whether we are handing over powers and permissions that are rightfully the preserve of the state.

My guiding principle has been the above: is this an issue that is better dealt with on a pan-European, shared basis? Introducing sport and culture to that mix is an unneccesary move to my mind and suggests a different tenor to the Union.
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PostSubject: Re: Few questions from a yes voter   Sat Jun 07, 2008 1:59 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
ibis you are very graceful in supplying me with that above which I wasn't aware of because I didn't bother to read the Treaty fully. There's a reason for that which I won't fully hide behind either - even some academics aren't in the habit of savouring documents of this nature, a fact that I believe was another element in supporting a No vote if that's how it'll fall (is there still time for a mood swing?). Can you tell me if there's mention of the bottom line - funding - with regards education because there is overt reference to military budget expansion.

There isn't a reference to either. The reference to the military is "progressive improvement of military capabilities", in a minor clause, whereas education is "DETERMINED to promote the development of the highest possible level of knowledge for their peoples through a wide access to education and through its continuous updating," in the Treaty objectives.

The "progressive improvement of military capabilities" can be interpreted as budgetary expansion, but that is not the only interpretation. It isn't Willie O'Dea's interpretation:

"Asked about the commitment for EU states to increase their military
capabilities, Mr O'Dea said this meant spending money more smartly
rather than spending more money."

Since it appears in the EDA paragraph, it's likely to be represent a commitment to use the EDA. The main interest of the EU is interoperability. after all.

Auditor #9 wrote:
It's not a particular care of my own but I've heard it expressed as a general concern that the European Health system isn't dealt with overtly either... Now shouldn't it be explicitly referred to? My belief is that the public economy should strive to meet most of the needs represented on the lowest rungs of that Maslow hierarchy and let the private economic world have it's play with the rungs above because as you travel up that ladder your world is concerned more and more with smaller groups and then with individualism and the private until you are at the highest level which finally concerns the individual themselves alone. There is a place for the private but it is hardly at those lowest stages in any great shape or form. MASLOW HIERARCHY

Well, I'd agree, but there's no way in heck the member states are going to.

Auditor #9 wrote:
There is also the powerful feeling that there is a socialistic loss or at least nothing gained from it. Demogogues there may well be who have influenced many of us but many of us have socialistic hearts in our bodies and perhaps we just viscerally feel that socialism is absent from this Treaty and by extension this Union so there is a backlash..

Yeeess. On the other hand, the right wing will be voting on the basis that it is a socialist treaty. I usually take the left and the right being against something as a good sign, I admit.
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PostSubject: Re: Few questions from a yes voter   Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:05 pm

Quote :
There isn't a reference to either. The reference to the military is "progressive improvement of military capabilities", in a minor clause, whereas education is "DETERMINED to promote the development of the highest possible level of knowledge for their peoples through a wide access to education and through its continuous updating," in the Treaty objectives.

That's an interesting interpretation ibis.

Firstly that article 28 is a minor clause. You must be the only one who thinks so because everyone else is busy defending it or finding it offensive. It wouldn't appear to be having a minor impact regardless of its minority status in your eyes.

Secondly I'd be more taken with words other than those which you focus on, and would feel that "progressive improvement" is more concrete in its expectations and requirements than "promote" which is a notoriously woolly verb.

I'd also suggest that progressive improvement will require a little more than simply spending smart but that, as you say, is a matter of interpretation.
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PostSubject: Re: Few questions from a yes voter   Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:10 pm

On the subject of the EU laws "superceding" the COnstitution. First, it's important to realise that they don't. They are immune to it, or indifferent, if you like.

Second, this is the new wording:

Quote :
11° No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State that are necessitated by the obligations of membership of the European Union referred to in subsection 10° of this section, or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the said European Union or by institutions thereof, or by bodies competent under the treaties referred to in this section, from having the force of law in the State.


Glossed as "This is similar to the existing subsection 10° and allows for the provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon to be put into effect in Ireland".

