What you have to ask is, what is ever in doubt that we would have another referendum? Of course not. It was clear that as soon as the result was announced that another referendum would be held. The only thing that surprises me is how some people thought there was any doubt about it.
Archive for the ‘European Politics’ Category
The Telegraph are saying this is the likely day for our second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. I must say, I like the name of the briefing paper: The Solution to the Irish Problem
An internal EU briefing paper, entitled The Solution to the Irish Problem, predicts that Dublin will accede to the re-run at a meeting of Europe’s leaders on October 15.
Ireland has been under French and German pressure to hold a second vote and Autumn 2009 has emerged as the favoured date among officials and diplomats ahead of the European Union summit on the future of the Lisbon Treaty next month.
Ireland has refused to deny that a second referendum could occur, following the ‘No’ vote in June.
The document has been written by an influential group of French officials, called Le Amis du Traite de Lisbonne or Friends of the Lisbon Treaty.
According to the briefing, a second Irish vote will follow a guarantee that Ireland will not lose its European Commissioner and “declarations” on neutrality, abortion and taxation – all issues that dominated the Irish campaign.
“The second Irish referendum could take place, on this new basis, during Autumn 2009, pushing back the coming into force of the Treaty of Lisbon until 2010,” says the document.
The text, by a senior European official called Jean-Guy Giraud, who is based in Paris, is widely regarded as reflecting the view in France, current holder of the EU’s rotating presidency.
Other EU officials have confirmed that next year’s Autumn referendum fixture is gaining ground in informal and formal talks between diplomats ahead of the summit next month.
“This date is the one being mentioned in discussions,” said a source.
Ireland’s referendum rejection on June 12 means that the Lisbon Treaty can not enter into force until all the EU’s 27 countries have ratified it.
It is clear that the decision has already been taken: another referendum. Everything else is just paying lip service to “respecting” Ireland’s vote.
Things look decidedly close for Lisbon. I voted No myself.
What with all the furore over the Supreme Court judgment, at least we don’t have this spectacle in Ireland. That must be the weirdest and sickest political party I have ever heard of.
The Economist outlines Charlie ‘bundled to Brussels’ McCreevy’s plan for simplifying financial services in the EU.
The former Irish finance minister, now the EU’s internal-market commissioner, is regarded as both a sensible champion of capitalism and a bureaucrat who has slowed the march towards a single market. But he is also seen as an enforcer who roughs up member states that don’t toe his line—pity his spokesman, who says, only half in jest, that Mr McCreevy wants to make him the least popular man in Brussels.
The sensible McCreevy is likely to be on display in a new financial-services plan for the next five years, due to be laid out by the European Commission on December 5th. The “White Paper” is sparing in its new proposals—a relief to financial firms groaning under a glut of past initiatives from the Brussels rule factory. In return, McCreevy the enforcer has undertaken to see through the huge volume of reforms already on the books. Being frugal with the new rules helps him to be adamant about the old.
Simplifying things can only be a good thing, can’t it?
With her systematic scientist’s approach, Merkel will avoid choosing between Atlanticism and Europe or confusing sentimental moves toward Russia with grand strategy. Matter-of-fact, serious and thoughtful, she will strive to be a partner for a set of relationships appropriate to the new international order – one that refuses to choose between France and the United States but rather establishes a framework embracing both.
She will defend her perception of German interests, and the fate of her domestic adversaries shows just how formidable an opponent she can be. But these interests will be defined in terms of a vision of the future rather than the ideological combat of decades past.
Steyn wants to create a 1300-year struggle between Catholic France and the Muslims going back to Tours. This way of thinking is downright silly. France in the 19th century was a notorious ally of the Muslim Ottoman Empire, and fought alongside Muslims against the Christian Russians in the Crimean War. Among contemporary French, 40 percent do not even believe in God, and less than 20 percent go to mass at all regularly. Many of the French of non-European heritage are also not religious.
The French repaid the compliment of Tours by conquering much of the Middle East. Bonaparte aggressively and viciously invaded Egypt in 1798, but couldn’t hold on there. But in 1830 the French invaded Algeria and incorporated it into France. Algeria was “French soil.” They reduced the Algerian population (which they brutalized and exploited) to marginal people under the colonial thumb. The French government of Algeria allowed hundreds of thousands to perish of famine in the 1870s. After World War II, given low French birth rates and a dynamic capitalist economy, the French began importing Algerian menial labor. The resulting Beurs are no more incapable of “integrating” into France than the Poles or Jews were.
So it wasn’t the Algerians who came and got France. France had come and gotten the Algerians, beginning with Charles X and then the July Monarchy. They settled a million rather rowdy French, Italians and Maltese in Algeria. These persons rioted a lot in the early 1960s as it became apparent that Algeria would get its independence (1962). In fact, European settler colonists or “immigrants” have caused far more trouble in the Middle East than vice versa.
The kind of riots we are seeing in France also have occurred in US cities (they sent Detroit into a tailspin from 1967). They are always produced by racial segregation, racist discrimination, spectacular unemployment, and lack of access to the mainstream economy. The problems were broached by award-winning French author Tahar Ben Jalloun in his French Hospitality decades ago.
