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  #61  
Old June 16th, 2008, 11:34 pm
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Re: The Lisbon Treaty

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Originally Posted by The5thChampion View Post
You and I know that. But a number of the people who voted against it hadn't read the Constitution, the Treaty, or the Charter. Unfortunately - at least in my opinion.
And that included our Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, and our Commissioner, Charlie McCreevy.
Quote:
I'm for a strong, unified Europe to stand with the US against the rising economic threats of China, India and what is called "emergent countries", political and military threats from elsewhere, and the very real terrorist threats. Not going to go into it now, but you know what I mean.
I think I know what you mean. Personally I'd be more in for a social Europe that didn't just go along with the US.


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  #62  
Old June 16th, 2008, 11:51 pm
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Re: The Lisbon Treaty

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If they can be called services of general economic interest then they are open to competitition rules so as not to distort the market. So private coprorations can come in and decide to make us pay more or decide to move services that the government had previously run to somewhere profitable to them but not to the citizen.
If a public-ran service cannot compete with a private company it is because the consumer continually chooses the private company over the public. Surely this would result in better public services. I submit that these worries are far more propogated by the trade unionists.

As far as Europe goes, I again will point out that Europe does have a function especially I believe in terms of expanding open markets, a force in terms of climate change and also pan-European research into defence, the sciences, technology etc which ultimately in this increasingly globalised world is a good thing.

However, the UK government's constant flip-flopping over the treaty and the way in which they have acted to try and pass it do little but tell me that we need a referendum whereby the government can act as politicians should and actually try and sell the treaty to the public.


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  #63  
Old June 17th, 2008, 7:02 am
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Re: The Lisbon Treaty

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Originally Posted by The5thChampion View Post
... it was easier, faster and cheaper for him to get a Polish plumber to work for him than a French plumber, who would make him wait weeks to repair a leak and charge him twice the going rate in Poland.
Having had to "chase" a French plumber for 6 months before I could get some repairs done in my bathroom, I kind of sympathize. Unfortunately, there is a dearth of Polish plumbers on the French Riviera where I have my apartment.

Seriously, however. In 2005, I campaigned stenuously in favour of the Constitution and voted for it. Unfortunately, we were defeated. One of the reasons I voted for Sarkozy last year and don't regret it despite a few problems in his administration recently is that he managed to go around the "No" and slipped in the Treaty through parliamentary means. I agree with 5th that we need a strong Europe. Not necessarily on the United States' side on every issue, but we do share some of the same values (democracy, human rights) that are lacking in, say, China and a number of Muslim countries. On those issues, we should stand and, if need be, fight together. By "fight", I don't mean necessarily by military means, I should specify.


  #64  
Old June 17th, 2008, 7:22 am
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Re: The Lisbon Treaty

Given a chance I would have voted 'yes' too.
It's not possible to find an ideal solution when 27 different states are involved. If you want any improvement at all, you'll have to do with less than ideal. As I understand it, this treaty would have made it more democratic than what it is today.

And regardless of what name we use for it, I wouldn't resist making European defense less dependent of NATO either.


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  #65  
Old June 17th, 2008, 7:38 am
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Re: The Lisbon Treaty

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alastor View Post
It's not possible to find an ideal solution when 27 different states are involved.
The EU may have grown too big too fast. It's become unwieldy. It was working fine when there were 15 members of more or less equal economic strength (or at least not such wide differences as when a group of former Eastern bloc countries joined all at one go).

I agree about NATO.

ETA: My passport is so old (though still valid), there were only 12 countries in the European Community - as it was called then - when it was issued.

And I'm one of the few people who did read the Constitution before voting on it. I haven't read the Treaty, however.


  #66  
Old June 17th, 2008, 8:34 pm
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Re: The Lisbon Treaty

Quote:
Originally Posted by FleurduJardin View Post
ETA: My passport is so old (though still valid), there were only 12 countries in the European Community - as it was called then - when it was issued.

