Na de Ierse overwinning op het verraad van Lissabon is de vraag wat er nu moet, of zal gaan gebeuren.
Wat er zal gaan gebeuren, is niet al te optimistisch.
Met wat Anthony Coughlan zegt dat zou moeten gebeuren, kunnen we wel voor een groot deel in meegaan, maar het is voor ons nog lang niet principieel genoeg. 

Anthony Coughlan heeft veel actie gevoerd om de Ieren voor te lichten over het verraad van Lissabon en is zeker een van de coaches voor de NEE-stem.

 Onderstaand bericht/artikel werd ons toegestuurd.
Omdat het zoveel inzicht geeft, zullen we het in verband met de actualiteit al onvertaald hieronder plaatsen.

 Een van de essenties is HOE de Ierse premier Cowan zich opstelt tegenover zijn collega’s in Brussel deze week.
Hij zou moeten stellen dat volgens de regels het verdrag van Lissabon NU de prullenbak in moet en dat alle collega’s onmiddellijk verdere ratificatie procedures moeten stilleggen. Als zij dat niet zouden doen, dan is dat een minachting en een klap in het gezicht van het Ierse volk. 

Maar Anthony vreest dat Cowan slap door de knieën zal gaan, hen laat doorgaan met ratificeren, om met onderhandelen wat brokjes toegespeeld te krijgen, en dan een nieuw referendum houdt, of zelfs zonder referendum de soevereiniteit van Ierland aan de EU zal overdragen.

Net als Balkenende met de soevereiniteit van Nederland doet. 

—– Forwarded message from John Anthony Coughlan.
The National Platform EU Research and Information Centre
24 Crawford Avenue, Dublin 9,   Tel.: 01-8305792

 Sunday night,  15 June 2008

Dear Friends,

Below  for  your information is a copy of a draft article on the post-Lisbon situation which I have been asked to write for tomorrow’s Irish Times.  

The first part of it is some politically necessary own-trumpet-blowing regarding the 1986 Crotty case,  from which the Lisbon referendum stems. 

The second and more important part outlines the political scenario which my Danish friend ex-MEP Jens-Peter Bonde and I believe is what is going to happen in the coming period. 

It may not  happen on the timescale suggested, but  there is every sign that  the senior Irish Foreign Affairs people in Iveagh House, together with their opposite numbers in the French and German Foreign Ministries,  are already preparing the ground for Lisbon Two. 

The Germans and French and the Brussels Commission are adamant that they  will not reopen the Lisbon Treaty and have a re-negotiation of  a new Treaty or whatever.  They are quite happy to give all sorts of sops and political Declarations to the Irish, including  continuance of a permanent Commissioner for everyone,  as long as that does not call for a reopening of the Treaty. 

As British Foreign Secretary David Milliband said yesterday:  “It is up to Brian Cowen to decide whether Lisbon lives or not.”  In other words, it is up to the  Taoiseach  to say that Ireland will not and cannot ratify this Treaty because the Irish people have voted No  to it.

That means the nine States that still  have not ratified Lisbon should abandon their ratifications. . .  Or else he can tell the remaining  nine States to go ahead with  their ratifications, which means that he is indicating to them that Ireland will  ratify  Lisbon when all the others  have done that. That will require a re-run of the Lisbon referendum in due course, without changing a jot or tittle of the Treaty. 

This of course  is exactly what Bertie Ahern did after Nice One – although Ahern had the excuse of a low turnout of 35%, whereas Cowen has a good turnout of  a majority  of Irish voters, with a solid 7% majority for No.  

What Brian Cowen  is being pressed to do  – by the senior Iveagh House diplomats  in league with the French and German Governments and the Brussels Commission  –   is the opposite to what France’s

President Chirac and Holland’s Premier Balkenende did when their peoples voted No to the EU Constitution  in 2005. Those politicians respected their peoples’ votes. They knew the French and Dutch would not tolerate having the same Treaty put to them again.  The Irish are expected to be more malleable however. Brian Cowen is expected NOT to respect his people’s vote –   and he almost certainly will not. 

The pesky Irish are not going to be allowed hold up the Grand Project of EU Federalism and Franco-German dominated  EU  integration.  It is taken for granted that Brian Cowen can be pressurised and bullied and got to kow-tow to the French and Germans in a way that they would never accept for themselves.  Unfortunately, Brian Cowen himself already sides mentally with those who threaten  to bully him unless he sanctions the continuance of the ratifications,  as against vetoing their continuance,  as is his right.