But read the whole thing.
So says Mark Steyn in today’s Chicago Sun Times. As usual he starts by patting himself on the back
Ever since 9/11, I’ve been gloomily predicting the European powder keg’s about to go up. ”By 2010 we’ll be watching burning buildings, street riots and assassinations on the news every night,” I wrote in Canada’s Western Standard back in February.
Silly me. The Eurabian civil war appears to have started some years ahead of my optimistic schedule.
He continues with well thought out considered analysis like:
The notion that Texas neocon arrogance was responsible for frosting up trans-Atlantic relations was always preposterous, even for someone as complacent and blinkered as John Kerry. If you had millions of seething unassimilated Muslim youths in lawless suburbs ringing every major city, would you be so eager to send your troops into an Arab country fighting alongside the Americans?
So that’s the reason France didn’t think the war was a good idea. I thought it was their fingers in the Oil for Food programme, oh wait American companies were involved too. I thought it was that they supported the Ba’ath party and al-Qeada. But no, now it’s because of their Muslim populations.
Steyn then mentions in passing the battle of Poitiers, an era of Europe I coincidentally am studying at present, and a time that featured on a BBC documentary over the weekend. What he fails to mention was that the Muslim foothold in Spain at the time was the only Muslim colony that failed to remain permanent. Nor does he mention the civilising aspect of that Muslim world, their culture, architecture and inter-marriage with Christians in Spain – something that was written out of the history books by Christian families later on. But that’s all to complicated for Steyn, better to be black and white I suppose.
After chatting with Brian Crowley briefly last week I am still puzzled and perplexed by some of the arguments in favour of the Common Agricultural Policy. This is mainly because he argued about it in a way I had not read or heard before. He mentioned the three current pillars of CAP, and I can only remember two that he mentioned, but he was emphatic about saying that CAP was not about subsidies.
Rather, CAP is about paying farmers to maintain the land as it currently is, and farmers being paid to look after their animals. It was also about food security, food standards and guaranteed supply to markets.
Yea, I was just as puzzled.
Of course I argued that subsidies, sorry payments, distort the market. That if Irish farmers produce say, sugar, and that same product can be produced cheaper by another country and exported to Ireland and sold to consumers at a cheaper price, then so be it. That is the market in action surely. And Irish sugar farmers go out of business, and start growing something else, or farming differently, growing say, rape seed oil. And it is natural that farmers adapt to market demands. And if the land goes into disuse – then let someone else buy it.
But in Crowley’s view, we should pay farmers to keep doing what their doing, regardless of whether it makes economic sense, because afterall, they are keeping the land the way it is, and looking after animals (that are there by virtue of the nature of the industry anyway).
Another example arose surrounding beef. I noted that it could be argued that if beef can be imported cheaply from say Brazil, why should money be given to farmers in the from of payments that resulted in the production of beef? Surely this amounted to distorting – aha argued Crowley, what if Foot and Mouth hit Brazil in this scenario – what then?
Price of beef goes up due to shortage of supply, people stop buying so much beef.
“So the consumer is king?” Remarked Crowley.
“Yes” I replied.
On the subject of the Constitution I thought Crowley was losing the run of himself. He argued that it would be back, probably in its current form, before it dies in late 2007. I just can’t see it, at least not its current form. But I felt a certain amount of smugness from Crowley, who argued too that no Treaty should have to be put before the people of Ireland at all, but should be passed instead by the Dail. He also dismissed any idea that having two Nice Treaty referenda was anything undemocratic, and that the Seville Declaration made the second referendum an entirely different document. (probably referring to Article 29.4.9 of the Constitution, but still allows Irish participation in Common Security and Defence)
So too was a rather strange, and to me outlandish, view that Iceland and Norway would join the European Union. Was all his time spent in Strasbourg really going to his head? Was I living on some different planet – Norway joining the EU? Not in my lifetime, and I would bet, probably never.
And then there was the article Stephen Collins wrote in the Sunday Tribune on the 30th of October, something Crowley appeared to take great exception to. It all relates, I believe, to the passage into law of the Sea-Fisheries and Maritime Jurisdiction Bill 2005. It has been causing some consternation among Deputies, and long story short – the Department of the Marine screwed up in drafting the legislation. Just don’t tell Brian Crowley I told you that.
The Poles have elected a center right government, after years of left-wing parties in power, the populist Law and Justice and the free-market Civic Platform agree on the need to cut taxes, deal with bureaucracy and make a clean break. But turn out was incredibly low as the Economist notes:
Three-fifths didn’t bother to vote at all—the worst turnout in the country’s 15-year electoral history. Some cynicism is justified: most of the ten governments since the collapse of communism have promised clean, efficient government, yet delivered little. Why should another lot be any different? Meanwhile, rows that erupted in the final weeks of the campaign may weaken the new government. Civic Platform promised a 15% flat tax; Law and Justice derided that as a giveaway for the rich. It promised, expensively, to protect social welfare programmes.
It looks like Turkey won’t be the only country coming to the negotiating table. The biggest sticking point for Croatian talks was that the EU believed they were being uncooperative in relation to war crimes investigations. Croatia must be keen.