And I'm one of the few people who did read the Constitution before voting on it. I haven't read the Treaty, however.
I'm not even going to ask how old your passport is

I haven't read the Constitution, but I don't know when that was voted on, I was probably too young to vote at that stage. I tried to read the treaty, but to be honest, I found the wording of it, even in the leaflets the Referendum Commission produced, was very difficult to understand. IMO, I don't think that it's a treaty that they want people to understand, otherwise it would have been a lot easier to read.


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Last edited by mariebeth83; June 17th, 2008 at 8:36 pm. Reason: editing tag
  #67  
Old June 18th, 2008, 2:14 am
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Re: The Lisbon Treaty

If nothing else the result showed that there is a need for a treaty which will stop the EU being held hostage by small states. Especially small states that have done as well out of membership as has Ireland.


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  #68  
Old June 18th, 2008, 6:03 am
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Re: The Lisbon Treaty

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Originally Posted by Wab View Post
If nothing else the result showed that there is a need for a treaty which will stop the EU being held hostage by small states. Especially small states that have done as well out of membership as has Ireland.
Several European papers have been very critical of the Irish vote, arguing that Ireland has indeed done well out of membership and has "turned around and bit the hand that fed it" (this is a quote, not my stated opinion - from an article published in French.)

I'll paraphrase some other articles. The gist is, the Irish "No" has dealt a blow to the construction of Europe. In my opinion, this is a pity. A strong, unified Europe can only be good for the Western democratic world. (This last is my opinion.)


  #69  
Old June 18th, 2008, 6:14 am
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Re: The Lisbon Treaty

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Originally Posted by mariebeth83 View Post
I'm not even going to ask how old your passport is
Actually, not all that old. 2001. I guess the French Consulate in New York had some old blank passports left over, because the EU had 15 members at the time, not 12 - but not yet 25, let alone 27.

The reading of the Constitution was hard going, let me tell you. Except for some rather quirky annexes to do with summer homes in Malta (I'm serious) or some other really minor matter for Europe in general but obviously important to the country concerned. Those I got a kick out of.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The5thChampion View Post
A strong, unified Europe can only be good for the Western democratic world. (This last is my opinion.)
Yes, you said that earlier. And I happen to agree with you.


  #70  
Old June 18th, 2008, 6:53 am
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Re: The Lisbon Treaty

As for when the union got how many members and other history, looky here:
http://europa.eu/abc/history/index_en.htm


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  #71  
Old June 18th, 2008, 4:45 pm
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Re: The Lisbon Treaty

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Originally Posted by Alastor View Post
Given a chance I would have voted 'yes' too.
It's not possible to find an ideal solution when 27 different states are involved. If you want any improvement at all, you'll have to do with less than ideal. As I understand it, this treaty would have made it more democratic than what it is today.

And regardless of what name we use for it, I wouldn't resist making European defense less dependent of NATO either.
But I don’t think the Lisbon Treaty made the Union any more democratic. For example, it made the ECB totally independent of any democratic influence in Article 108 “neither the European Central Bank, nor a national central bank, nor any member of their decision making bodies shall seek or take instructions from the Union institutions, bodies, offices or agencies, from any government of a Member State or from any other body”. By comparison the Bank of Japan is mandated to keep close contact with the government.

The Lisbon Treaty is about making things efficient for EU bureaucrats rather than democratic for its people. Our directly elected MEPs do not get to propose legislation. No transparency is brought to COREPER, the permanent committee of ambassadors and top civil servants. They decide if something is an A-point (sent en-masse to ministers who sign on the dotted line) or a B-point which is discussed. The Journal of Common Market Studies(1998) said that 70% to 90% of all decisions made were a-points. Lisbon gives parliaments eight weeks to examine EU proposals to ensure they don’t breach subsidiary instead of six, big woop.


