- EU Political Union: Be careful what you wish for. EuroIntelligence.com
- The Return of the Ugly German. Joschka Fischer, German Foreign Minister and Vice-Chancellor 1998-2005
- Moving on from the Euro. Kevin H O’Rourke, Professor of Economic History, All Souls College, University of Oxford; Programme Director at Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR).
- Blitzkrieg? Finian Cunningham
- Greece should prepare for Grexit – and then not do it. Economist Charles Wyplosz
- Greece and the European Union: First as Tragedy, Secondly as Farce, Thirdly as Vassal State. Prof. James Petras
Media statement / Wednesday 27 June 2012
“There is no example in history of a lasting monetary union that was not part of one State.” – Otmar Issing, former chief economist German Bundesbank, later governor of the ECB, c.1999
“That in what pertains to the control of credit the constant and predominant aim shall be the welfare of the people as a whole” – Irish Constitution, Article 45, Directive Principles of Social Policy
“A federalised banking union: Europe too has a ready model across the Atlantic … The logic of federalizing this [banking] function is as powerful in Europe as is has always been in the US. ” – Irish Times editorial, 7 June 2012
“The United States or Australia and New Zealand are immigrant societies and therefore they still accommodate more readily those from other backgrounds than we do ourselves, who still nurse a sense of our homogeneity and difference from others. And that’s precisely what the European Union, in my view, should be doing its best to undermine.” – Peter Sutherland, House of Lords Migration Committee, BBC News, 21 June 2012
* * *
We live under a system of finance capitalism in which the interests of peoples and of States are subordinated to those of bankers by the bulk of national politicians.
Politicians in the peripheral countries of the Eurozone shifted the bad debts of insolvent banks on to the shoulders of national taxpayers to prevent those banks going bust and to ensure that the German and French banks which were responsible for most of the improvident lending would get their money back.
They now want to shift control of banks and banking to the supranational level so that the big banks in the big EU countries can more easily gobble up the small banks in the smaller, while simultaneously taking another step on the road to the fiscal and political union the Eurofanatics have been dreaming of for decades.
An EU banking union would deprive national States of the ability to make banking and credit creation serve national developmental goals.
It would make it impossible for the State to insist that Irish banks should subscribe to its State debt.
Having given up the power to issue money by joining the Eurozone, advocates of a banking union in the EU would pass control of credit in Ireland to banks outside the country completely.
Will the rest of the Irish media follow the lead of the Irish Times in supporting this latest lurch towards economic and political catastrophe?
It is par for the course that the career federalists and ex-Trotskyites who form Irish Times editorial policy on Europe should show their anti-national animus by supporting every move to strip the Irish State of all classical State functions.
With the sole exception of the great Douglas Gageby every editor of that paper has shared the national self-contempt which makes them identify with foreign rulers more than with their own people. In the old days it was the British Empire. Today it is the aspiring Eurozone empire. They and those around them can thereby flatter themselves they are superior to the local “Paddies”.
But will the rest of the Irish media and the Irish political class follow the Irish Times further down the road to economic and political catastrophe?(Signed)
Director The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre
24 Crawford Avenue
Tel : 01-8305792
Today – Wednesday, & Tomorrow – Thursday
The Government will seek Dail approval of:
The Article 136 TFEU amendment to the EU Treaties which authorises the setting up of the permanent Eurozone loan fund, the European Stability Mechanism
+ A motion to approve the ESM Treaty which is authorized by this amendment
+ A motion to approve future Government spending on the ESM,
TODAY – WEDNESDAY, AND TOMORROW – THURSDAY.
A guillotined debate on the second reading of the latter Bill will take place TOMORROW.
This means that the whole business of signing up the Irish State to the ESM Treaty for the Eurozone and committing us to significant expenditure to help bail out Spain and other Eurozone countries in the coming period, could go through all stages in the Oireachtas BY THE END OF NEXT WEEK – with minimal debate in the Irish media over the long-term implications of these steps or awareness of what this all means amongst the general public.
