The rejoicing from eurosceptics after the Ireland vote is being met with some more considered noises emanating from the europhile fraternity. Lisbon in its current form will not be implemented, they all say. Democracy must be respected and so on.
But the way that democracy will be respected is as follows. Plan B is that Lisbon will be amended, so that ratifying countries can proceed to full European status as envisaged in the Lisbon Treaty, and be ruled by the Council Of Ministers in Brussels, its President and other key appointees, but the requirement for all 26 countries to ratify the Treaty for it to have legal force will be dropped.
Then all countries that don’t ratify the amended Lisbon Treaty in reasonable time (no doubt all the terms of the amended Treaty are already written ) will be presented with a fait accompli. They will be placed into a 2nd tier of non-ratifying countries with reduced privileges.
When the EU say that there is no Plan B, what they were implying and are now making explicit is that non-ratifying countries would be not be considered as EU members, and their new status and relation to the EU will be subject to long, difficult and humiliating negotiations.
In other words, the EU will hold up a red card to each and every country that doesn’t ratify in time, and send them off the pitch. There will no doubt be a definite case made of Ireland. The Irish will be used to show others what will happen to them were they to be so foolish as to repeat or emulate this overly democratic behaviour. It will be case of ‘Ireland, you’re off! – now try and get back on the pitch if you can.’
A good piece that explains the kind of thinking going on in Brussels comes from Ralph Grahn, the Helsinki lawyer who writes the pro-EU blog ‘Grahnlaw’. He posted as follows –
The circumstances surrounding the Lisbon Treaty have changed as a result of the Irish rejection. This means that the ratifying states have to take a new position on the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon.
While the ratifying member states should respect the outcome in Ireland, they are entitled to the same amount of respect for their own aspirations to bring an almost decade long reform cycle to a conclusion.
This means that the Lisbon Treaty, initially requiring ratification by all member states, has to be adjusted to the changed circumstances. The main requirement is that the treaty has to enter into force between the ratifying states. Additionally a number of technical adaptations are needed, without altering the substance of the treaty.
The shift from the present European Union to the new one may call for the re-establishment of the EU, leaving the relationship with the relative outsider(s) to be determined separately.
Full article HERE.
The EU knows that ratification amongst some of the 8 countries yet to complete is not going to be easy. It does not only have a problem with Ireland as the PR has tended to suggest, but a number of others too.
To the list of four countries that are already having difficulty ratifying Lisbon – Ireland, Czech Republic, Germany and Italy (see my earlier post Four Countries Not Ratifying Lisbon) – should be added Sweden. Sweden has submitted the Lisbon Treaty for analysis by a Constitutional body to see if Lisbon is compatible with the Swedish Constitution. It has yet to reply, so, a bit like in Germany, the process is locked up in Constitutional considerations which cannot be rushed or passed over lightly. From grahnlaw –
‘Lagrådsremiss – Lissabonfördraget’ is the Swedish government’s draft ratification bill, published 29 May 2008, and sent to the Council on Legislation (Lagrådet), an expert body mandated to scrutinise the compatibility of proposals with the Constitution and other acts as well as the legal consistency of planned government bills.
For the countries that don’t ratify Lisbon, a long journey of humiliation is being planned to put maximum pressure on them to comply and for each one to overcome its own Constitutional hurdles and become ‘proper’ EU members. In fact, as this next piece shows, the non-ratifiers will not be called members of the EU at all, as envisaged by Grahn and his buddies.
He explains –
If this is the way forward for Europe, it leaves the question of the state or states staying outside the new European Union. Here it would be best to wait to see what they propose. If these suggestions are reasonable, like participation in the European Economic Area (EEA) and possibly some other policy fields, these matters could be negotiated in a constructive atmosphere.
That’s lawyers language. In bog Irish, it means two simple words – ‘you’re fired’.
As for the Irish, it might just suit them, as this columnist from The Irish Times seems to think – LINK.
(Picture from Italy versus Korea)