Quote:
Originally Posted by FleurduJardin View Post
The EU may have grown too big too fast. It's become unwieldy. It was working fine when there were 15 members of more or less equal economic strength (or at least not such wide differences as when a group of former Eastern bloc countries joined all at one go).
I can’t find the quote but there certainly was a report going around that stated that since May 2004 things had been running more smoothly. And even before that there wasn’t equal economic strength: a good portion of the countries were pulling us along.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wab View Post
If nothing else the result showed that there is a need for a treaty which will stop the EU being held hostage by small states. Especially small states that have done as well out of membership as has Ireland.
If it had been a large country that decided to reject the treaty? When France and the Netherlands rejected the constitution the whole thing stopped.

Quote:
Originally Posted by The5thChampion View Post
Several European papers have been very critical of the Irish vote, arguing that Ireland has indeed done well out of membership and has "turned around and bit the hand that fed it" (this is a quote, not my stated opinion - from an article published in French.)

I'll paraphrase some other articles. The gist is, the Irish "No" has dealt a blow to the construction of Europe. In my opinion, this is a pity. A strong, unified Europe can only be good for the Western democratic world. (This last is my opinion.)
I'm going to say again that we didn't vote against the EU. We didn't vote against being closer to our neighbours. We voted agasint the direction of the EU.

A last point, I was watching The Daily Politics on the BBC and your man said that all the trades unions were for the treaty. I mention it because I have seen it mentioned in other places too. That’s incorrect. SIPTU is the biggest union in the country and it refused to endorse the treaty (which noting its pro-government stance since the 90s is a huge thing). UNITE and the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union campaigned against it and if they aren't the 2nd and 3rd biggest unions they are up there in the list.


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Last edited by TheInvisibleF; June 18th, 2008 at 4:47 pm. Reason: messed up quotes and a date
  #72  
Old June 18th, 2008, 5:07 pm
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Re: The Lisbon Treaty

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Originally Posted by TheInvisibleF View Post
But I don’t think the Lisbon Treaty made the Union any more democratic. For example, it made the ECB totally independent of any democratic influence in Article 108 “neither the European Central Bank, nor a national central bank, nor any member of their decision making bodies shall seek or take instructions from the Union institutions, bodies, offices or agencies, from any government of a Member State or from any other body”.
Central banks should be independent so they make decisions based as much as possible on conditions rather than political whim.

Quote:
If it had been a large country that decided to reject the treaty? When France and the Netherlands rejected the constitution the whole thing stopped.
Same thing. Just that in this case it was a small country.

Quote:
I'm going to say again that we didn't vote against the EU. We didn't vote against being closer to our neighbours. We voted agasint the direction of the EU.
The overwhelming opinion I got from vox pops was that many voted no because the treaty was complicated and hard to understand (which is actually a reason to abstain). It was a treaty encompassing 27 nations of course it was complex. All constitutional and international law is.


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  #73  
Old July 2nd, 2008, 4:25 am
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Re: The Lisbon Treaty

France took on the Presidency of the EU today for the next six months, and it's not starting well. Though Polish Parliament has ratified it, and the Polish President had signed it, he's now going back and says he refuses to sign. Plus, one of the Commissioners (the Brit) was unhappy about something and refused to attend the celebration dinner at the Elysée Palace.

Poor Sarkozy and his Foreign Minister have their work cut out for them, with the Irish "No" in the background too!

The only good thing (with no political value whatsoever) is that the Eiffel Tower looks really gorgeous, illuminated all in blue with gold stars, with the circle of 12 stars in the middle.

BTW, I did count the stars - never noticed it before, but unlike the ones on the US flag, the EU doesn't add stars as more members join, it seems. It still stands at 12. I'm wondering whether that's also the reason I only have 12 countries listed on my French/EU passport?


  #74  
Old July 2nd, 2008, 4:51 am
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Re: The Lisbon Treaty

"The number of stars has nothing to do with the number of Member States. There are twelve stars because the number twelve is traditionally the symbol of perfection, completeness and unity. The flag therefore remains unchanged regardless of EU enlargements."

Europa

Plus it means that they don't have to spend money updating flags and stationery.


