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IBEC support of Lisbon Treaty does not stand up to scrutiny

17 March, 2008

Sinn Féin Economic Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD today said claims by IBEC that the Lisbon Treaty is good for democracy, investment, jobs and the economy simply do not stand up to scrutiny.

Deputy Morgan said:

“Far from making Europe more democratic, the extensive increase in powers to the European Council and Commission in the Lisbon Treaty will move political power further away from ordinary citizens’, offering only cosmetic increases in powers to Parliaments in member states and the EU Parliament in return.

“IBEC have claimed that the Treaty will ensure Ireland retains its ability to set our own tax policy. Such claims are weak. Article 48 of the Lisbon Treaty gives the EU powers to amend its own treaties, without recourse to an intergovernmental conference or new Treaty, thus giving the Commission and Council significant scope to acquire more powers in the future. Article 48 provides for a shift from unanimity to Qualified Majority Voting in a broad range of areas and vetoes can be conceded without reference to the people. Claims that the Irish tax system will not be interfered with by the EU because of current requirements for unanimity must be squared with the fact that the Lisbon Treaty specifically allows for the removal of these same vetoes.

 “However IBEC correctly note that the Treaty will give a ‘new impetus towards the realisation of Europe’s internal market’. The European Commission has consistently pursued a policy of market-opening to create competition in various sectors such as transport and telecommunications, the consequences of which can be seen with the privatisation of Aer Lingus and Eircom.

“Article 16(b) of the Lisbon Treaty places new ‘economic and financial conditions’ on the provision of services which could result in services including healthcare and education being subjected to the rules of competition. The protocol on the Internal Market and Competition mandates the EU to ensure that ‘competition is not distorted’ enabling the EU to remove such ‘distortions’ from service provision. Distortions could include state aid, public funding, health, environmental and workers’ rights. So IBEC are correct in their claim. The Lisbon Treaty does promote liberalisation, deregulation and privatisation, but at the cost of fundamentally undermining the European Social Model.

“The privatisation of Eircom and Aer Lingus are evidence alone that the privatisation of essential services does not benefit the economy and certainly does not protect the national interest as claimed by IBEC. Due to privatisation we currently have a third world provision of broadband and a whole region of the country, heavily dependent on tourism, disconnected from a key international and business hub. How can anyone claim that the economy, investment and jobs have benefited by these decisions?

“The Lisbon Treaty is a bad deal for the economy, jobs and public services.” CRÍOCH  


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