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 The Lisbon Debate Continues

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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 3:19 am

MikeW wrote:
ibis wrote:
MikeW wrote:
"To go back to the club analogy, it's the difference between saying "I
don't think this should be a gambling club" and "I veto the idea of
lowering the house margin on the craps table"."

And knowing either way that it doesn't matter what they want, even if there is a cast iron agreement that the limit cannot be lowered with them saying so, there is apparently nothing stopping the others saying no, and dropping it anyway.

That is not something that has happened at all, though. At this stage any claim that they are ignoring our "veto" is premature. If you believed that ratification would immediately halt, you were mistaken - our vote was our vote, not anybody else's.

Further, I drew the original distinction for good reason. A disagreement with the aims and purpose of the club is completely different from disagreements on decisions within the club. The latter should raise no question-marks about whether you and the club suit each other - the former does.

Frankly, at this point I would favour a referendum on EU membership.

It would pass easily. BUT it would also stimulate an important conversation about what the EU is. And without wanting to tell other countries what to do, I think all EU countries should decide now what the EU is to be and all decide if they want to be on board.

That would be a large part of the point of such a referendum.

MikeW wrote:
BTW, my comments above are on based on them pushing Lisbon through in some fashion. Though I would hold that the intent is certainly present.

Hmm. The necessity is there, so there is bound to be people calling for it to happen. However, it won't be "Lisbon" legally, because that's dead. That it will almost certainly be something that's nearly identical to Lisbon reflects the fact that the problems haven't changed, and what the member states are prepared to agree to hasn't changed.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 3:41 am

The Treaty was 7 years in the making and they're not going to abandon it by hook or by crook? Has anyone pointed out to anyone else to what it is designed to solve? The QMV is the centrepiece of it isn't it? It effectively gives the entire thing to France, Germany, Italy, England to govern - isn't that the by and large of it? Not that it would be bad if we could be forced to have German-style cycle lanes and their fetish for solar panelling and some French TGVs etc. but the real fear is that it will end up in a mess of bureaucratic laws which will impinge on people's ordinary everyday lives in an intrusive way..

I've a real feeling that it was lost anyway despite all the rumour and innuendo from Tom Dick and Harry - the Government didn't canvass for it properly because they either hadn't the manpower to answer the questions people would be curious about asking or they knew that once they started to explain ...

So what issues is it meant to solve, this Treaty of Lisbon - that can't be addressed by going down other avenues?
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 4:46 am

Auditor #9 wrote:
The Treaty was 7 years in the making and they're not going to abandon it by hook or by crook? Has anyone pointed out to anyone else to what it is designed to solve? The QMV is the centrepiece of it isn't it? It effectively gives the entire thing to France, Germany, Italy, England to govern - isn't that the by and large of it? Not that it would be bad if we could be forced to have German-style cycle lanes and their fetish for solar panelling and some French TGVs etc. but the real fear is that it will end up in a mess of bureaucratic laws which will impinge on people's ordinary everyday lives in an intrusive way..

I've a real feeling that it was lost anyway despite all the rumour and innuendo from Tom Dick and Harry - the Government didn't canvass for it properly because they either hadn't the manpower to answer the questions people would be curious about asking or they knew that once they started to explain ...

So what issues is it meant to solve, this Treaty of Lisbon - that can't be addressed by going down other avenues?

Well, first - any serious analysis of the new QMV system shows nothing like the "hand it to the big countries" cartoon, which has been a feature in every EU referendum. The problem it solves is that legislation is proposed far less often in veto areas, because nobody wants to waste time discussing something that one country can stop outright. Since some of these areas - energy, for example - are now of crucial importance, and by taking on Eastern Europe we have opened up the EU to pressure from Russia, which is a major energy supplier to the EU, those areas need to go to majority voting. Other areas are going to majority voting because nobody feels they need have veto over it.

The trajectory of the EU has been away from vetoes to majority voting all along. Vetoes are appropriate when you don't trust your partners, which the various states, fresh out of fighting each other, most certainly didn't. If you do trust your partners, majority voting is always going to make more sense.

