The Lisbon Treaty will be pushed through by stealth
The strength of a vociferous ‘No’ campaign means Ireland’s Taoiseach and the rest of the EU cannot risk another referendum
Ever since Ireland voted against the European Constitution Lisbon Treaty, the EU has been clamouring for a second referendum. The trouble is that the risks and gains for the Irish Taoiseach, Brian Cowen, are asymmetrical. If he held the vote and won, he'd be slightly better off. But if he lost, he'd have to resign, and would go down in history as the Taoiseach who wouldn't take "No" for an answer.
In other words, it wouldn't be enough for Cowen to think that he would win; he'd have to know. And, given the way the "No" campaign has come from behind in every recent Euro-referendum, it's hard to see how he could ever be certain.
How, then, will the Eurocrats get their treaty? By a combination of parliamentary ratification, executive fiat and judicial activism. Chunks of the Lisbon Treaty will be unanimously decreed by the 27 governments to be in force, without any formal treaty changes.
The Eurocrats will get their treaty by executive fiat and judicial activism
Indeed, to a large extent, this has already happened. The EU foreign policy is up and running, the Charter of Fundamental Rights has been declared to be justiciable, the flag and anthem are being treated as official emblems and most of the institutions that would have been created by the constitution - the European Human Rights Agency, the External Borders Agency, the Armaments Agency and so on - have been established anyway.
The new rules on the number of MEPs and Commissioners will be tacked on to the Croatian accession treaty and pushed through without a referendum. Ireland holds plebiscites on EU treaties, not because of an integral part of the 1937 constitution, but as a result of a 1987 court judgment, which the best legal minds in Dublin are now working to circumvent. In short, the Lisbon Treaty won't be ratified, just implemented. You read it here first. ·
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