 Foreign  Affairs Minister Michael Martin said on lunchtime TV yesterday: “Of course the remaining States will continue with their ratifications.”

Of course!  The fact is there is no “of course” about  it unless Minister Martin and Taoiseach Brian Cowen assent to such a policy. For they can stop it if they have the gumption  to confront Frau Merkel and Messrs Sarkozy and Barroso and refuse to be bullied. 

It all depends on what metal Taoiseach Cowen is made of.  That is why the most politically urgent thing now is to bring every pressure on Brian Cowen and on the backbench Fianna Fail TDs to urge him to tell the other EU Prime Ministers and Presidents that any further  ratifications must cease and the Lisbon Treaty   must be reopened to take account of Ireland’s concerns.

 The permanent Commissioner issue is a sideshow.

The EU Prime Ministers and Presidents can easily agree in principle  that each State will retain a national Commissioner in 2014 by unanimous agreement now. Technically this will be called  a “European decision”. They can give a commitment to this effect this week or  at their next summit in October. They will do that.  

Opening the Lisbon Treaty calls for Taoiseach Brian Cowen to advance demands such as:  

1) moving away from a population basis instead of voting weights for making EU laws, and retaining the existing system or a variant of it – perhaps the Polish votes-on-the-basis-of-the-square-root-of-population system –  for what Lisbon proposes is  a power-grab by the Big States;  

2)  a special Treaty Protocol to override the Laval and Rüffert anti-employee judgements, which is the  only way they can be overturned,  but which the East Europeans will resist strongly; 

3)  Cast-iron guarantees  of national control of taxation matters; 

4) Cast-iron guarantees that the Irish Constitution and Supreme Court, not the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, will remain the final decider of our human and civil rights; 

5) for Ireland and other States  to be guaranteed the RIGHT TO DECIDE  who their national Commissioner  is in the ten years out of every 15 when we would get our turn to have a Commissioner under Lisbon, instead of being able to make “suggestions” only  for the incoming EU Commission  President to decide; 

6) for an abandonment of the scheme for a Federal EU Constitution which would override the Irish Constitution and which would make us all real citizens of a new Federal EU; 

7) for a real democratic reform of the EU based on the 2001 Laeken Declaration, not a perversion of it, so that EU laws are made by people directly elected to make them, whether in the European Parliament or the National Parliaments. 

There is no point in the various No-side groups meeting  with Taoiseach Cowen or seeking meetings with  him unless they press him to tell the remaining  nine States that their ratifications must cease, as he is legally entitled to insist on.  This is what the French and Dutch Governments did after their voters voted No in 2005. 

If Brian Cowen gives in on that CRUCIAL CENTRAL ISSUE,  he is effectively aligning himself with the Germans and French and the Brussels Commission  against his own people. The No-side groups throughout Ireland need to press the Taoiseach and his backbenchers on this point early this week, if they  want to retain the political initiative after last Thursday’s great democratic victory.

 Yours truly,
Anthony Coughlan,  Secretary

by the man who brought you the Lisbon Treaty referendum
 (A facetious suggested title for this draft Irish Times  article!) ____

 I voted No to the European Treaties over decades.

It was not that I was against economic cooperation on our continent. I support free trade between developed economies. It was that  I saw these treaties as successive steps in an essentially political movement towards establishing the supranational Union which Jean Monnet set as the goal of the European  project sixty years ago. 

The Schumann Declaration of 1950, which led to the European Coal and Steel Community, proclaimed itself to be “the first step in the  federation of Europe”. The Lisbon Treaty, which is virtually identical with the  EU Constitution which the French and Dutch rejected in 2005, is the culmination of that process.  For Lisbon would establish quite a new European Union  in the constitutional form of a supranational Federation, whose laws would be made on a population basis and which we would  be made real citizens of for the first time, with all the implications of that; for one can only be a citizen of a State and all States must have citizens. 

I thought the Yes-side would win last Thursday’s referendum. In expecting that however I comforted myself with the thought that  at least  I had been able to contribute to giving the Irish people, uniquely in Europe, the chance of voting on an EU Constitution which the Prime Ministers and Presidents of the other 26 EU States had decided on no account to allow their peoples a say on. For as France’s President Sarkozy acknowledged at a meeting with MEP Group leaders:

“France was just ahead of all other countries in voting No. It would happen in all Member States if they have a referendum. There is a cleavage between peoples and governments.” 

