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Ireland can retain its Commissioner without Lisbon Treaty

12 December, 2008

Responding to the government’s announcement from Brussels that it has reached agreement with the EU Council to re-run the Lisbon Treaty Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has described the Lisbon re-run deal as ‘an exercise in smoke and mirrors.’

The Dublin MEP said:

“Claims by the government that Ireland will automatically loose its Commissioner under the terms of the Nice Treaty are simply untrue. What the government intend to bring back to the Irish people is no great feat of negotiation, it is an exercise in smoke and mirrors.

“Whilst the Nice Treaty does commit the EU to reducing the number of Commissioners when the number of member states reached 27, it does not specify the size or system of rotation. These decisions were left to the Council acting unanimously.

“Therefore under the present rules, it would be possible for the Council to agree to leave the Commission at its present state until the broader issue of the reform of the EU institutions is resolved.

“The Irish government has the power to veto any efforts to reduce the number of Commissioners, and given the strength of public feeling on this issue it has a democratic imperative to do so.

“The question is whether the Irish government is willing to use this veto while the broader issues of the EU's democratic deficit, workers right and public services, neutrality and Irelands influence in the EU institutions are being addressed.

“Today’s agreement tells us that the answer to that question is No.”

“The agreement of legally binding guarantees is an empty promise. Declarations are not worth the paper they are written on as they are not legally binding. Unless ‘protocols’ are secured and ratified by all members states ‘guarantees’ as described by the government are worthless.

“The Irish people voted for a better deal and they rightfully expected the country’s leader to make that better deal happen. Brian Cowen and Micheál Martin have failed to address the peoples concerns. They have failed to negotiate a better deal.

“Almost one million people rejected the Lisbon Treaty. There is no doubt that those who voted against the treaty and whose interests and concerns have been ignored will make their views known in next year’s European elections.” ENDS

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