The ESM Treaty can be downloaded from the internet – http://www.european-council.europa.eu/media/582311/05-t…2.pdf
The relation of the ESM Treaty to the Article 136 TFEU amendment to the EU Treaties authorizing it and to the Fiscal Treaty which Irish voters voted on last Friday is set out in the publication “A Tale of Two Treaties” by Cork solicitors Joe Noonan and Mary Linehan.
This can be downloaded from the internet at: http://taleoftwotreaties.tumblr.com
The letter below to the Ambassadors in Ireland of those EU States which have not yet ratified or approved the ESM Treaty or the Article 136 TFEU amendment sets out the reasons for regarding the ESM Treaty as it stands as illegal under EU law and in violation of the Irish Constitution.
A reformatted standalone version of this as explanatory text, is available here – http://nationalplatform.org/2012/06/06/4-reasons-the-esm-treaty-is-illegal-2/ – “4 Reasons why the ESM Treaty is illegal”.
If these measures are pushed through the Oireachtas this week and next in the way the Government proposes, the only way this profound illegality and unconstitutionality can be prevented is by President Higgins referring the relevant Bill to the Supreme Court for adjudication or by Deputy Thomas Pringle’s legal team securing a relevant injunction to stop it pending a Court hearing of the issues.
Reasons to believe that the ESM Treaty as it stands is illegal under EU law and therefore unconstitutional in Ireland:
The proposal to ratify the European Stability Mechanism Treaty as it stands and to approve the Article 136 TFEU amendment to the EU Treaties as authorizing the Stability Mechanism envisaged in the ESM Treaty, are unlawful under the EU Treaties and are therefore unconstitutional in Ireland and the other EU Member States.
There are constitutional challenges to the ESM Treaty and the Article 136 TFEU amendment in Germany, in Estonia and in Ireland. In this country independent Dáil Deputy for Donegal Mr. Thomas Pringle has launched a constitutional challenge on these matters which opens in the Irish High Court on 19 June.
Deputy Pringle’s lawyers are seeking a constitutional referendum in Ireland on the ESM Treaty. They are also claiming that the EU Treaties should be amended under a different provision of the Art. 48 TEU treaty revision procedure than that currently used of the ESM Treaty as it stands is to be lawfully ratified under EU law.
Deputy Pringle’s legal action is seeking to defend the principle that the EU is an entity governed by the rule of law in face of a political attempt to change the EU treaties by subterfuge and to open a way to transforming the present EMU into a fiscal-political union for the Eurozone.
While my colleagues and I are not involved in Deputy Pringle’s action, we and many other Irish people share his concerns that the integrity of the existing EU Treaties and the Irish Constitution be upheld in face of the attempt by some Eurozone Governments effectively to take the Eurozone captive for their own ends and to organize the Economic and Monetary Union on quite different principles from heretofore by means of this ESM Treaty. We have respectfully requested several ambassadors therefore, to urge their Governments not to proceed with their country’s ratification of the ESM Treaty or approval of the Article 136 TFEU authorisation, until the Irish Courts have ruled on the issues raised by this constitutional action.
The reasons which lead us to believe that the ESM Treaty as it stands is illegal under EU law and unconstitutional in Ireland are the following:-
1. Article 3 TFEU of the EU Treaties which have been agreed by all 27 EU Member States provides that monetary policy for the countries using the euro is a matter of “exclusive competence” of the EU as a whole.
It is not therefore open to the 17 Member States of the Eurozone to attempt effectively to diminish the competence of the Union and to establish among themselves a Stability Mechanism entailing a €700 billion permanent bailout fund to lend to Eurozone governments as envisaged in the ESM Treaty. This ESM fund, to which Ireland would have to make significant contributions for the indefinite future, would trench profoundly on monetary policy for the euro area.