And here's the existing text:

Quote :
10° No provision of this Constitution invalidates laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the State which are necessitated by the obligations of membership of the European Union or of the Communities, or prevents laws enacted, acts done or measures adopted by the European Union or by the Communities or by institutions thereof, or by bodies competent under the Treaties establishing the Communities, from having the force of law in the State.

The texts are identical, apart from the bits highlighted in red. What, exactly, is the fuss about?
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PostSubject: Re: Few questions from a yes voter   Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:23 pm

Kate P wrote:
Quote :
There isn't a reference to either. The reference to the military is "progressive improvement of military capabilities", in a minor clause, whereas education is "DETERMINED to promote the development of the highest possible level of knowledge for their peoples through a wide access to education and through its continuous updating," in the Treaty objectives.

That's an interesting interpretation ibis.

Firstly that article 28 is a minor clause. You must be the only one who thinks so because everyone else is busy defending it or finding it offensive. It wouldn't appear to be having a minor impact regardless of its minority status in your eyes.

Secondly I'd be more taken with words other than those which you focus on, and would feel that "progressive improvement" is more concrete in its expectations and requirements than "promote" which is a notoriously woolly verb.

I'd also suggest that progressive improvement will require a little more than simply spending smart but that, as you say, is a matter of interpretation.

"Progressive" is a word that the EU is very fond of, and is used in the treaties for processes that have gone forward at a snail's pace for 50 years, and sometimes gone backwards. It's been pointed out elsewhere that the only court with a right to interpret what it means is the Irish SUpreme Court, because the ECJ cannot issue rulings on matters with defence implications.

Speaking as a contractor, I would love a contract that committed me to "progressively improve" someone's website, where the interpretation of what constituted 'progressive improvement' was up to me.

I think it's a "minor clause" because it is - 42.3 (2) - whereas the commitment to education is a Treaty objective. There's an enormous difference. It's like a minor manifesto commitment compared to a central policy plank.

Same goes for the much-derided commitment to combat climate change. Making it an objective of the EU means that all EU legislation must be written to further that objective and not work against it - which is making something part of, to continue the analogy above, the guiding ideology of the party, rather than a minor manifesto commitment or even a policy plank.
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PostSubject: Re: Few questions from a yes voter   Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:40 pm

ibis wrote:
Quote :
There isn't a reference to either. The reference to the military is "progressive improvement of military capabilities", in a minor clause, whereas education is "DETERMINED to promote the development of the highest possible level of knowledge for their peoples through a wide access to education and through its continuous updating," in the Treaty objectives.
To me that's a very general and broad statement of Quality Standards and to be expected. There is no reference there to public or private and I believe that sections of the Left would look for overt references there to support for education couched in those terms.

If a Central Bank can be allowed to bail a high street one out, why can't a massive union like this with such resources unequivocally state that this union will undertake that every man, woman and child in it awill get access to the best possible education they choose or need whether private or public. That covers regulators, private and public schools...
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PostSubject: Re: Few questions from a yes voter   Sat Jun 07, 2008 2:55 pm

I wonder are we talking about the same thing, ibis. Reading from my copy of the treaty I see that an Article 28 A shall be inserted, taking over the wording of Article 17, with the follwoing amendments: One of which reads fully (c) 3, paragraph 2

"Member states shall undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities. The Agency in the field of defence capabilities development, reseach aquisition and armaments (hereinafter referred to as the "European Defence Agency") shall identify operational requirements, shall promote measures to satisfy those requirements, shall contribute to identifying and where appropriate, implementing any measure need to strengthen teh industrial and technological base of the defence sector, shall participate in defining a European capabilities and armaments policy and shall assist the Council in evaluating the improvement of military capabilities."

Apologies for typos if any, sun is shining in my eyes.

It would seem to me that those sections of Article 28 are pretty conclusive and far from minor - all those 'shall's are binding and concrete.

