- Safe Democracy Foundation - http://english.safe-democracy.org -

The European Union: The Coming Crisis

noirlanda.jpgAfter Ireland’s rejection of the Treaty of Lisbon, the EU has two options: to repeat the referendum or to continue with the document’s ratification. If the community directors continue their protests, the Union runs the risk of entering in a crisis of the growing dissatisfaction of citizens, walking into an alley without an exit, the author warns.

(from Madrid) ALMOST ALL THE DATA SUGGEST that the principle authorities of the European Union, as well as most of the presidents of the member countries, have decided to act as if nothing had occurred in Ireland.

“The leaders of the most prominent states of the EU received a recommendation to not point out that the old constitutional treaty and the Treaty of Lisbon were essentially the same thing”When all is said and done, some will say that this is the same thing that happened three years ago when the majority of the French and Dutch were inclined to reject the EU constitutional treaty.

This sentiment exists because the document approved in Lisbon last fall, subject to the approval of the Irish, is nothing more than the old constitutional treaty with a few minor modifications.

Let us not forget, by the way, that a few months ago, the leaders of the most prominent states of the EU received an express recommendation to not point out under any circumstances that the old constitutional treaty and the Treaty of Lisbon were essentially the same thing.

WHY WERE THE IRISH CITIZENS THE ONLY ONES CONSULTED?

In relation to the Irish referendum, the supporters of the Treaty of Lisbon have in recent days reiterated two arguments which in themselves seem indisputable. “Ireland is the only member of the EU that has organized a popular consultation in connection with the Treaty of Lisbon” While the first takes into account the fact that the Irish have not brought together extremely disparate political positions (the same holds true, though, in terms of the last six that have been made in recent months), the second has been to emphasize that a small, rather irrelevant country is appropriate to dictate the path that the EU should follow.

Although these two arguments espouse ideas just as respectable as they are rational, one must see that they forget the main principle: it is known that, somewhat surprisingly, Ireland is the only member of the European Union that, although by constitutional imperative, has organized a popular consultation in connection with the Treaty of Lisbon. “The outcome of the referendum is all the more surprising given that Ireland has been the country whose wellbeing the EU has most improved”

When it comes to asking why other countries have not called referendums, the answer is simple: because the governments of these countries have sufficient grounds to conclude that doing so would most likely not result in the approval of the treaty.

Moreover, the outcome of the referendum held on the 12th is all the more surprising given that, for a few decades, Ireland has been the country whose wellbeing the EU has most improved. If the treaty of Lisbon has sunk in Ireland, what will happen in other countries less benefited by the EU’s ventures?

TWO POSSIBLE ROADS

If I understand correctly, the directors of the EU seem to see only two opportunities to overcome this impasse. “The recent approval of an insupportable extension of the work week has opened the eyes of many Irish citizens” If the first is to pass a forced recall of the Irish referendum (with scandal, uproar, and risks expected), the second, and the most feasible, is to go ahead with the ratification of the text adopted in the Portuguese capital and leave Ireland, for better or for worse, in the lurch.

Although civil European society (if such a thing exists) seems more or less demobilized, or, to a fault, only use their heads when expressly asked something, one might tend to believe that the community leaders are abusing their powers by not consulting the people on issues such as the Treaty of Lisbon.

If they continue doing this, as they probably will, the EU could get itself into a serious crisis that will not have originated, unlike what it might seem, as a result of some celebrated popular referendum in this or that country: on the contrary, it will originate from the growing disaffection of so many citizens who legitimately cheated. In the future, these citizens could very create a UE that is all the more technocratic and bureaucratic, and all the less democratic, in a situation to which there is no real solution.

One thing is for sure: that the recent approval of that insupportable extension of the work week has opened the eyes of many Irish citizens.