As to the "mess of bureaucratic laws" - the EU largely simplifies regulation - that's a large part of its point. There's a very good post from Edo outlining just how much simpler the EU has made his job - and that simplification is also why we can have multinationals based here for their operations around Europe. What the EU mostly does is issue replacement regulation, not additional regulation. In the fields where it has added to regulations, those additions have mostly been positive - environmental, equality, and social legislation that, amongst other things, dragged Ireland out of being a regulatory subsidiary of the Vatican. EU environmental laws remain the last best hope for Tara, for example.

Further to that point, only about 16-25% of Irish legislation is actually derived from the EU in the first place (I can demonstrate that if requested), so if there is a high regulatory burden on businesses here (which there isn't) it would be largely the Irish government that is responsible.

The other thing that Lisbon sets out to solve, besides bringing certain areas under majority voting, is to address the 'democratic deficit' in the EU. The transfer of all areas apart from defebce and foreign policy into co-decision is, from a historical perspective, an enormously important step. The ability for elected representatives to vote in such a way has been a milestone in the development of all originally non-democratic states towards democracy.

Certainly the government did an appalling job of selling it - not only was it appalling, but completely predictable. This article, from February, rather presciently sets out virtually the entire campaign.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 6:02 am

ibis wrote:
Well, first - any serious analysis of the new QMV system shows nothing like the "hand it to the big countries" cartoon, which has been a feature in every EU referendum. The problem it solves is that legislation is proposed far less often in veto areas, because nobody wants to waste time discussing something that one country can stop outright. Since some of these areas - energy, for example - are now of crucial importance, and by taking on Eastern Europe we have opened up the EU to pressure from Russia, which is a major energy supplier to the EU, those areas need to go to majority voting. Other areas are going to majority voting because nobody feels they need have veto over it.
How would QMV and decisions taken with regards to Eastern European countries affect our energy policies - I'm at a loss to imagine that one. How would it be instrumental in securing energy for Europe in a just and open way?

There's the further complication of the mixing of public/private ideologies in these EU structures too isn't there? and that complicates things massively for people to understand i.e. are we running our energy policies from a public or private bias?

Now, a post like Edo's if you could find it, would be worth plugging as a real life case study - case studies haven't been done either to show the valid impact these changes can have on a day to day basis and involving someone's real-world experience. Of all the things, Law and Commerce should be sorted first or should be easily sorted in terms of structure and I don't know why they weren't worked out first and presented to the people on an ongoing basis but that's for another day.

You highlight it very well in your post about regulation and the updating of legal rules rather than what often happens I'd say - fixing more sellotape onto more blu tack onto more spit which is what could be believed to be what is happening - hence the mess of laws and regulations comment. I'd guess the instinct of a lot of us is to accept the stereotypical fairness and uprightness of German-style rules although from speaking to people around here. I don't think people are too happy with strong rules (rural pubs and drink laws came up recently and how we're getting more and more anal with our laws so much so that social life is disappearing)

The co-decision business I think I understand (It's handy to try to imagine actual bills going through these systems) and it's where the Council of Ministers and the MEPs both decide on a law, directive?, SI, bill or act - if the EU has all these things - they decide or vote together rather than just the council of ministers or MEPs voting... Thus more policies are voted on by democratically-elected people.

It provoked my to think how the EU compares in its structures for delivering laws and (I'm thinking of Russia and energy) bills and directives to the structures employed by the American institutions and by Russia herself.. A study way beyond me even to comprehend but I'm getting some of the lingo of this here anyway thanks to you. Someday there will a Comparative Superpower Bill Delivery Procedures thread.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 9:09 am

Quote :
Further to that point, only about 16-25% of Irish legislation is actually derived from the EU in the first place (I can demonstrate that if requested), so if there is a high regulatory burden on businesses here (which there isn't) it would be largely the Irish government that is responsible.