Nor am I sure what the role of the Irish Supreme Court is here, with what seems to me to be a definitive handing over of responsibility for decision making in that regard to the EDA. But as always, I'm willing to learn...
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PostSubject: Re: Few questions from a yes voter   Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:06 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
ibis wrote:
Quote :
There isn't a reference to either. The reference to the military is "progressive improvement of military capabilities", in a minor clause, whereas education is "DETERMINED to promote the development of the highest possible level of knowledge for their peoples through a wide access to education and through its continuous updating," in the Treaty objectives.
To me that's a very general and broad statement of Quality Standards and to be expected. There is no reference there to public or private and I believe that sections of the Left would look for overt references there to support for education couched in those terms.

If a Central Bank can be allowed to bail a high street one out, why can't a massive union like this with such resources unequivocally state that this union will undertake that every man, woman and child in it awill get access to the best possible education they choose or need whether private or public. That covers regulators, private and public schools...

Irish Dept Education Budget: €9.3 bn for 4.2 million people

Total EU budget after CAP and structural funds: €37bn for 500 million people

More generally, it isn't in there because it hasn't been agreed by the member states.
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PostSubject: Re: Few questions from a yes voter   Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:22 pm

Kate P wrote:
I wonder are we talking about the same thing, ibis. Reading from my copy of the treaty I see that an Article 28 A shall be inserted, taking over the wording of Article 17, with the follwoing amendments: One of which reads fully (c) 3, paragraph 2

"Member states shall undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities. The Agency in the field of defence capabilities development, reseach aquisition and armaments (hereinafter referred to as the "European Defence Agency") shall identify operational requirements, shall promote measures to satisfy those requirements, shall contribute to identifying and where appropriate, implementing any measure need to strengthen teh industrial and technological base of the defence sector, shall participate in defining a European capabilities and armaments policy and shall assist the Council in evaluating the improvement of military capabilities."

Apologies for typos if any, sun is shining in my eyes.

It would seem to me that those sections of Article 28 are pretty conclusive and far from minor - all those 'shall's are binding and concrete.

Pft - that's how treaties say things. The important bit is not the "shall", but what comes after it. If what comes after it is woolly or vague, the 'shall' is pretty meaningless.

Say people asked me to agree to host an MN party. What is the difference between these two commitments:

1. "Ibis shall provide a venue satisfactory to a majority of MN members at which an MN part can be held, on a date in this calendar year agreed as mutually convenient by a majority of members, and provide quantities and types of food and drink as deemed suitable by a majority of members."

2. "Ibis shall use his best efforts, as determined solely by ibis, to provide for an MN party".

They're both "shall", aren't they? Which one will actually produce a party? If I were pressed, I could pretty much agree to the latter right now...it doesn't commit me to anything really.

Kate P wrote:
Nor am I sure what the role of the Irish Supreme Court is here, with what seems to me to be a definitive handing over of responsibility for decision making in that regard to the EDA. But as always, I'm willing to learn...

Decision-making in which regard? The EDA "shall identify operational requirements", which are the means to carrying out ends. That's not decision-making - it's research.
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PostSubject: Re: Few questions from a yes voter   Sat Jun 07, 2008 3:39 pm

Please don't 'pft' me ibis.

The treaty is a legally binding document and the verb 'shall' is considerably more committed than words like 'may.' The word 'shall' followed by the verbs 'identify,promote, satisfy, contribute, assist, implement...'
It's legally binding and it's a statement of intent. Treaties are not in the habit of tying themselves down to specifics in the way that you, rather disingenuously, suggest.

Your examples are cute but beside the point.

Quote :
shall contribute to identifying and where appropriate, implementing any measure need to strengthen teh industrial and technological base of the defence sector, shall participate in defining a European capabilities and armaments policy and shall assist the Council in evaluating the improvement of military capabilities."