The Stability Mechanism envisaged in the ESM Treaty is effectively an attempt to find a way round the “no bailouts” provision of Article 125 TFEU, whereby it is forbidden for the EU to take on the debt of Member States or for Member States to take on the debt of other Member States.
It also breaches other EU Treaty articles. The ESM Treaty if ratified as it stands would effectively amount to an attempt to open a legal-political path to what France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy called for last November, namely “A Federation for the Eurozone and a Confederation for the rest of the EU“.
A radical step of this kind, which would transform the Economic and Monetary Union from what it has been up to now, may only lawfully be taken by means of the “ordinary” treaty amendment procedure of Art. 48.2 TEU. It cannot lawfully be done by means of a mere Decision of the European Council of Prime Ministers and Presidents under the “simplified” treaty amendment procedure of Art. 48.6 TEU. The latter procedure is meant to deal with minor technical amendments to the treaties, but is currently being used by the governments of the 17 Eurozone countries in an attempt to alter radically the character of the EMU by ratifying this ESM Treaty as it stands.
2. How can it be lawful for the ESM Treaty to permit a permanent ESM loan fund to be established for the 17 Eurozone countries when the express terms of the Article 136 TFEU amendment, agreed by all 27 EU Governments, authorises a Stability Mechanism only if that is established unanimously by the Eurozone States, as the general provisions of EU law require,
“The Member States whose currency is the euro may establish a stability mechanism to be activated if indispensable to safeguard the stability of the euro area as a whole” (emphasis added).
The Art. 136 amendment to the EU Treaties does not say that “Member States”, meaning some of them, may establish a Stability Mechanism, but rather “The Member States” , namely all of them (In French Les Membres rather than Des Membres).
Yet the ESM Treaty which has been concluded among the 17 provides that the Stability Mechanism it envisages may come into being once States contributing 90% of the capital of the proposed fund have ratified the treaty.
The eight largest Eurozone States, a minority of the 17, can therefore establish this Stability Mechanism, while other Eurozone States that may need assistance from it badly are excluded.
How then can this be a Stability Mechanism “for the euro area as a whole“, as article 136 TFEU, which still has to be constitutionally approved by all 27 EU Member States, requires?
Likewise the so-called Fiscal Treaty – the Treaty on Stability, Coordination and Governance in the EMU – on which Irish voters have just voted and which cross-refers to the ESM Treaty, provides that it can come into force when it is ratified by 12 Eurozone Members.
Does not this treaty also require unanimous ratification by all 17 Eurozone Members before it can be lawfully binding on them under EU law?
3. How can the ESM Treaty be lawfully ratified by July 2012, as is the stated intention of the 17 Eurozone governments concerned, when the Article 136 TFEU amendment to the EU Treaties authorising a Stability Mechanism does not have legal effect, once if has been constitutionally approved by all 27 EU Member States, until 1 January 2013?
Does not this mean that any treaty purporting to establish an ESM before 2013 must be legally void? ESM Treaty No. 1 which was signed by Eurozone Finance Ministers in July 2011 but was never sent round for ratification, conformed to the 2013 time-frame set by the Art. 136 TFEU authorisation, whereas ESM Treaty No. 2 which was signed by EU Ambassadors on 2 February 2012 does not.
This shows again how the exigencies of a political response to the financial crisis by some Eurozone States puts them in breach of EU law and therefore of the Irish Constitution.
4. EU Member States may only sign international treaties that are compatible with EU law. The EU Court of Justice has made clear that intergovernmental agreements cannot affect the allocation of responsibilities defined in the EU Treaties.
The provisions of the ESM Treaty and the Fiscal Treaty which involve the EU Commission and Court of Justice in the implementation of the proposed ESM go well beyond what is permissible under the current EU treaties and are therefore unlawful.
Copies of this article are being released to the Irish and international media for their information regarding the concerns which are widely shared in this country that the proposed ESM Treaty is in violation of EU law and in breach of the Irish Constitution.
