In news reports coming out of Ireland about Sarkozy’s one day visit there on Monday this week,you might be forgiven for imagining that ‘Irish democracy will be respected’, and that the Irish rejection of the Lisbon Treaty will be accepted. The Irish Times for example leads with a large headline ‘Sarkozy Accepts There Is No Quick Fix To Lisbon Crisis’. The problem is, according to the EU that, while Ireland’s democratic decision must be ‘respected’, the democratic decisions of the other 26 countries that currently make up the EU must also be ‘respected’.
Just as to how democratic the ratifications of the Lisbon Treaty are in the other 26 countries is a moot point. A majority in most countries wanted a referendum, but were denied one. In Britain a referendum was promised at the time of the elections which gave Labour five more years in power, but was not given once Lisbon was signed. It is a strange form of democracy that Sarkozy and others want to claim for their Lisbon Treaty – in truth a denial of democracy.
Sarkozy also claims that Italy is on the point of ratifying the Treaty in August, as the Northern League which demanded a referendum has dropped its objections. There are now only two countries left, he says which have yet to ratify according to Sarkozy. Presumably he means the Czech Republic and Germany, which are rightly pointing out that until Ireland reverses its rejection of the Treaty, it is not able to acquire legal force and be implemented.
In such cirumstances the Treaty-ramming and denial of democracy is unlikely to halt, and Ireland’s voters are likely to be ignored in one way or another. The only question is how will the EU attempt to unravel the situation in Ireland and how the EU will ignore the voters, not whether.
Yesterday gave the latest expression of the EU’s intentions. In today’s Irish Times, can be found the following paragraph –
Although the Government is now keen to postpone a resolution until after the European Parliament elections next June, Mr Sarkozy proposed during private talks that a second poll should be held on the same day. Under the Sarkozy plan, which was made to Irish surprise, the strategy would be announced at the EU summit next December in Brussels.
One of the key dilemmas created by the Irish vote is whether the next Euro elections will be based on the Nice Treaty or the Lisbon Treaty, as regards numbers of MEPs. By holding the Irish referendum number 2 on the same day, the EU will no doubt say that the Irish will, of course be reversing their earlier rejection of the Treaty, and the EU will proceed with the new Lisbon Treaty version of the elections, on the basis of that assumption.
In other words, not only will the Irish be required to vote again under instruction from the EU. Their earlier vote is already being ignored. As Sarkozy says, there cannot be a ‘quick fix’, but he certainly will be attempting a slow one.
(PICTURE – Sarkozy chums it up with The Taoiseach. The ‘boys’ in the club know that Irish voters are going to be ignored, and judging by their huge grins, they expect to get away with it, and live to enjoy the pay-off.)
UPDATE – I’ve checked the BBC website The Times and The Telegraph (UK) and there is not even a mention of Sarkozy’s attempts at stitching up the Irish. Very odd indeed. Are there any reports in the UK on this? Or is there a compulsory media blanket imposed on this by orders from on high?
REPORT FROM OPEN EUROPE – (you have to read between the lines)
Sarkozy denies “meddling” in Ireland but suggests second referendum be held on same day as EP elections;
Irish government confirms it is considering a second referendum in March
IN FACT – Cowen is pretending he’s maintaining an independent position, one which could easily slide backwards to coincide with Sarkozy’s request come March – delaying it to July -but conceniently wearing out opposition, wasting its fire on a March referenduym which will be pulled.
Following a meeting with Irish Taoiseach Brian Cowen in Dublin yesterday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy denied that he had last week suggested the Irish should be made to vote again on the Lisbon Treaty. He said: “I never said Ireland had to organise a new referendum. I said that at some stage or another the Irish had to be given the opportunity to give their opinion, they had to give their opinion. I never said there had to be a referendum. I didn’t say on what question there would be a vote. I did not, in any way, meddle in Irish domestic affairs.”
MMMMMMMMMMM – Outright lie.
However he then went on to say, “Coming to Ireland would be to meddle, not to come would be indifference. What would you prefer, meddling or indifference? To come here shows the spirit of friendship.” Sarkozy told the Taoiseach: “I’m trying to help you. You’re better off making a deal with me, because afterwards you’ll get the Czechs [EU presidency], and that won’t be easy.”
TRANSLATES – Arbeit macht frei.
A joint statement issued by the leaders said Sarkozy respected the result of the Irish referendum but he was committed to the Treaty and that the ratification process was continuing in other member states. The Irish Times quotes Cowen saying, “The Irish Government for its part has made no decision in relation to a second referendum because the Irish Government have just begun a process of reflection, a process of assessment which is necessary now in the aftermath of the vote.” However, Irish government officials told the Guardian that Dublin is considering going back to the electorate, possibly in March, for a second referendum.
