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Lisbon Treaty is Bad for Business

26 May, 2008

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald today launched an information guide outlining why the Lisbon Treaty is a bad deal for Irish businesses. Dublin Cllr. Daithí Doolan and Campaign Director of Policy and Dun Laoghaire Representative Eoin Ó Broin joined the MEP who addressed the negative implications of the Lisbon Treaty on taxation, investment in infrastructure, jobs and economic development. 


The Dublin MEP said:


“Ireland’s place is in Europe. That place is secure and uncontested. We have played a important role in European affairs and will continue to do so regardless of the outcome of the referendum on June 12th. However it is vital that we continue to have a strong voice at the EU table.


“We are entering into a period of great economic uncertainty. The most pressing task facing the government is to develop a strategy to deliver the next generation of jobs. Supporting small to medium size enterprises is central to this task. This means investment in research and development, information technology, education, infrastructure, and public services.


“The Lisbon Treaty puts significant pressure on member states to reduce public expenditure. It limits the range of options available to governments in times of economic slowdown, particularly by placing more stringent limitations on borrowing. It fails to address the heavy restrictions of state aid. It actively undermines public services. And it opens the door to tax harmonisation. All of this reduces the Irish government’s ability to invest its own future.


“Articles 104 and 115 impose new restrictions on member states borrowing ability and empower the Commission to issue budgetary guidelines aimed at curbing public expenditure. The existing restrictions on annual budget deficits are too rigid. The Lisbon Treaty will make this situation worse.


“Article 16(b) of the Lisbon Treaty places new “economic and financial conditions” on the provision of services, including health care and education. This empowers the Commission to compel member states to open such services to the rules of competition and private operators.


“The Protocol on the Internal Market & Competition of Treaty mandates the EU to ensure that “competition is not distorted”. Such “distortions” include state aid and public funding. Again this limits the tools available to respond to a downturn in the economy.


“Article 2 (b) gives the EU exclusive competence over commercial policy including the negotiating of international trade agreements. The treaty will also give the EU more power by providing for qualified majority voting on laws governing foreign direct investment and international agreements on foreign investment.


“The Treaty also opens the door to tax harmonisation. Sinn Féin has never argued that the veto on taxation is gone. What we have argued is that Article 48 makes it easier to remove this veto in the future. At present we have two lines of defence to prevent tax harmonisation, the veto and the fact that such changes could only happen in the context of an overall treaty revision, which in this state requires a referendum. Article 48 allows for individual treaty changes, which while requiring unanimity at Council, would not automatically require a referendum. Tax is one issue which would not require a referendum. Thus the Lisbon Treaty removes this important additional line of defence.


“The government says that it would use the veto if required. However we have seen them buckle under pressure before, with respect to the loss of a permanent Commissioner, and have no reason to believe that they would not do so in the future.


“In a time of economic uncertainty governments need to be free to choose the best course of action to stimulate the economy and drive balanced and sustainable economic growth. The Lisbon Treaty restricts government’s choices, imposing a “one-size-fits-all” approach to the economy. By rejecting the Lisbon Treaty on June 12th we can get a better deal. Protect our position in Europe. Protect your business interests. Vote No on June 12th for a better deal in Europe.” CRÍOCH


Media enquiries please contact: Sinéad Ní Bhroin at (01) 872 6100 or 087 9266764




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