Saturday, 21 June 2008

October or bust

Ireland being isolated? Quite the opposite. They're being crowded into a corner. Bullied by force of numbers into having to ask the people again, and this time get the 'right' answer.

With various EU leaders repeating the mantras that the treaty "is alive", that there is "no question of revising the treaty" and also that there's "no question of a two-speed Europe", what other option is being left open to Ireland exactly?

What's going on is transparent, and utterly shameful.

Pressure is on

That pressure is being applied, contrary to claims made not least by our own government, was neatly communicated by Irish PM Brian Cowen, speaking at the press conference that followed the European Council meeting.

"There are colleagues who believe there is not as much room for manouevre as many people would like to suggest that there is," he told journalists, courtesy of EUobserver.

Referring to his fellow EU leaders, he said "I made it clear that however frustrating for them, it is simply too early to know how we are going to move forward on this point."

Frustration? Misleading 'suggestions' about how much room to manouevre Ireland is actually being given? From the horse's mouth we're told
the predictable anti-democratic reality behind the blizzard of benevolent rhetoric we've seen in the last couple of days.

October deadline

According to the official conclusions of the two day meeting, Mr Cowen has been required to report in more detail on the "way forward" at the next European Council meeting in October, with speculation growing of a second referendum as early as November or, more likely, in Spring 2009.

Unless of course, between now and October, the Irish government decides to stand by earlier sentiments about the impossibility of a second vote on the treaty and explain to their EU 'partners' that it simply wouldn't be winnable.

After all, re-running the referendum would be betting the house, with a credibility-busting second 'No' vote likely to have serious implications not just for the EU as we know it today but the Irish government itself.

Between a rock and a hard place, Mr Cowen could choose to side with the people - not just the majority who have already voted 'No' in Ireland, but also the millions across Europe who oppose yet more political integration but have been deliberately denied a say.

Ratification opt-outs

As a country, Ireland wouldn't be alone. The Czech Republic secured a special footnote in the text of the meeting conclusions, referring to how its own ratification depends on the verdict of its constitutional court.

Perhaps more interestingly, according to that EUobserver article, Poland also insisted on a slight change to the text to the effect that Warsaw cannot be included in the group of those who have ratified the treaty.

As we set out in our ratification 'state of play' posting, President Lech Kaczysnki is yet to sign the document, and was thought to be awaiting the outcome of the Irish referendum.

This latest development would indicate that he still isn't about to sign in a hurry.

Let's hope that, come October, Mr Cowen does Europe a favour, decides to face down this gang of anti-democratic bullies, and tells the EU elite their out-dated treaty is truly dead.

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