WHICH MEANS – A period of reflection, for which the answer has already been decided, in accordance with instructions from the EU.
The Irish Times however reports that “Although the Government is now keen to postpone a resolution until after the European Parliament elections next June, Mr Sarkozy proposed during private talks that a second poll should be held on the same day. Under the Sarkozy plan, which was made to Irish surprise, the strategy would be announced at the EU summit next December in Brussels.” Under the plan, each EU state would be guaranteed a European Commissioner, while Ireland would also get declarations on issues perceived to be concerning Irish voters.
MEANING? – Sarkozy: We’ll pretend not to want all the things we want for short period in the hope that we can fool the Irish into voting YES. By holding the referendum on the same day as the Euro-elections, we can avoid the issue of how many MPs we whould be electing. It will be the Lisbon version, naturellement. The Irish NO will be ignored.
Despite this, the paper reports that “The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Micheál Martin, dismissed suggestions that Mr Sarkozy wanted a second referendum or was exerting political pressure on Ireland. ‘I don’t think he was looking for solutions by October,’ he said.
The Coulisses de Bruxelles blog notes, “Ireland will vote again, but it’s a secret.” It quotes Sarkozy saying, “We don’t have a miracle solution and above all we don’t want to impose one, we want the Irish people to feel respected in their choice, but we must equally take account of the fact that with Italy soon, it will be 24 countries that have ratified the Lisbon Treaty.” The blog notes, “Decoded, that means we are not telling you to vote again, but we don’t see how you could do otherwise.”
SUMMARY – Sarkozy doesn’t believe the Irish will take their EU membership to the brink. So he’s upping the anti. He feels he can put maximum pressure on the Irish, and they will eventually buckle to the will of the EU.
The Irish Times reports that Sarkozy confirmed he would meet the Taoiseach again in Paris in September, before the EU summit the following month. He also reiterated his claim that there could be no future enlargement of the EU without the Lisbon Treaty. He said: “For there to be any further enlargement we must have moved to Lisbon. It’s either Nice or Lisbon.”
This is simply untrue – and is just a ploy to build moral pressure.
The FT notes that Sarkozy took part in a round-table discussion with leading proponents of the Yes and No camps, and quotes leading no campaigner Declan Ganley saying, “If there was a chink of light it was that he left himself with enough wiggle room to pronounce Lisbon dead in the future if he cannot revive it.”
WHAT’S THIS? – Sarkozy only met the NO cmapigners to pretend that he would possibly comply with their wishes at some point. He won’t.
The Irish Times reports that Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and Labour’s Eamon Gilmore have warned that a second referendum cannot be held before next June. Gilmore said: “I put it bluntly that a second referendum is being floated. A second referendum, if it were put this minute, I know it would be defeated again. There is not a great deal of point in that.”
VERY CLEVER. Let’s pretend we are delaying the Irish second referndum to June as part of strategy to win it. In fact it is a strategy to bypass the first vote and ignore the second, assuming it is also a NO. By June 2009, Lisbon will be fully implemented, so any Irish vote will only be a vote for Irish isolation. Lisbon will be secure, and a ratification could be subsequently obtained from the Irish Parliament against the wishes of the Irish people, as happened in Britain.
Former Green Party MEP Patricia McKenna said following the meeting: “We went through the motions. He is not getting the message. He wants the Irish people to put this treaty through by a referendum or by whatever means necessary.”
Spot on, Patricia.
The Irish Times reports that when Sarkozy and Cowen finally joined waiting ambassadors, ministers and advisers in the dining room following their one-on-one talks, a dispute broke out between the French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, and the President. Dr Kouchner was saying to the Irish side: “We understand, we’re listening. . .” when Mr Sarkozy broke in: “There are no journalists around, Bernard. You can be tough.”
Sarkozy has at least two faces, it seems.
According to the paper, Kouchner, chastened by his pre-referendum experience (when he said the Irish would be the first victims of a No vote) told the paper that the visit was “a success because we are listening a lot and talking little”. Sarkozy was nonetheless estimated to have talked at least two-thirds of the time.
‘We’re going to ignore you’ doesn’t require a lot of explanation.
According to the Guardian, Sarkozy was met with cries of “No means No” from hundreds of protesters including groups such as the Campaign Against the EU Constitution. According to the Telegraph, over two thousand demonstrators gathered outside the government offices where the talks were held.
Put 2,000,000 demonstraters in place. They would be ignored also. They’re only dumb Irish after all.
Picture – Sarkozy with ‘Biffo’, Taoiseach Cowen.
Read Sinn Fein’s statement referring to the Sarkozy visit to Dublin HERE,