Democracy continues to interfere with the European Union’s best laid plans
It’s bad enough that Greek elections could be held in April to allow voters there the chance to express a view on new rules and regulations being imposed on them. But now the Irish have decided to hold a referendum.
Citizens of Ireland will be asked to vote on Europe’s fiscal treaty, which imposes new rules on their government’s ability to control its own tax and spending, among other things. The loss of sovereignty this implies is unpopular there, to say the least.
There’s a high chance the Irish will vote against the treaty as they did in 2001 and 2008. But much depends on how the question is framed and how credible the Irish government’s arguments for the transfer of power from Dublin to Brussels are. Simply arguing the alternative to a yes vote is Armageddon will be insufficient.
Ireland has shocked Europe with plans for a referendum on the EU’s fiscal treaty, a move that risks an unprecedented fragmentation of the eurozone and a major clash with Germany.
All three major parties back the treaty but analysts say there is a high risk of rejection by angry voters in the current fractious mood. The compact gives the EU intrusive powers to police the budgets of debtor states, and has been denounced as feudal bondage by Sinn Fein and Ireland’s vociferous eurosceptics. The Irish voted “No” to both the Nice and Lisbon treaties before being made to vote again. Dublin has ruled out a second vote this time.
It will take 3 months to organise a referendum. Last I read about Ireland, a referendum wasn’t expected. It adds another twist to the EU saga. And there are plenty more twists lined up to follow this latest twist.
I wonder if us Brits will ever get a referendum?