Ireland votes NO to Lisbon Treaty

From the FT

The Irish No strikes a blow at these ambitions because no EU treaty can come into effect unless all 27 member states ratify it. In theory, the 862,415 Irish voters who rejected Lisbon – less than 0.2 per cent of the EU’s 497m population – have stopped Europe dead in its tracks.

0.2 per cent stops the treaty? How is this a "democracy?". I call this an incomprehensible dictatorship of the random!!!! How the hell is this supposed to work?


Bill Pyne said…

From a European's standpoint, was ratification of this treaty desirable? Essentially it gives the European Commission greater authority to make decisions in certain areas.

My understanding is that the Irish were the only country to hold a ballot question for people to vote on.

Do you see it being put back up to the Irish? Only 50% of their voting population turned out and it wasn't exactly a landslide victory for opponents of the treaty.
oogifu said…
My main issue with votes over treaties like that is that people do not know what they are voting for or against. Even the Irish Prime Minister said he did not read the treaty (Who has the time and will to read 231 pages of protocols, amendments, etc Treaty).

So how the hell is the guy-on-the-street supposed to know how he should vote over such complex matters? Isn’t that what democratic representatives are all about? If not, then give us an online account, a big yes and no buttons, and get rid of the parliament.

Sorry, not in a good mood today.
Winni said…
Marc, the European Union is not a democracy, it's a bureaucracy whose members are still sovereign countries and not just member states. Most decisions in Bruxelles are made by bureaucrats who have not been elected by the people. So I think that it's a good thing that the EU machinery sometimes can be stopped by a minority.

You know that for example the German people have not even been asked by their government if they wanted the EURO while France did - so how can that be a democracy?

If we had been asked, I'm sure we still would have the Deutsche Mark. And if we would be asked now, I am certain that we would go back to the Mark. For most people in this country, the reality of the EURO is felt like a 50% salary cut; the numbers on many price tags are the same as they were in D-Mark times (or even higher by now), only the currency symbol changed.

These are just few of the many reasons why especially young people in Europe no longer care for politics and politicians. It usually does not matter whom you vote for anyhow, because the lobbies are still the same.

Anyway, Welcome to Europe! ;-)
Marcf said…
While I dislike politicians and professional civil servants, I am all for the EU because to me it is mostly a debasing of national rule. Nation states are a obsolete concept imho. So the irish want to be "irish" fine, like the basques want to be basques, but govts, national govt need to disolve in a continental govt. It is a waste of energy and money to have so many little govts, they are equivalent to governorships and just as irrelevant.
Andrew Meyer said…

Whoever put the ratification plan together for the EU never bothered to read about the problems the US had ratifying it's Constitution. And the US had the good sense to only require that two-thirds of the States to ratify the Constitution for it to become official. They just barely got that. And they had George Washington backing the idea.

Getting ratification on something like that is very VERY difficult for a whole multitude of reasons (local interest, understanding, grandstanding politicians who attach riders, etc.) And the US Constitution wasn't 5,000 pages!

When Europe required 100% approval, they sealed their fate that it would never pass.

But that's not the real question. The real question is, when will some country (think Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal etc.) decide that it is no longer in their best interest to continue using the Euro?

I don't follow it that closely, but didn't Jean-Claude Trichet (ECB President) just about face open revolt a couple weeks ago when he suggested raising interest rates?

What happens then?
oogifu said…
What happens then?

Well, this is why we have a bond market and credit spreads. Fixed Income might become exciting after all?
Juha Lindfors said…
"an incomprehensible dictatorship of the random"

Isn't that just forced consensus?


Anyway, anything that obsoletes the nonsense bureaucracy that still exists between national borders must be fundamentally a good change. While businesses have already gone mostly borderless (i.e. global) so are many individuals now with the net going across all borders and rules so easily. So sometimes when you need to get back to crossing the physical borders of old, it does feel like going back to the previous century.

And this comment is coming from a country where people go to ballot boxes to vote whether granting a passport should be decided by a communal vote. No kidding.
Don Busch said…
I think you're moving in the wrong direction. You want government to be pushed closer to the people, not further away from it. There's no chance at accountability otherwise.
Anonymous said…
Europe with its procedures, agendas, treaties, ... are like program in debugging mode!

Never meant to run in business, just for fun, or experiment!

Europe is NEVER meant to run seriously, as a free community!

Look at USA, they are all different.

Why everyone in EU must think and act in the same way?

Is there a NEW Stalin ERA in EU?
- said…
Yes, this is the true form of democracy. Why do I think that is so? In Germany the public was never asked to vote about that treaty. But it probably has the strongest implications about how Germany will look like in the future. Most of the laws made today are just laws they need to make because Europe requires you to implement a directive into a local law. That's why it is very important for every European country in which direction Europe turns.

In Germany only the parliament has ratfified the treaty, not the public. Thus no one in Germany really knows what is going on with this treaty.

The Irish have been real democrats and had their people vote. In that vote they decided "no". By the way, isn't that just a patched version of the new European constitution that has been rejected by public vote in France and the Netherlands earlier?

See, there is a pattern. Whenever you let the public vote about the new constitution or the patched version (being the treaty) it is rejected. The countries that ratified it only asked their parliaments, not the public.

Explain to the people, why we need this new constitution. Discuss it with them. Then you may get approval.

And btw: If the rules say all countries have to ratify a new treaty and one country votes "no" in a democratic process, then yes, this is democracy.
Anonymous said…
This is the only 0.2 per cent that was allowed to vote - rest of European politics where to afraid to ask people what do they think about the treaty that no one is able to read and understand...
Anonymous said…
France and The Netherlands had rejected the former treaty (the EU Constitution) by popular vote. So their governments decided that the People was too stupid to decide, and France ratified this new one by the way of the Parliament, with The Netherlands to follow.
At least the Irish people got to vote!
Andrew Meyer said…
One thing to add about my comment about the US ratifying the US Constitution.

"The people" were never give a vote. 2/3 of the state legislatures had to vote to adopt the Constitution. There was never a public vote on it.

I'm not a historian, but my memories from reading about this period were that there was a lot of conflict, one state (Rhode Island I believe) wasn't even invited to the constitutional convention and several states vigorously opposed it.

Essentially, it was a very ugly process with a lot of very dirty politics and back room deals.

Anyways, my point was that Europe, lacking a hero to support it has a very tough row to hoe. (Note: I believe one of the bargaining chips that got it passed was that George Washington would come out of retirement - i.e. it passed in some states due more to the popularity of Washington than due to anything in the Constitution...)

The Europeans have some serious difficulties ahead of them with the EU and the Euro.
Anonymous said…
If you compare it - the US Consitution is a quite short document that you actually can read and understand...
Marcf said…
Who is going to vote no to "the pursuit of happiness"

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