Could you please, ibis? The figure bandied about - and unchallenged during the campaign was closer to 80 or 90pc. It seemed extraordinarily high. Is it one of those figures like SF's 105 new competences that 'depend on what way you count them?' so to speak?
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:19 am

I must say that I don't quite like the way this is shaping up with regard to elected reps. accepting this decision humbly. They appear, from what little I have seen, to be giving this Nation good reason to drive the stake in further Question .
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:33 am

I'd rather see them humbly accept it than ignore or try to minimise it. But the real test will be how things develop in democracies across Europe. Journalist speaking to Ryan Tubridy now says that the French people are pleased that they've been essentially vindicated in their No to the Constitution and glad that someone has said no when they couldn't. How valuable that analysis is is another question entirely...
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:45 am

Could we be offered Lisbon in parts? If we could at least get the parts about QMV and the reform of the Commission in place first then the functioning of the EU would be improved. The other countres could then decide as a follow up if they are agreeable to activate those parts only.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 12:02 pm

Or could we extract the parts that don't need a constitutional amendment, ratify them by oireachtas, then put the remainder back to us with whatever changes are necessary to help people feel happier about it ?
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 12:31 pm

Kate P wrote:
Quote :
Further to that point, only about 16-25% of Irish legislation is actually derived from the EU in the first place (I can demonstrate that if requested), so if there is a high regulatory burden on businesses here (which there isn't) it would be largely the Irish government that is responsible.

Could you please, ibis? The figure bandied about - and unchallenged during the campaign was closer to 80 or 90pc. It seemed extraordinarily high. Is it one of those figures like SF's 105 new competences that 'depend on what way you count them?' so to speak?

I did these calculations on foot of a request from Worldbystorm, who has posted them elsewhere - and his version is more polished and final.

I've dug into this question a couple of times in the past, and it's
very tricky to answer. I know where the high SF figure probably comes
from, though - a Northern Ireland Assembly briefing paper on the
relevancy of EU law to NI, which says the following:

"It was
approximated in Northern Ireland in 2002 that 80 percent of policies in
the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister’s Programme for
Government and up to 60 percent of all Northern Ireland legislation
concerned the EU."

http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/io/research/2008/2608.pdf

Using
the Irish Statute Book online, and assuming that Acts/Orders that
represent the transposition of EU Directives by Act or Statutory
Instrument have "European Communities" or "European Union":

From 1973: 4200 Acts, 7597 SIs - of which 20 Acts and 1878 SIs state that they are EC.

That probably misses a few out, but it probably also misses out equally on the totals of Acts and SIs.

So, of legislation going through the Oireachtas, I get 16% of Irish legislation since we joined the EU.

The
EU/EC has also produced over the same timespan 7858 Regulations (which
do not require transposition into Irish law) - but an awful lot of
these are not going to be applicable to Ireland (for example:
Commission Regulation (EC) No 1473/2007 of 13 December 2007 on a transitional measure relating to the treatment of the by-products of winemaking provided for in Council Regulation (EC) No 1493/1999 for the 2007/08 wine year in Bulgaria).

Assuming
100% of the Regulations do apply, we get, of "all legislation in force"
in Ireland, (7858+1898) of (7858+4200+7597) = 49.6%, which represents a very high estimate. If we compare
it to the idea that 60% of NI legislation 'concerned the EU' as
suggested above, it seems within parameters.

However, since much of the mass of regulations is actually country-specific, it is more likely that the figure for applicable regulations is lower. A trawl through the reulations on Eur-Lex suggests perhaps a quarter of them apply to Ireland. That would give us a figure of (1964+1898) of (1964+4200+7597) = 28%.

So, insofar as the question is answerable at all, the figures would seem to be 16% of Oireachtas legislation, and an absolute maximum of
legislation applicable in Ireland of 50%, but almost certainly a lower
figure. Colloquially, roughly a quarter to a third of all legislation
applicable in Ireland may perhaps originate from the EU - more in some areas, less in others. That figure is directly comparable with similar UK estimates (refs in WBS's post).

One thing that can safely be said, though, is that the SF claims of 80-90% are hogwash, much like their claim for the value of Irish fisheries (calculations also available!).
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 12:57 pm

You are indeed tireless. Here's some more work for you - there is a thread on p.ie this morning asking how local politics dovetails with the EU -
http://www.politics.ie/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=37189

joemomma has put in a nice quote from a comment on subsidiarity (from the Treaty ?)

"3. Under the principle of subsidiarity, in areas which do not fall within its exclusive competence, the Union shall act only if and insofar as the objectives of the proposed action cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, either at central level or at regional and local level, but can rather, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved at Union level."

