Friday, 14 March 2008

Lisbon Treaty Referendum - Spot the odd one out.

The Lisbon Treaty passed through the House of Commons by 346 to 206 on Tuesday to give the bill a third reading. Now it is down to the Lords to grant the people a referendum on the treaty. The main argument for and against a referendum is this: Is the new Lisbon Treaty similar enough to the rejected EU Constitution to warrant a referendum? Here are some quotes on the subject - I hope the Lords will take these into account when making their decision:

House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee.
"We conclude that there is no material difference between the provisions on foreign affairs in the Constitutional Treaty which the government made subject to approval in a referendum and those in the Lisbon Treaty on which a referendum is being denied,"
Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, former French President and Chairman of the Convention which drew up the EU Constitution.

"They have taken the original draft constitution, blown it apart into separate elements, and have then attached them, one by one, to existing treaties. It is unpenetrable for the public. "In terms of content, the proposed institutional reforms - the only ones which mattered to the drafting Convention - are all to be found in the Treaty of Lisbon. They have merely been ordered differently and split up between previous treaties."
Michael Connarty MP, the Labour Chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee.

"Every provision of the Constitutional Treaty, apart from the flags, mottos and anthems, is to be found in the Reform [Lisbon] Treaty. We think that they are fundamentally the same, and the Government have not produced a table to contradict our position."
Václav Klaus, Czech President.

"Only cosmetic changes have been made and the basic document remains the same."
Giuliano Amato, former Italian Prime Minister and Vice-Chairman of the Convention which drew up the Constitution.

"The good thing about not calling it a Constitution is that no one can ask for a referendum on it."
Dr Garret FitzGerald, former Irish Taoiseach.

"As for the changes now proposed to be made to the constitutional treaty, most are presentational changes that have no practical effect. They have simply been designed to enable certain heads of government to sell to their people the idea of ratification by parliamentary action rather than by referendum."
Bertie Ahern, Irish Prime Minister.

"They haven't changed the substance - 90 per cent of it is still there."
Gordon Brown, The UK Prime Minister.

"If we needed a referendum we would have one. But I think most people recognise that there is not a fundamental change taking place as a result of this amended treaty."
Nicolas Sarkozy, French President.

"A referendum now would bring Europe into danger. There will be no Treaty if we had a referendum in France, which would again be followed by a referendum in the UK."
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Prime Minister of Denmark.

"The good thing is that all the symbolic elements are gone, and that which really matters – the core – is left."
José Zapatero, Spanish Prime Minister.

"A great part of the content of the European Constitution is captured in the new treaties."
Angela Merkel, German Chancellor.

"The substance of the constitution is preserved. That is a fact."
Astrid Thors, Finnish Europe Minister.

"There’s nothing from the original institutional package that has been changed."
Ursula Plassnik, Autrian Foreign Minister.

"For Austria it was important to keep the essence, to keep the institutional side of it intact, and also to keep the Charter of Fundamental Rights. This is the essence, and we were able to safeguard that."
Did you spot the odd one out?


Anonymous said...

Did you see Gordon Brown on telly last night?
He was sitting in front of two flags. One was the familiar red, white and blue. The other was the blue Euro flag.


Daily Referendum said...


It's good to see that the other EU leaders told Gordon to shove his idea for reducing VAT on green goods. Maybe he will now realise what he as let us all in for.