Pass the parcel

UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband provided indication today of the emerging EU strategy for dealing with the Irish No to Lisbon: it’s being left up to the Irish government to sort it out, but with a reminder of the high stakes should they choose to accept the referendum result.  Or, as Miliband colourfully put it

If you like he’s [Irish PM Brian Cowen] got to decide whether or not to apply the last rites. We’ve got to listen to his analysis of what went wrong

Yet Miliband also insisted that UK parliamentary ratification would go ahead next week, which will be hard to defend from Tory attacks that it reflects a presumption that the Irish will be talked out of their rejection, since otherwise ratification is pointless.   One wheeze floated in yesterday’s Telegraph (see also) is that Ireland would be left on the sidelines as the other 26 agreed to implement Lisbon on their own, with the Irish catch-up taking place by attaching the Lisbon provisions to an Irish parliamentary ratification of Croatia’s EU accession, whenever that happens.   But the fact that such schemes are out there is just one indication that the ministers don’t yet really have a well-laid out plan for how to proceed.

7 thoughts on “Pass the parcel

  1. “with the Irish catch-up taking place by attaching the Lisbon provisions to an Irish parliamentary ratification of Croatia’s EU accession”

    It would be a really bad decision to ratify the Lisbon Treaty by parliamentary vote after it has been rejected by referendum. A new status will have to be found for Irleand (if the British really intend to move on with the signing).

  2. By now we know that there will be two groups: one consisting of ratifying states, the other with Ireland and possibly a few others.

    Because of the changed circumstances, a new European Union could be established among the willing states.

    Initially it would have to be based on the substance of the Lisbon Treaty, with needed adjustments.

    The second group will have to come up with suggestion on their future EU relations, to be negotiated with the new union.

  3. The EU Con-stitution is kaput. It is finished.

    From today’s Sunday Times:

    “Gordon Brown is privately ready to sacrifice the Lisbon treaty rather than allow the Irish no vote to create a two-tier Europe.

    Despite the Irish referendum, France, Germany and senior Brussels officials have insisted there should be no delay in implementing the European Union blueprint.

    But No 10 sources say the prime minister would rather see the entire constitutional treaty collapse than allow individual member states to be left trailing in a two-speed Europe.

    A Downing Street source said: “The legal position on this is very clear: the treaty cannot come into force until all 27 countries have ratified it.” One senior government official said anyone who thought the Irish vote could be ignored was “living in cloud-cuckoo-land”.

    No one wants to come out publicly now and say ‘the treaty is dead’,” said a Whitehall official. “But by the end of the week, after the Brussels summit, that could well be the case.”

    And Czech President Klaus-a man Czechs would run through concrete walls for if asked-has declared the EU Constitution (Lisbon Treaty) dead as well.

    It is over, gentlemen. A federal Europe will now never happen.


  4. Eriks,

    President Klaus has always been a vocal nationalist, but we know less about the government and parliament positions.

    We have contradicting information about Gordon Brown’s intentions: that he will continue the ratification process or that he is thinking about scrapping the Lisbon Treaty.

    Perhaps a little more of reliable information would be called for before you rejoice.

    In these new and changed circumstances a new pact is called for, based on the willing countries and initially the substance of the Lisbon Treaty.

  5. Vie gehts Ralf

    “The foreign secretary, David Miliband, came close to declaring the EU Lisbon treaty dead yesterday as he urged European leaders to turn their back on “institutional reform” and instead address issues of concern to ordinary citizens.

    He ruled out the idea, being floated in France and Germany, of allowing the treaty to be implemented in 26 EU member states, with Ireland – whose referendum rejected the treaty – somehow opting out. “I don’t think a two-speed Europe is on. It was a 1990s agenda, not a 21st century agenda,” Miliband said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. He also insisted: “The rules are absolutely clear. If all 27 countries do not pass the Lisbon treaty, it does not pass into law.”

    Howzat for further clarification?

    As for “needing a new pact”…Says who? You?

    You actually believed the eurocrats when they lied to us all with their pathetic claim that +/- ‘the EU needs a new set of rules to run by due to enlargement’??

    Even though legislation has continued coming out of the Brussels Politburo and the Berlaymont building in prodigious quantities? The EU’s institutions run perfectly well under Nice; so the EU’s “elite” have lied about that all along. They lie A LOT, Ralf. Get it? The Irish certainly do, as did the Dutch and the French…

    The nightmare of a federalist euro superstate died Friday the 14th of June, 2008.

    Now let’s just stick to what is acceptable to the overwhelming majority of Europeans: the right to live and work anywhere within the EU for a citizen of any EU member state, and of course solidifying a truly free common market.

    In the generations to come, if the citizens of Europe’s countries want an EU to take on a little bit more responsibilities, well then let’s look at that when-and if-that time comes. Clearly that time is not now.

  6. I rather doubt that sneaking the provisions through would survive a Supreme Court challenge here. The Irish government didn’t hold a referendum for the fun of it, but because it was obliged to.

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