Director, National Platform EU Research & Information Centre
First published online @ http://www.indymedia.ie/article/101936
You may find of interest the remarks below of Mr Dick Roche TD when a backbencher in 2001 and before he was promoted to Minister for Europe, regarding the proposal to re-run the Nice referendum.
They provide a piquant contrast to some of his recent statements.
The voter turnout in the 2001 Nice referendum was 35%, in contrast to the majority turnout in the 12 June Lisbon referendum.
“THE IRISH PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN.”
Mr Dick Roche TD on why it would be a “democratic affront” to re-run the Nice Treaty referendum without making changes to the Treaty… spoken when he was a Dail backbencher in 2001 and before he was made Minister for Europe
“It is foolhardy to talk about another referendum at this stage unless something fundamental changes. To attempt to rerun a referendum as a means of reversing the democratic decision taken by the people would be rightly regarded as an affront. Something fundamental will have to be changed in the Nice treaty before we can even contemplate putting it before the people again.”
– Dail Debates, Vol. 358, pp. 1058-1061, 21 June 2001)
Below are some further excerpts from the same Dail speech of Mr Roche, backbencher)
“So far as the Nice Treaty is concerned, the Irish people have spoken and, like it or lump it, the Commission and its President have to accept it. They should do so with more good grace than they have shown in the recent past?
The Nice Treaty, no matter what its good intentions, is a document that has been democratically tested in only one Member State, and that is Ireland. It failed to meet the democratic test in this nation. It is an arrogance for any politician, either here or any Commissioner in Europe, to ignore the fundamental fact that the Irish people have spoken with some clarity on the matter. Yet last night the President of the Commission suggested that somehow or other the Irish people’s will can be undone. If the Commission, its leaders or the Governments of other European states decide to sweep democracy aside, we must ask on what basis is the future of Europe to be built?
Over the past two days I attended a meeting of the interim European Security and Defence Assembly. I was amazed and gratified in equal measure at the response by European parliamentarians from 28 different European nations to the Irish referendum. It was an interesting and extraordinary eye-opener. There was no finger-wagging or suggestion that our people had been wrong or were confused; rather there was a degree of admiration for the decision the Irish had made. Speakers from the United Kingdom to Slovenia to Greece spoke on the issue. They indicated their support for the right of the Irish people to make a decision on this matter. They were by no means all Euro-sceptics. Speakers from a number of countries both within and outside the Union indicated that the Irish people by its vote reflected a common view and concern that now exists both within the EU and in those states most proximate to the EU. Members from the EU states who contributed directly in the debate or who spoke privately to the Irish delegation members indicated that it was their view – I made an effort to do a straw poll – that referenda on the Nice Treaty as it currently stands, if held in other member states, would meet with the same public response as in Ireland.
There is something distinctly odd about democratic states attempting to take decisions that are out of line with the sentiment of their citizens. The gulf that exists between the citizens of Europe and the institutions, the commissioners and the bureaucrats who are now driving the Union, is nowhere more visible than in the area of peace, security and defence. In the run-up to the Nice Treaty the European Council decided, quite incredibly, that somehow the European Union could now take charge of peace, security and defence issues across the continent of Europe both within and outside the Union?
The issues raised by the rejection of the Nice Treaty in the referendum are of a fundamental nature. I have listened with some dismay to today’s debate and the debate that has taken place in the weeks since the referendum. Many in the political leadership of the nation are more focused on making a political point about the referendum than on truly addressing the core issues behind the judgement passed by the people?
It is foolhardy to talk about another referendum at this stage unless something fundamental changes. To attempt to rerun a referendum as a means of reversing the democratic decision taken by the people would be rightly regarded as an affront. Something fundamental will have to be changed in the Nice treaty before we can even contemplate putting it before the people again?