Where do I get a list of Competences and which ones are exclusive and otherwise? I think we might have to do a side panel project on this information about the EU and how it works, what do you think? - from Local to Brussels..

What about a series of "Interviews with ibis" or "Lessons with ibis" ? Threads could be "The dialogues of Kate and ibis"; "Audi's World: Questions for ibis" "ibis Plenary" ...
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:09 pm

Something that occurred to me in relation to subsidiarity as defined above:
If a Member State does not through its own actions achieve the objectives of a proposed policy then is it logical for the Commission to conclude that "cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, either at central level or at regional and local level"? i.e., does subsidiarity mean that member states retain control over these areas but only insofar as the member states actually go and implement the policies the EU has decided are appropriate?
That is not autonomy in those areas. That is delegation and supervision. The bulk of the power remains with those who decide what the policy objective is in the first place.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:20 pm

Quote :
but can rather, by reason of the scale or effects of the proposed action, be better achieved at Union level
it sounds like remit over whatever they are talking about reverts to Brussels or whereever.

The trouble with these things is that examples are never given and worked through - some of us can't abstract, sorry - I for one have abstration dyslexia so please would the writers of the abstract insurance-policy-style Treaty not throw in a few concrete examples? Are they talking above about management of local forests, erection of energy systems, cross-national infrastructure, Laws, what ??
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:24 pm

Apologies for copying this in full, but I had it on my hard drive. Although it was written in 2004 I think it provides invaluable context for answering the unanswered question in several posts:
"Where is the EU going"

[quote]The European Paradox: Widening and Deepening in the European Union
The Brookings Institution, U.S.-EUROPE ANALYSIS SERIES, May 2004, May 15, 2004


Pierre Moscovici, former French Minister for European Affairs, recently put it starkly: Europe is in a deplorable state and doing little to right itself. And this paralysis comes precisely at a moment when huge challenges lie ahead: the Constitution, enlargement, the new EU budget, a new Commission and a new EU Parliament. Moscovici called it the unbearable European paradox: “On the one hand, Europe is stalling, is disenchanted even disillusioned. On the other hand, the need for Europe is as powerful as it is unsatisfied.” Pierre Moscovici, “L’Espagne, la France, les vingt-cings ...” Le Figaro, April 14, 2004.

He is right. For years, the European Union has tried to widening and deepen in parallel. But since the Treaty of Maastricht took effect in 1992, the deepening process has stumbled, puttering ahead with the Amsterdam and Nice Treaties, but making little real progress. The widening process, however, is moving ahead briskly. On May 1, 2004, ten new countries joined the EU, completing the Union’s most significant expansion since Europe’s founding fathers pulled together the Europe de Charlemagne of six states in 1957. But this dramatic expansion is not enough. The shock of enlargement has not yet subsided and already new enlargement rounds are being sketched out: the next probably in 2007 bringing in Bulgaria, Rumania and Croatia; one in about 2010 that will try to cope with the Balkans; and another in about 2013 that will tackle the difficult task of Turkey. Meanwhile, the list of countries seeking accession keeps getting longer. Countries like Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova are waiting in the East; Morocco and others in the South. Günther Verheugen recently said in a press conference at the occasion of the presentation of the new neighbourhood policy of the EU that the enlargement would stop after Rumania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Balkans and Turkey; cf. Financial Times, 13th May 2004 and ‘European Neighbourhood Policy. Strategy Paper. Communication from the Commission’, 12th May 2004

The EU will therefore have to work out quickly the tensions between wider enlargement and deeper integration. To put it simply, the enlarged EU has to answer the question of whether it can be a political union after this and subsequent enlargements.

Redistribution vs. Geopolitics

Enlargement of the EU—to include the upcoming rounds—is not just a good thing; it is also a necessity for maintaining stability and prosperity in Europe. Ultimately, however, the EU will have to recognize the trade-off between deeper integration and the realization of its geo-strategic potential. The EU does not yet have a geo-strategic dimension and is not yet an entity that can project power or take on international responsibilities. Further enlargements would bring the EU to the border of some unstable and dangerous regions and, thus, create a need and opportunity for the EU to act as a peaceful and prosperous anchor of stability.

