Ireland said YES!

, by Roberta Carbone

All the versions of this article: [English] [italiano]

Ireland said YES!

After the disastrous response of the Irish referendum of June 2008, when the Irish people rejected the Treaty of Lisbon by a margin of 53.4% to 46.6%, finally the Treaty has been ratified also by them with the referendum of Friday 2 October 2009. The affluence has been almost the same as in 2008, but the results changed consistently: the pro-Lisbon forces have triumphed by a margin of 67.1 to 32.9 per cent.

The pro-Lisbon forces can’t rest on their laurels though, as two Member States have not yet completely ratified the Treaty: President Kaczynski of Poland and President Klaus of Czech Republic have not yet signed the Treaty, even though their Parliaments have accepted it long ago. There should be no problem concerning Poland, as President Kaczynski assured his signature as soon as Ireland would have ratified the Treaty, but it is not the same for President Vaclav Klaus, notoriously Eurosceptic and firmly opposing to the Treaty of Lisbon, who still refuses to sign it. Certainly there will be more pressures from Brussels now that the biggest problem has gone.

President Kaczynski of Poland and President Klaus of Czech Republic have not yet signed the Treaty.

The reason why the Irish people switched from No to Yes in the two referendums is that they were influenced by the near-collapse of Ireland’s financial system over the past year and the ensuing economic slump. Ireland’s banking system has survived thanks almost entirely to emergency funds provided by the European Central Bank.

As regards the fundamental contents of the Lisbon Treaty, it could be said that it sums up the several treaties on which the European Union is based, particularly it amends the Treaty of Maastricht (1992) and the Treaty of Rome (1957) and includes the Charter of Fundamental Rights. Concerning the Institutions, it finally establishes a permanent President of the European Council, in charge 2.5 years, and a High Representative for Foreign Affairs; moreover it extends the co-decision between the Council and the Parliament and the qualified majority voting (QMV), instead of unanimity, becomes the general rule in the Council, permitting to abbreviate the decisional processes.

As the Treaty will be finally ratified by all the 27 member States, it will be up to the European Leaders to decide if they will let the European Union become more important at an international level and more efficient institutionally, or if they will let it be overwhelmed by all the internal contradictions.

Image: Yes posters in Dublin, source: www.flickr.com

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