The Nice treaty is a complex document which intends to achieve complex things. It was sold to the Irish people as a means of providing for the enlargement of the European Union. Last night Mr Prodi made it very clear that was not what the treaty is about. He did not, however, make clear precisely what it is about. He was saying, therefore, that the enlargement process could be achieved without the Nice treaty.
I mentioned the assembly I attended yesterday and the considerable interest shown in the decision of the Irish people. Some thought-provoking contributors indicated that the opportunity afforded the Irish people should also be offered to the citizens of other member states. Maybe then Europe would get a clear message about what the people of Europe expect in the coming years.”
– Dick Roche, 2001
The Irish Times
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
EU rule likely to leave a bad taste with bakers
TRADITIONAL bakery exhibitions are at risk of being consigned to history thanks to a new European directive.
New EU regulations have banned the consumption of cakes and confectionary entered at country fairs and agricultural shows immediately after baking competitions.
The chairman of Mayo County Council, Cllr Joe Mellett, said the new rules were the “death knell” for the Irish agricultural show.
“When you see things like this it’s no wonder the people voted No to the Lisbon Treaty. This will be the end of the traditional baking competition at local shows across the country, therefore impacting on local revenue. It’s just ridiculous.”
Under the rules adjudicators of bakery sections in local shows are only permitted to taste the traditional favourites such as apple tarts or cheese cakes. Once the judging is over, the produce must be immediately destroyed. As a result, only bite-sized versions of the cakes will be entered in shows.
The directive has already been made law in Scotland.
Mr Mellett, one of the founding members of his own local agricultural show in Swinford, said he “could not believe” the latest EU directive.
“Honestly, when I saw this first I thought it was something to do with April Fools’ Day. I just couldn’t imagine someone sitting down and coming up with this rule.
“It is a real deterrent to those entering shows. If you thought your prize produce was going to be destroyed immediately after a tiny taste was taken from it, then you would not want to enter a competition.”
He added: “Local people are doing their best to continue on traditions, particularly in places like the west of Ireland, and this is what they are met with.”
© 2008 The Irish Times
* Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Minister Michael Martin give in to Franco-German and EU Commission pressure to permit the remaining Lisbon ratifications to continue, when they could have stopped these by saying that Ireland cannot and will not ratify the Lisbon Treaty, as the Irish people have rejected it.
* The Irish Government lines up with Brussels against the Irish people rather than stands by the people’s democratic decision of last week to defend it vis-a-vis Brussels – so as to bring about a 26/1 situation by year’s end with which to bludgeon Irish voters in a referendum re-run.
* Talk of “respecting” Ireland’s vote turns out in practice to be a cover for setting out to overturn it in a referendum re-run, with Brian Cowen’s, Michael Martin’s and Dick Roche’s full support – and behind a thick barrier of hypocrisy, spoofing and lies.
Friday 20 June 2008
* These are the three principal lies Irish Government Ministers and the EU people are telling to hide their first steps towards preparing this Lisbon referendum re-run:
* LIE NO.1: That the nine EU States that have not yet ratified Lishon have a “right” to do so irrespective of the Irish No. There is no such right under either EU law or customary international law. Brian Cowen could stop any further ratifications by saying to his EU partners that he respects the Irish No, that because of that there is no question of trying to overturn it by re-running the referendum, and that therefore Lisbon is dead because Ireland cannot ratify it and there is no point any other ratifications continuing, for Lisbon cannot come into force unless all 27 ratify it. British Foreign Secretary David Milliband underlined this point last weekend when he said that it depended on Brian Cowen whether Lisbon was alive or dead.
* LIE No. 2: Minister Dick Roche was up to this usual spoofery on “Morning Ireland” today when he attacked Patricia McKenna for saying that the French and Dutch Governments stopped further ratifications of the EU Constitution in 2005 after their peoples voted No in their referendums. Minister Roche said that Luxembourg held a referendum on this Treaty after the French and Dutch No and in his usual gentlemanly fashion accused Ms McKenna of “telling lies”. In fact, as the Minister is well aware, the Luxembourg referendum was held shortly after the French and Dutch referendums but BEFORE the French and Dutch Governments decided they would not re-run them, and therefore that they could not ratify the Constitutional Treaty – which led the remaining EU States, including Ireland, to abandon further ratifications at that time.
