June 30th 2001

  Buy Issue 2611

Articles from this issue:

Editorial :Winning elections ... or governing the country?

Canberra observed - Beazley falters in pre-election " phoney war"

Economics - Industry policy where to now?

National affairs - One.Tel collapse- shades of Fawlty Towers

Straws in the Wind

Clark allegations leave political players lost for words

Barley deregulation - Victorian ALP backs agribusiness

The Media

Letter: Insurance failures - who should pay?

Raymond Aron - an idealist with common sense

Hague self-destructs: so why won't the Tory Party?

17,000 US scientists say greenhouse theory wrong

New opportunities in life issues debate

Out of Ireland

Is news what the Big Six say it is?

60th anniversary of Baltic deportations

Film - Pearl Harbor, a film that will live in infamy

Books promotion page

Out of Ireland

by Anthony Cappello

News Weekly, June 30, 2001

On June 7 (the same day as Britain's general election), Ireland held a referendum, which was to determine if it was to ratify the Treaty of Nice. Unlike any other member states of the European Union, Ireland asked its citizens if they accepted the consequences stemming from the treaty.

The result of the referendum had European consequences, since a yes vote in Ireland would ensure that the Treaty would be legally binding in other EU countries.

But while German and French leaders pleaded the Irish to ratify the Treaty - German Foreign Minister Joseph Fischer commented, "We're talking about the reunification of the continent which was torn apart by Hitler and Stalin" (Current Concerns, May-June 2001) - the Irish rejected it, with 54 per cent of them voting no.

The Treaty aims to streamline voting in the European Union and would alter administrative practices. Under the Treaty, larger European countries like Germany and France would be able to outvote smaller nations like Ireland. For example, under the Treaty conditions, Ireland would have seven votes out of 340 votes, and would no longer have its present veto powers in the European Parliament.

Some, like French journalist Gaston Duverneuil, have argued: "The Nice compromise is also a reflection of the new reality of the post-Cold-War era: a Europe where Germany is the dominant power" (Ecrits de Paris, February 2001).

Despite the Irish rejection, leaders in Europe are determined to press ahead with the Treaty. Hans-Gert Poettering, chairman of the Conservative parties' coalition in the European Parliament, declared after the Irish vote that a new transparent and democratic procedure was needed for the reform of the European Union.

Since Ireland's entry into the EU, Europhiles have argued that Ireland has risen out of an agrarian society to a prosperous modern knowledge-based success story.

Yet, many in Ireland are ambivalent about such successes. Brian Flanagan, president of a civic movement in County Donegal, argues that the recent Irish boom and EU status have resulted, not from access for Irish industry into Europe, but from new American firms setting up their European headquarters in Ireland.

This is perhaps the real story behind Ireland's economic boom. In fact, today Ireland is no longer self-sufficient as it was once. The economic boom has impaired local agriculture in favour of foreign investment and capital. Therefore Ireland is no longer in control of its economic affairs.

But in rejecting the Treaty, Ireland is still politically in control, even if it is only for the time being.

In Britain, however, British PM Tony Blair - a Europhile - was voted in for his second term. Yet in his campaign, he avoided all talk of Europe. Rather, he argued that he was committed to holding a referendum on the question of whether Britain would retain the pound, versus exclusively adopting the euro. Such a referendum, if he ever holds it, will most likely come out in favour of the status quo.

While the Irish voted against ratifying the Treaty, Mr Cowen, Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs, told EU ministers in Luxembourg that despite the result, he hoped that the Government would ratify the present Treaty of Nice before the end of 2002 (The Irish Times, June 12).

While all this was occurring within Ireland, another group (this time Dutch) was planning to set sail and anchor just outside Ireland. Women on Waves is an organisation that provides abortion to women on a ship anchored in international waters. Just as an Irish referendum has rejected the Treaty of Nice, so a separate Irish referendum has also rejected abortion.

Join email list

Join e-newsletter list

Your cart has 0 items

Subscribe to NewsWeekly

Research Papers

Trending articles

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Memo to Shorten, Wong: LGBTIs don't want it

COVER STORY Shorten takes low road to defeat marriage plebiscite

COVER STORY Bill Shorten imposes his political will on the nation

COVER STORY Reaper mows down first child in the Low Countries

SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Kevin Andrews: defend marriage on principles

CANBERRA OBSERVED Coalition still gridlocked despite foreign success

ENVIRONMENT More pseudo science from climate

News and views from around the world

Menzies, myth and modern Australia (Jonathan Pincus)

China’s utterly disgraceful human-rights record

Japan’s cure for childlessness: a robot (Marcus Roberts)

SOGI laws: a subversive response to a non-existent problem (James Gottry)

Shakespeare, Cervantes and the romance of the real (R.V. Young)

That’s not funny: PC and humour (Anthony Sacramone)

Refugees celebrate capture of terror suspect

The Spectre of soft totalitarianism (Daniel Mahoney)

American dream more dead than you thought (Eric Levitz)

Think the world is overcrowded: These 10 maps show why you’re wrong (Max Galka)

© Copyright NewsWeekly.com.au 2011
Last Modified:
November 14, 2015, 11:18 am