Skip to content

Euroblog Coverage: The Irish 'No'

Atlantic Review editor Nanne Zwagerman has written a Euroblog roundup regarding the Irish 'no' to the Lisbon Treaty in his personal blog DJ Nozem, which covers European issues much more extensively than Atlantic Review.

The round-up includes J. Clive Matthews' call for looking more closely at the evolution of political integration in the United States, which did not happen merely by the stroke of a pen.

Trackbacks

No Trackbacks

Comments

Display comments as Linear | Threaded

Don S on :

"he evolution of political integration in the United States, which did not happen merely by the stroke of a pen." Indeed it was not. The large-state - small-state divide was as wide is it is within the EU. The eventual compromise is embedded in the form of the US government in the form of the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Electoral College. The House represents the interests of the big states, being divided by population. California counts for far more than Rhode Island in the House. The Senate represents the interest of the small states - Rhode Island is the Senate equal of California. The electoral College (which selects the President) is a compromise between the two, with each state's electoral votes equal to the sum of their Senators and House members, plus Washington DC gets 3 electoral college members I believe. This structure is mostly democratic but not quite. Rhode Island packs slightly more of a punch in the electoral college than it would otherwise do, and California slightly less. This punch usually doesn't matter except in extremely close elections like that of 2000. And usually not even then.

franchie on :

well, why should a population vote for hermetic laws ? they have deputees for that, therefore an EU constitution should also be voted by parliamentaries that are elected by vox populi to represent the plebe. same configuration when the Frenchs and Hollanders were asked the same question : only popular griefs went on board, but not a response to the validity of the constitution. Now, if the Irishes don't want to stay in EU, OK, let them out, and any state that doesn't want the EU future as elaborated by that constitution. I have many griefs on the EU rules, though the only way to sort out of our problems, is a constitution.

Pat Patterson on :

Symbolic law? I thought that the Constitution was moribund and the current structure, which approval or disapproval was agreed to be binding, is a treaty? So it's a constitution only when it's a treaty and when it's approval is supposed to be unanimous unless its not unanimous then kick out the dissenters? I think maybe the various US consulates should provide abridged copies of the Federalist and Anti-federalist arguments. Not to serve as a guide on how to define the powers of the EU but rather to simply argue out the merits or lack of them in front of the public.

franchie on :

the Irishes voted no because they said that they didn't understand the constitution, "no" is a lesser "evilness", and against Sarkozy... who will run EU only for 6 months... so , N'importe quoi !

Zyme on :

Let´s face it - when the majority of our laws are now created in Brussels, what good are our parliaments then? With our governments constituting the european council all legitimation is there and the basis is provided for quick progress. Waiting for 27 peoples is futile - asking them which chewing gum they prefer at a time would be more fruitful.

John in Michigan, USA on :

Here on Atlantic Review, and elsewhere, I've seen the observation that there is no European [i]demos[/i]. This is sometimes offered to explain why the EU shouldn't, or can't, be more democratic in nature. But, what if there really IS a European demos, only it turns out they're against the EU!

Zyme on :

There are a lot of demos here - mostly when wages are to be cut or jobs will be lost. Which is what bothers most people most. The EU is rarely a target because it is far too complicated and too political to be of interest for a broader audience. When people expect eurocrats to be as corrupt as their national politicians, there is hardly anything you can demonstrate against ;)

Nanne on :

The lack of a European demos is an argument that is overestimated to some degree. Integration theorists tend to think that you can create a demos by fueling popular discussion of the EU through the media and other channels. I tend to think that people will start engaging more with the EU only when they get a larger amount of say, and the EU starts making decisions that are more directly relevant to people's lifes. Then people will organise along their political preferences, without there being a need for a felt common identity created through the media and the (often lame) symbols that are currently clung to by many enthousiasts of deeper integration.

franchie on :

"I tend to think that people will start engaging more with the EU only when they get a larger amount of say, and the EU starts making decisions that are more directly relevant to people's lifes" That implies that the EU Parliament will be taken more seriously, y compris by the EU stances as well as by the inherent states themselves. That also means that the individual states will have to close down one of their assemblies, double-employ with the EU parliament. This will not be an easy decision to enterprise ; he, who wants to cut the grass that he has under his shoes !

John in Michigan, USA on :

"he, who wants to cut the grass that he has under his shoes" Indeed. The process you and Nanne describe sounds a lot like what we in Computer Science call "[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bootstrapping_%28computing%29]bootstrapping[/url]" You load a tiny program, that creates space for a larger program, loads it and runs it. Repeat until you have the functionality you need. It is [i]insanely[/i] difficult to program, and makes you feel like you are trying to lift yourself by the strap of your own boot (in order to mow the grass under there, for example). So the EU needs to create a little bit of government, which creates and enables a little bit of demos, which creates and enables a little more government, etc. What exactly would be the problem with putting Lisbon on hold for 10 or so years, and letting the demos materialize (or consolidate, as Zyme points out)?