There is a risk, however, of political and financial overstretch in this attempt to export stability. EU policies still essentially consist of agricultural support programs, regional development funds and the implementation of a comprehensive competition policy. An EU that wants to pursue geo-strategic goals and take over global responsibilities can no longer spend some 50% of its budget on agricultural policies and another 30% on regional development funds. The newcomers to the EU have pointed this fact out quite openly. According to the new Lithuanian Commissioner, Dalia Grybauskaité, “[if] in the future we continue with the same proportions giving only one sector, agriculture, half of the budget, the EU will not be able to tackle its needs at all, no matter how much we will put into the budget.” “Interview with Dalia Grybauskaité,” February 9, 2004 available at http://www.euractiv.com/cgi-bin/cgint.exe/1110416-603?714&1015=10&1014=in_grybauskaite. But the scope for the EU to change its focus is sharply limited by such crude realities as constrained budgets, farm lobbies and wary citizens who feel that integration and migration threaten their jobs and their culture.
Nonetheless, for the EU to become a political power, it will need to shift from essentially redistributive policies toward spending on geo-strategic policy goals. To give an example: in a European Union focused mainly on security and geo-strategic issues, Turkish membership would be an unambiguous asset for the EU. However, bringing Turkey into the Union under current conditions into the EU’s system of agricultural supports would cost some 20 billion euros over the period of the next financial framework. Cf. Herman August Winkler: ‘Die Grenzen der Erweiterung. Die Türkei ist keine Teil des ‚Projekts Europa’, in: Internationale Politik, 2/ 2003. In comparison: The accession of the ten countries will cost some 12.5 billion euros from 2004 to 2006, cf. EU Financial Framework, http://europa.eu.int/comm/budget/financialfrwk/index_en.htm. Nobody is ready to pay such a fantastic sum to maintain Turkish pistachio farmers. This means that the EU will need to radically reform its domestic policies before engaging in new enlargement rounds. Turkey can be a member of a geo-strategic EU, but not of the redistributive EU as it exists now.

The systemic problem is how to get from A to B, how to shift the EU from a redistributive to a geo-strategic project. The budget should certainly be adapted to the new and global tasks that the EU will face: the development of military capabilities; the establishment of European border protection and a European migration policy; and the pursuit of the Lisbon agenda for social and economic renewal within the EU. But this would mean that the countries that will join the EU ten years from now will not join the same union—a union whose very basis for financial solidarity among its members.
With this enlargement, the EU is beginning changing its nature. The EU is under pressure to develop its weakest pillar, foreign and security policy, in order to become an actor on the world scene, without being ready for this change domestically. New enlargement rounds will depend on citizens’ votes, since every enlargement will need ratification in all countries and within the European Parliament. The politics of exporting stability will therefore be submitted to electoral constraints. A difficult task, since a huge amount of costs is involved, at a time where the European economy is already shaky.

The Constitution

Adoption of the draft constitutional treaty will help in moving the EU toward a geopolitical role and chances are good that the EU member states will finally approve the constitution at the EU Council meeting in Dublin on June 17, 2004. Specifically, the creation of a European Foreign Minister would help to shape the global role and the geo-strategic dimension of the EU. An elected President of the European Council, as opposed to the current system of rotating leadership by countries, would be able to steer the foreign policy agenda of the EU and to set clear priorities. The constitution will also enable the EU to merge the diplomatic and the development components of its foreign policy; the policy tools and resources of the European Commission would be combined with the decision-making power of the Council of Ministers. This will enable the EU to better coordinate its development assistance with its foreign policy goals, an important first step for engaging in a pro-active geo-strategic policy in the regions adjacent to the enlarged European Union.

Most importantly, the decision making process will be simplified. The double qualified majority—provisionally set at 50% of states and 60% of population—will make reaching decisions a lot easier than the complicated and confusing triple majority stipulations of the Nice Treaty. The triple majority provisions of the Nice Treaty would have a required each measure to obtain a majority of States, a majority of populations and a majority of weighted votes in the Council of Ministers. The only remaining issue is whether the definite figures of the arrangement will be 50/60, or rather 55/55 or 50/63. The recent compromise proposal of the Irish Presidency calls for 55%/55%, but most likely the agreement will be at 50% of states and 63% of population. However, the struggle over the exact numbers mirrors the increasing difficulties between larger and smaller member states. The larger ones want to increase the weight of their population; the smaller, want to maintain the power of the state vote. The enduring fights about the number of Commissioners reflects the same conflict. The federalist ambition to abandon the principle of one commissioner per country has not yet been achieved, and will not be until 2014 at the earliest. Only then, will the number of the commissioners be smaller than the number of member states. In the interim, the Commission will have to manage for 10 years with 25 members and compromises may be hard to find.