Are you suggesting there won't be decisions to be made in regard to the above? Your earlier post suggests that the only court which has a right to intepret what the word 'progressive' means is the Supreme Court. Where is the role of the supreme court in making decisions on defining the above terms (considering that the article reserves the right of the EDA to define capabilities and armaments policy.)?
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PostSubject: Re: Few questions from a yes voter   Sat Jun 07, 2008 4:16 pm

Kate P wrote:
Please don't 'pft' me ibis.

I beg your pardon - it did occur to me you might consider it rude, but it genuinely isn't intended that way! I am not dismissing you, although I am, I admit, dismissing your argument.

Kate P wrote:
The treaty is a legally binding document and the verb 'shall' is considerably more committed than words like 'may.' The word 'shall' followed by the verbs 'identify,promote, satisfy, contribute, assist, implement...'
It's legally binding and it's a statement of intent. Treaties are not in the habit of tying themselves down to specifics in the way that you, rather disingenuously, suggest.

Your examples are cute but beside the point.

Yes, it is a statement of intent, but the point is that the intent is...what, exactly? As you say, treaties do not tie themselves down to specifics - it's rather unkind of you to suggest that I claim they do, when all I am trying to highlight is that the word "shall" means absolutely nothing if it's attached to a phrase that's merely aspirational.

The idea that this is a commitment to increasing military spending is, not to put too fine a point on it, rubbish. It's not a commitment to do anything other than what it says. It is then up to each individual state to decide what that means.

And all the stuff about what the EDA gets to do is nothing to do with making that decision. It's about "operational requirements" - not the "improvements".

Quote :
shall contribute to identifying and where appropriate, implementing any measure need to strengthen teh industrial and technological base of the defence sector, shall participate in defining a European capabilities and armaments policy and shall assist the Council in evaluating the improvement of military capabilities."


Are you suggesting there won't be decisions to be made in regard to the above? Your earlier post suggests that the only court which has a right to intepret what the word 'progressive' means is the Supreme Court. Where is the role of the supreme court in making decisions on defining the above terms (considering that the article reserves the right of the EDA to define capabilities and armaments policy.)?[/quote]

None whatsoever - but all that is described in the paragraph is the standard workings of a civil service 'decision-support' agency. Something like the OPW would have those roles in respect of its remit, but they're completely different from setting policy.

Since the "pft" has annoyed you, I'll leave off for the moment (handily, since it's cleaning day!).
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PostSubject: Re: Few questions from a yes voter   Sat Jun 07, 2008 4:26 pm

Ibis said -
Quote :
"The "progressive improvement of military capabilities" can be interpreted as budgetary expansion, but that is not the only interpretation. It isn't Willie O'Dea's interpretation:

Asked about the commitment for EU states to increase their military
capabilities, Mr O'Dea said this meant spending money more smartly
rather than spending more money."
I happened to catch Willie O'Dea on RTE Radio talking about this about ten days ago. He said that it was an objective to ensure that EU armies were equipped (with compatible arms/equipment) in a way that allowed them to operate efficiently together. He was clear that that would mean new spending. The reference to value for money was only in the context that he said in buying the new arms due to EU bulk purchase we would get "more bombs for our bucks". There was no suggestion that there would not be an additional spending requirement. It sounded a little naive, but that is definitely what he said.
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PostSubject: Re: Few questions from a yes voter   Sat Jun 07, 2008 5:44 pm

Enda Kenny said today that the European Defence Agency would be a catalyst for reduced military expenditure in the EU. FWIW I do not believe him.
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PostSubject: Re: Few questions from a yes voter   Sat Jun 07, 2008 5:51 pm

Helium Three wrote:
Enda Kenny said today that the European Defence Agency would be a catalyst for reduced military expenditure in the EU. FWIW I do not believe him.

Totally agreed with your comments in the far country about Rodney Rice on the radio. The amount of chances he gave Mickey Marty and Inda to put the ball over the bar and they kicked over the sideline.
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