Messrs Cowen, Martin and Roche are spoofing like this, with their EU confreres helping them, to try to cover up the fact that the Irish Government is urging the nine remaining EU States to continue with their ratifications so as to bring about a 26/1 situation which can then be used to pressurise the Irish people to turn their No into a Yes in a second Lisbon referendum.
It is Messrs Cowen, Martin and Roche who are failing to “respect” the Irish people’s No vote by effectively telling the other EU States not to respect it either, but to continue with their ratifications. Why should the other EU States respect last Thursday’s referendum result when the Irish Government does not respect it, but sets out rather to subvert it, as they decided to do even while the voting tallies were being counted on Friday morning last?
Remember Foreign Minister Martin saying at luncthtime on the day of the count that “of course” the remaining ratifications would continue. Remember Commission President Barroso’s at his press conference held before the count was even finished, following a phone chat with Taoiseach Cowen, saying the same thing.
If Messrs Cowen, Martin and Roche had a scintilla of the political courage and statesmanship of the founder of their Party, they would be telling their EU counterparts that they had no alternative but to open up Lisbon and work out a better Treaty for Ireland, for Europe and for a more democratic EU, instead of the supranational EU Federation, with laws made on a population basis, which is what is on offer in Lisbon.
* LIE NO.3: That the other EU States can go ahead with the Lisbon Treaty provisions under the rules for “enhanced cooperation”. The barrack-room lawyers of the Irish media are speaking here. It is the enhanced cooperation rules of the EU Treaties as amended by the Nice Treaty that currently apply. It is nonsense to suggest that the enhanced cooperation provisions of one Treaty, viz. Nice, can be used to bring into force the far wider provisions of another Treaty, viz. Lisbon.
* NB: The number of EU Commissioners must be decided unanimously.
Under the current Nice Treaty(Protocol on the enlargement of the EU, Article 4), a reduction in the number of Commissioners to fewer than the number of Member States must be decided unanimously in 2009. Under the Lisbon Treaty(Article 17.5 TEU) the number of Commissioners must be reduced by two-thirds from 2014, “unless the European Council, acting unanimously, decides to alter this number.”
At their next summit meeting in October or December the European Council of Prime Ministers and Presidents will make a “European decision” that when it comes to allocating EU Commissioners in 2014 in the post-Lisbon EU, Ireland and all Member States will be permitted to retain a permanent Commissioner, although in practice there may be senior and junior Commissioners. Because both the Nice and Lisbon Treaties lay down that arrangements for the Commission require unanimity, a commitment on these lines can be given without opening Lisbon.
Taoiseach Cowen will present this as a triumph for Irish diplomacy, while his EU colleagues will smile cynically to themselves. Then various Declarations will be given – to meet Irish concerns on company taxation, human rights, neutrality etc. – which will be tagged on to the Lisbon Treaty, but wll not alter a jot or tittle of its contents.
What threats or implicit threats will be needed to go with these promises? The most obvious one is that Irish voters will be told, as they were not told over the past months – that the Lisbon Treaty aims to establish a constitutionally new Federal Union and that the Irish must decide whether they want to be members of this or not, or do they want to keep the present EU as it stands under the Nice Treaty rules.
The other Member States still cannot ratify Lisbon and establish this new Union without Ireland’s agreement. But the hope will be that this mix of promises and implicit threats will suffice to overturn the Irish people’s No in Lisbon One and turn it into a Yes in Lisbon Two.
A peaceable democratic popular revolt in Ireland and across the EU is needed to prevent this happening and to prevent the anti-democratic Lisbon Treaty-cum EU-Constitution being clamped on most of the peoples of our continent.
– Anthony Coughlan