The more immediate problem with the constitution, however, is not so much these issues. Rather the problem will come after the likely approval by the member state governments at Dublin when the constitution will need to be ratified by referendums in several countries—most prominently in the United Kingdom, but also in Luxembourg, Denmark, Spain, Ireland, the Netherlands and some of the accession countries. The failure of just one referendum could still endanger the whole constitutional project. British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s decision to hold a referendum in the UK has definitely changed the political landscape. It will be very hard for France to not to have a referendum.

Technically, the constitutional draft is no different from the other intergovernmental treaties such as the Amsterdam or Nice Treaty. But for two years, the rhetoric about the European constitution and the unforeseen engagement of civil society in the drafting process has made people believe that, this time, a huge leap forward in integration is at stake. The political damage to the credibility of the European project if this constitution is not ratified will therefore be much bigger than after the failure of the Nice Treaty. And this precisely at a time when the U.S. preoccupation with Iraq means that a European contribution to world security is all the more critical.

Of course, a ‘no’ in a small state such as Portugal or Luxembourg will have a different meaning than a ‘no’ in Great Britain or France. And France’s traditional role at the center of European integration means that France will matter even more than the UK. But time has come to seriously think about the fall-back options. The constitutional draft does contains a clause for this contingency, providing that, if, after two years, at least 80% of the countries have ratified the constitution, the Council will “advise,” but it offers no specific, or even vague, plan as to how to move forward. French President Jacques Chirac has tabled the idea of a “yes or out” process which would require that the member states either approve the constitution or leave the Union. An option at first glance might be revitalizing the European Economic Area (EEA) as an institutional frame for all those countries that reject the constitutional treaty. In this case—and fearing that the UK could say “no”—the UK could become the “lead” countries of a more muscular EEA. But without any doubt would this be the end of the political project of the European Union – and the Wider Europe Strategy for which an effective, puissant and energetic EU is the anchor. There is no EU in which Turkey is member and not the UK!

Those in the US who permanently fuel the idea of a ‘not-too-strong’ EU should, thus, think twice before embracing such ideas. Only a whole and strong EU would be able to potentially deliver what the US is expecting from it in its own interest in terms of geo-strategy: the stabilization of the grey-zone countries between the EU and Russia, of the Black-Sea and the Caucasian area, as well as of the Greater Middle East.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:25 pm

Continued

The Future of Leadership in the EU

Even after the constitution is settled, the enlarged EU will still confront the issue of the future of European leadership. Everybody agrees that the Franco-German couple can no longer play this role alone. France and Germany retain a capacity to veto progress on integration, given their combined votes in the Council, their populations and the fact that they have two of the biggest European economies. On the other hand, they have already lost—and will probably further loose—their capacity to serve alone as the motor of integration in the enlarged EU. The Iraq crisis demonstrated that the Franco-German couple is not strong enough to dominate the union on questions of foreign policy. Moreover, in their mutual violation of the Stability Pact limits on budget deficits, France and Germany sacrificed much of their authority to lead on issues of European economic policy.

The question is, therefore, who will lead the enlarged union. The quick answer is the concept of the “Big Three,” meaning France, Germany and the United Kingdom, that was begun with the trilateral summit in Berlin in February 2004. It is true, to put it simply and crudely, that there is no credible EU foreign policy if the UK, France and Germany do not agree. Even so, however, the “Big Three” concept may not work. The other three “big” EU members (Poland, Spain and Italy) do not seem ready to accept this kind of leadership. But if the “Big Three” becomes the “Big Four” or “Big Six,” it would be even more damaging to the fragile relationship between the smaller and the larger states within the EU. Leadership of the “larger” against the “smaller” member states simply will not work. For this reason, the chances of creating an institutional framework for a “lead group” of the enlarged union are weak.