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  #75  
Old July 2nd, 2008, 5:56 am
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Re: The Lisbon Treaty

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Originally Posted by Wab View Post
Plus it means that they don't have to spend money updating flags and stationery.
Makes sense!

Here are 2 pictures of the Tour Eiffel in European Colors:
Showing the Colors
and
Showing the Stars

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wab
the number twelve is traditionally the symbol of perfection, completeness and unity.
I didn't know that. How come? Why 12? I thought 7 was the magic number... Seven Wonders of the World, Seven Deadly Sins, Seven days in a week, etc.

Anyway, if 12 is perfection, we should have stayed at 12 members. Much easier to handle! (I'm joking)


  #76  
Old July 2nd, 2008, 1:51 pm
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Re: The Lisbon Treaty

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Originally Posted by Wab View Post
The overwhelming opinion I got from vox pops was that many voted no because the treaty was complicated and hard to understand (which is actually a reason to abstain). It was a treaty encompassing 27 nations of course it was complex. All constitutional and international law is.
In the Irish Times poll the weekend before the referendum 30% said they were voting NO becasue "I don't know what I'm voting for/don't understand it". However, they were allowed give more than one reason and the "to keep Ireland's power and identity" got 24%, "to safeguard Ireland's neutrality" got 24% and "don't like being told what to do/forced into boting yes" got 17%. A big feeling going around (which our media ignored so I assume the international media did too) was that it was difficult to understand in the first place and that we were being told not to even bother trying but to just trust what our government told us and take the threats from Europe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FleurduJardin View Post
I didn't know that. How come? Why 12? I thought 7 was the magic number... Seven Wonders of the World, Seven Deadly Sins, Seven days in a week, etc.
12 disciples?


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  #77  
Old August 7th, 2008, 6:12 am
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Re: The Lisbon Treaty

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12 disciples?
That's only for Christians, and what's "perfect" about it? One of them was a traitor.

Fleur, I hope you don't mind, I copied the Tour Eiffel pictures you posted on your AV site and upthread here onto my Photobucket account and reposted them in the "What do you think of France" thread.


  #78  
Old August 7th, 2008, 7:06 am
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Re: The Lisbon Treaty

Considering the main purpose of the union, which was to create such bonds between the European nations that anything like WW II would be impossible in the future, I don't think that leaving it at twelve ever really was an option.

Anyway, venturing back to the topic, I don't think president Zarkosy telling the Irish that they need to vote again has helped in making them to change their minds. On the contrary.


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  #79  
Old August 7th, 2008, 7:33 am
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Re: The Lisbon Treaty

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Considering the main purpose of the union, which was to create such bonds between the European nations that anything like WW II would be impossible in the future, I don't think that leaving it at twelve ever really was an option.
I didn't mean leave it at 12 forever - just not expand as fast as we have. Taking in 10 countries at very different states of economic development at one go was bound to create problems. We could have taken it more slowly.

As to the risk of another world war... It's still there. We still have Russia, China, India, Pakistan, North Korea, Iran, any one of which can go "rogue" at any time. But because of that, I agree with you that we need a strong and unified Europe. Taking it one step at a time, a couple of countries at a time may have been the way to do it. We may have avoided the "Polish plumber" problem if we had.

Quote:
Anyway, venturing back to the topic, I don't think president Zarkosy telling the Irish that they need to vote again has helped in making them to change their minds. On the contrary.
Sarkozy is too much of a "get-things-done-now" guy, he's impatient and impetuous. He's done some very positive things, and did them well, but now he's gone slightly off-track. He wants France's presidency of the EU to leave a good legacy (to coin an overworn phrase), with only 6 months to do so. He's too eager, and he's not going about it diplomatically enough.

He maneuvered around the French "No" to the referendum very adroitly. He may have yet to realize he can't manipulate the Irish the same way.


  #80  
Old August 8th, 2008, 8:13 pm
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Re: The Lisbon Treaty

I fully agree that it could have been made slower. And the 'constitution' should perhaps have been dealt with before 27 too.


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