Joe Noory on :

I think this thing has suffered from intangibility due to overcomplication. Each of the public votes was rejected on the fear that Brussels would have too much power in one area or another. There needs to be a straitforward conversation about the separation of powers, and a short, concise constitution that the broader public can understand and either support or advise change on. Only then will people actually know what their rights are. These rejections are founded entirely on voters having a fear of what they don't think they're being told about it, and a suspicion that Brussels will not respect any limitations put on its' power. They should just go back and study the German, US, and Lebanese constitutions and start over. Read up on the essential properties of each of those documents, and you'll see why.

franchie on :

"and a short, concise constitution that the broader public can understand " precisely this was a short and concise constitution, though the people only care of their daily "worries", one would say there isn't anymore "moral" aspiration in our social-liberal world

Pat Patterson on :

I would surely hate to see what then is regarded a long version of the Treaty of Lisbon considering its currently at 12,800 words and 70 articles. While the original US Consitution was published on four pages, the last being signatures. The Bill of Rights, published in 1791, added one page to the total. Its current iteration is at 4,400 words with seven articles and 27 amendments. I can carry a pocket version, which I also give all my students on a yearly basis, that does not leave a mark on my trousers unlike say a Copenhagen tin. There are literally dozens of American sources, public and private, where copies of the Constitution can be gotten for free. But as an experiment I had some of my students attempt to get a copy of the Treaty of Lisbon and discovered two things, the first in that it was only available in English and French (not just in English) and second, the cost of shipping was prohibitive because the Washington office of the European Commission does not have any copies of either the Treaty or the previous Constitution either to give away or for sale. We had to order it from London.

franchie on :

here is the treaty of Lisboa : http://bookshop.europa.eu/uri?target=EUB:NOTICE:FXAC07306:EN:HTML the EU constitution : http://europa.eu.int/eur-lex/lex/JOHtml.do?uri=OJ:C:2004:310:SOM:EN:HTML

Joe Noory on :

Pages : [b]269 pp[/b] Weight : 433 g ISSN : 1725-2423 [b]42 €[/b] At least "Part 1" is free, but wants to leave a cookie when you try to dowload it. Otherwise having to pay tyo know what your rights are make me believe in all of that Human Rights and Values stuff that the graciously superior intellects and humanism of the EU are supposed to be all about.

influx on :

Part 1 is the whole text. A little misleading maybe, but I guess it has to do with the fact that longer texts are split up into several parts. So yes, the whole treaty is available for free in 23 languages. Don't know what that says about the research abilities of your students.

Pat Patterson on :

I didn't say that that the Treaty of Lisbon was only available in those two languages but that the English text we requested also came with a French translation. And, here I'll defer to others, that appears the only way it came at that time. That is in the desired language mated with a French translation which ends up doubling the size of the document and doubling the cost of mailing. And is extremely doubtful usage for a classroom of 15 year olds. Most high schools in the US, for obvious reasons, do not allow downloads from overseas and often do not allow cookies. The point I was trying to make is that it seems understandable that when given the choice most Europeans seem to reject the Treaty because of its unknown qualities and length. The size and obscurity of the Treaty and its source, the Constitution, more resemble a list of regulations rather than a document defining the relationship of the citizens to the state.

influx on :

You were trying to teach 15 year olds in the US the inner workings of the EU?

Zyme on :

:D Now they surely know the target of their next cruisade ;)

Don S on :

Who? The Hospitaliers or the Knights Templar? Nah. The subject of our NEXT crusade? Look south. We're gonna take out old Hugo Chavez - he keeps asking for it.

Don S on :

Or maybe the Quebequois. Bloody canucks insist on putting their road signs in french, not english *God's language*. Let's make them pay! ;)

Elisabetta on :

Too damn right. Think of the metric system. The feast at Cana was not demarcated by kilos or liters, but hogsheads and Butcher's stones. Unless of course you hate Jesus....

Pat Patterson on :

Not really, I was simply trying to show the differences between a constitution that was approved by the citizens because that step was too important to leave to the elites and a constitution that was approved by the elites because it was too important to leave to the citizens. They noticed quickly that the EU Constitution or Treaty was primarily a set regulations while the American Constitution was a document that defined and recognized the compact between the citizens and the government and did not refer to agricultural policy or fishery quotas.

Joe Noory on :

I don't have any students. You're thinking of someone else's response. Either way, it gagged on download. More to the point though, who in their right mind thinks that a 200+ page treaty on constitutionally binding something-or-other is tangable to people? The MO says one thing to the public: "whatever it is you're looking for, trust me, it's in there. Don't bother trying to read it."

Add Comment

E-Mail addresses will not be displayed and will only be used for E-Mail notifications.

To prevent automated Bots from commentspamming, please enter the string you see in the image below in the appropriate input box. Your comment will only be submitted if the strings match. Please ensure that your browser supports and accepts cookies, or your comment cannot be verified correctly.
CAPTCHA

Form options