Leadership will therefore depend more than ever on the particular policy issues that arise, as well as on a political and geo-strategic vision of the EU in world affairs. Here, France and Germany might again be crucial, for it is doubtful whether they share the same geo-strategic vision of the EU. Germany has basically bought into the American concept of an enlarged Union, including Turkey, as an anchor of stability for the Greater Middle East. See, for example, Joschka Fischer’s speech at the Wehrkunde conference in Munich, February 7, 2004. Germany wants to deliver this outward-oriented Europe to the United States. France, for the time being, does not and may still be caught in nostalgia for the Europe of old, in which its own place was central and the agricultural subsidies were generous. The growing resistance within the French governing party, UMP, against Turkish EU accession, might be a first, visible expression of this, cf. Le Monde, 13 April 2004 The dilemma is that France might be the country that is emotionally the less engaged of all in the historical momentum towards ‘Wider Europe’; but that has a tremendous ‘deadlocking capacity’. One should remember that the ‘Politics of the Empty Chair’ in 1965 was also motivated by agricultural policy.

Regardless, Germany will not engage in a French “core Europe” concept that carries a slight whiff of anti-Americanism and multipolarity about it. In February 2004, Joschka Fischer rejected the idea of a “core Europe” that would sacrifice breadth of membership for greater progress on political integration. Joschka Fischer: ‚Klein-europäische Vorstellungen funktionieren einfach nicht mehr’, Interview Berliner Zeitung, 28 February 2004 In this view, only an enlarged Europe, including Turkey and the Balkans, could reach out to the world, embrace its responsibilities and have influence in critical regions like the Greater Middle East. But fact is also that this will happen either together with France, or not at all. It should not be overlooked, especially in the US, that France is the key country for the geo-strategic outreach of the EU.

Since Fischer’s shift from ‘core-Europe’ to Europe’s new geo-strategy See for more details : Ulrike Guérot/ Andrea Witt : ‘ Europas neue Geostrategie’, in : Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte, B 17/ 2004, p. 6-12, his boss, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, has prominently called for a “multi-speed Europe” in order to keep progress in political integration alive. “Schröder speaks out for multispeed Europe” EUobserver, April 15, 2004. But the concepts are not the same. The “core” concept refers to a fixed subset of countries that would go ahead with deeper integration in all policy fields, working specifically on the assumption that the 12 EU countries that share the euro would want greater political integration. This was the main idea of the famous paper of “core” Europe by Wolfgang Schäuble and Karl Lamers in 1994. “Multi-speed Europe” refers to the idea that a variety of different subsets of countries might engage in closer cooperation in various specific policy areas. The draft Constitutional Treaty opens and enlarges the possibility of the latter, under the rubric of “enhanced cooperation”—although the procedures for implementing that concept remain very complex. The minimum number of countries needed to start “enhanced co-operation” is still “1/2 plus one,” which will mean 13 countries in the enlarged EU. Importantly, enhanced cooperation will now also be allowed in the area of foreign and security policy. This “flexibility clause” could therefore be the key to resolving the deepening-widening paradox of the EU[/quote].

The sooner we drop the big canard that Lisbon is just a housekeeping operation and enter the real world the better. This article provides a clear picture of where Europe is going, and why, in terms of federalism and militarism. We are also getting a taste of where it is going in terms of democracy and equality between nations. My personal No vote came from the point of view that this was where Europe was going, and that, as a citizen of the EU, in so far as I have any influence, this is not where I want it to go.
"Energy Security" as offered up in Lisbon does not seem to entail an integrated European plan for sustainable and self-sufficient energy supply, but a scramble to obtain the military muscle and coherence to engage in the legal and illegal robbery of other countries fossil fuel resources, in competition with China and the US.

A centralised federal state with a top down decision-making structure with only vestiges of electoral democracy about it is not a unpopular project with European populations. The Irish vote as arnaud has pointed out has produced an outpouring of bile and fury from governments and press who are afraid that the Ireland No will prove contagious. The U.K. can't be counted on 100% to row in with France and Germany as the UK electorate would probably vote no given a chance and the Labour Government is unpopular and lagging in the opinion polls. They will want it both ways.

