4 February 2008
Vote NO to the LISBON TREATY
Speaking today at a press conference given by organisations opposed to the Lisbon Treaty, Ailbhe Smyth, Co-Convenor of the People Before Profit Alliance, said that ‘the Irish people are the only citizens who will be allowed to vote on the Lisbon Treaty, so we will be voting on behalf of the other 450 million people in Europe who are denied a vote. While the Alliance is pro-European and believes strongly in the need for a positive alternative for Europe, there are compelling reasons for Voting NO in the Treaty referendum. The Lisbon Treaty is a re-make of the EU Constitution which was rejected by the people of France and Holland. The totally undemocratic way in which a new constitution for Europe is being rammed through is good enough reason to vote No.
People Before Profit Alliance objects to the Treaty on three main grounds:
Neo-Liberalism: The EU is increasingly dominated by large corporations who use its institutions to impose their policies on national governments. For example, the Lisbon Treaty gives constitutional backing to the creation of an ‘open market’ free from ‘distortions’ ‘Distortion’ can mean state intervention to protect the welfare of citizens. The Treaty explicitly forbids any laws that might harmonise standards of health care or access across Europe. It also gives the EU Commission the power to make agreements at the World Trade Organisation and explicitly commits them to seek ‘uniformity in measures of liberalisation’. This is code for more privatisation.
Militarisation: The EU is developing as a military power, involving Ireland, for example, in French dominated colonial adventure in Chad. The Lisbon Treaty copper- fastens these developments. The Treaty gives a legal base to EU ‘battle groups’ which can be deployed within days to fight ‘resource wars’ in Africa or the Middle East. It also gives constitutional support to NATO – a military machine that is controlled by the US Commander in Chief – presently George Bush, and further requires countries to increase their military spending – thus diverting money from pubic services.
Democratic Deficit: The Lisbon Treaty creates the foundation of a Euro super-state, with new powerful positions of President and Foreign Minister, and a new diplomatic service. It gives the bigger EU states more voting power in the EU Council. It gives an unelected EU commission more areas of competency to dictate to individual countries, and does nothing to address the democratic deficit that turned the EU into a lobby paradise for big business.
The claim that the Charter of Fundamental Rights is a compensation for these defects is entirely false. The Charter gives us no extra legal rights than are presently contained in many national constitutions. It neglects to gives us additional rights such as access to divorce without time limits or a woman’s right to choose. It claims to give European citizens a right to privacy but the EU itself has passed a Data Retention directive that allows police force to check everybody’s e mail and internet accounts without seeking a court order.
We should vote NO to the Lisbon Treaty and offer a positive alternative for Europe. .
Contact: Ailbhe Smyth 087 2055 433