There is a widening gap between governments and people on this. Pushing Lisbon through over the heads of peoples who don't want it is a recipe for catastrophe in terms of instability and the emergence of the extreme right, who are the best organised to take advantage of it. If we don't want the EU to develop as an equivalent of the US, but with much less democracy, then we need to be making cross europe contacts and alliances with other people who feel the same.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 1:30 pm

Zhou_Enlai wrote:
Something that occurred to me in relation to subsidiarity as defined above:
If a Member State does not through its own actions achieve the objectives of a proposed policy then is it logical for the Commission to conclude that "cannot be sufficiently achieved by the Member States, either at central level or at regional and local level"? i.e., does subsidiarity mean that member states retain control over these areas but only insofar as the member states actually go and implement the policies the EU has decided are appropriate?
That is not autonomy in those areas. That is delegation and supervision. The bulk of the power remains with those who decide what the policy objective is in the first place.

What is our opt out/veto under Lisbon if the EU makes a policy that in terms of Open Market requires us to accept bids for energy provision by means of nuclear power?
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:01 pm

From Breaking News . ie
Quote :
EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy says there is no question of Ireland being bullied by the EU into holding a second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.
Speaking in Dublin today, he also dismissed speculation that the other 26 EU member states will ratify the treaty and leave Ireland behind.

Mr McCreevy said it would be an outrage if the other member states did not accept the decision of the Irish people, but he said he believed they would respect the Irish outcome.
He also said he strongly suspected that other EU member states would have rejected the treaty if it was put to a vote.

About time.

Does this makes Brian Cowen look even more of a nelly than he did before.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 2:12 pm

I'd love to know what goes on in McCreevy's head sometimes. He's an interesting character - I read The Boss last year and he featured prominently as a rebel.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 7:06 pm

Auditor #9 wrote:
I'd love to know what goes on in McCreevy's head sometimes. He's an interesting character - I read The Boss last year and he featured prominently as a rebel.

He's a proper old-fashioned democrat.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:32 pm

ibis wrote:
Auditor #9 wrote:
I'd love to know what goes on in McCreevy's head sometimes. He's an interesting character - I read The Boss last year and he featured prominently as a rebel.

He's a proper old-fashioned democrat.

And a proper finance minister as well, unlike the joke he was replaced by.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:13 pm

The "Thank You" thread on P.ie has left me feeling warm, fuzzy and a little bit embarrassed. We really do not seem to be alone in rejecting this Treaty. Allied to this is our existing stock of good will, the understanding of the Austrians, the weakness of the Brits and the uncertainty of the Czechs. Micheál Martin seemed to be largely unruffled after his pow-wow with other EU FMs, so, imo, we'll be alright Jack!
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:40 pm

Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
The "Thank You" thread on P.ie has left me feeling warm, fuzzy and a little bit embarrassed. We really do not seem to be alone in rejecting this Treaty. Allied to this is our existing stock of good will, the understanding of the Austrians, the weakness of the Brits and the uncertainty of the Czechs. Micheál Martin seemed to be largely unruffled after his pow-wow with other EU FMs, so, imo, we'll be alright Jack!

You are a notorious optimist, though!
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:52 pm

Thanks for that long and detailed answer about EU legislation, ibis. It's much appreciated.
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Mon Jun 16, 2008 11:55 pm

ibis wrote:
Ard-Taoiseach wrote:
The "Thank You" thread on P.ie has left me feeling warm, fuzzy and a little bit embarrassed. We really do not seem to be alone in rejecting this Treaty. Allied to this is our existing stock of good will, the understanding of the Austrians, the weakness of the Brits and the uncertainty of the Czechs. Micheál Martin seemed to be largely unruffled after his pow-wow with other EU FMs, so, imo, we'll be alright Jack!

You are a notorious optimist, though!

Notorious, moi?



Lisbon or no Lisbon, the sun'll always rise and we'll always have a loving God, so we are indeed alright, Jack!
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PostSubject: Re: The Lisbon Debate Continues   Tue Jun 17, 2008 12:05 am

Kate P wrote:
Thanks for that long and detailed answer about EU legislation, ibis. It's much appreciated.

Facts...not politics!
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