The Lisbon referendum stemmed from the 1986-7 Crotty case on the proper mode of ratification of a previous European Treaty, the Single European Act:  whether that should be by Oireachtas majority or by referendum.  The FitzGerald-Spring Government  of that time decided to push the SEA through by  parliamentary vote. I believed that the transfer of powers to Brussels  which this Treaty entailed could be done constitutionally only  by the people themselves in a  referendum, for the people are the repositories of sovereignty under Ireland’s  Constitution. 

I expressed this view in a collective letter to the Irish Times from various citizens whose signatures I gathered.   I helped bring together the lawyers to launch a constitutional challenge, Paul Callan SC and Seamus O Tuathail SC,  and had the honour of asking  my friend, the late Raymond Crotty the economist, whom I knew was concerned about this Treaty, would he act as plaintiff  in it. He courageously and generously agreed.  It is a tribute to Raymond Crotty that Irish voters have given Europe a chance to go back to the drawing board as regards this project, rather than clamp this EU Constitution  and the profoundly undemocratic structures it embodies on four million Irish and nearly 500  million Europeans.

EU Treaties must be ratified unanimously. Each country ratifies a Treaty on the assumption that all other countries will do so too. If one country says that it cannot ratify a Treaty as it stands – in  Ireland’s case because the Irish people have rejected it –  there is no point in the other countries proceeding. This is what the French and Dutch  governments did when their voters rejected the EU Constitution in 2005. They told their EU colleagues they could not put the same Treaty to their peoples again,  so the remaining ratifications were abandoned. 

Is an Irish No less important than a French or Dutch one? We shall soon see. 

Taoiseach Brian Cowen now faces the most important decision of his political life. Will he align himself with his own people and respect their referendum vote by telling his EU colleagues that Ireland cannot ratify Lisbon as it stands, so there is no  point in the remaining States continuing with their ratifications and that the Lisbon Treaty must be reopened? 

Or will be align himself with the other EU States against the Irish people, and urge the former to proceed with their ratifications on the assumption that Ireland will re-run the referendum when everyone else has ratified, as Taoiseach Bertie Ahern did with the Treaty of Nice?

 I believe he will do the latter.  Today in Luxembourg the  Foreign Minister prepare  the political choreography. On Thursday  in Brussels the Taoiseach will tell the European Council of Prime Ministers and Presidents effectively to take no notice of Ireland’s No to Lisbon,  but that the nine Member States still to ratify the Treaty should go ahead and do that on the assumption that Ireland will re-run the Lisbon referendum afterwards.   They will then go ahead and do that. Why should they respect the Irish electorate’s No to Lisbon when the Irish Government  itself does not do that?  

Thus an EU-wide problem will with the Taoiseach’s cooperation be reduced to a local Irish problem:
how to ensure that the Irish will vote Yes when Lisbon comes around a second time.

What is needed is clear enough. The details will emerge at next October’s EU summit.  Leading up to it there will be reports of mighty battles between Taoiseach Cowen and his EU colleagues. At the summit there will be a “European decision” of the Prime Ministers and Presidents  that when it comes to allocating EU Commissioners  in 2014 in the post-Lisbon EU,  Ireland and all Member States will be permitted to retain a Commissioner, although in practice there may be senior and junior Commissioners. Under both the Nice and Lisbon Treaties the arrangements for the Commission require unanimity and a commitment on these lines can be given without opening Lisbon. 

Mr Cowen will present this as a triumph  for Irish diplomacy, while his EU colleagues smile quietly to themselves.  Then various Declarations will be given – maybe even Protocols which could be put in a separate mini-Treaty – to meet Irish concerns  on company taxation,  human rights, perhaps the Laval and Rüffert judgements of the Court of Justice, maybe public services or military commitments. 

What threats or implicit threats will be needed to go with these promises?  The most obvious one is that Irish voters will be told, as they were not told over the past months – that the Lisbon Treaty aims to establish a constitutionally new Union  and that we must decide whether we want to be members of this or not, or do we want to keep the present EU as it stands under the Nice Treaty rules.  

The other Member States still cannot ratify Lisbon and establish this new Union without Ireland’s agreement. But the hope will be that this mix of promises and implicit threats will work to give a 60/40 percent majority for a Yes in Lisbon Two. 

Can anything  stop this scenario developing ? 

Later this week there will  be brief sympathy across our continent that Ireland is being bullied and that Taoiseach Cowen’s agreement to the continuance of the ratification  process has been forced. The EU elite will be seen to be ignoring voters and ordinary citizens once again, in this case Ireland’s, as France and Holland’s were previously ignored.  The  legitimacy of the EU project will be further undermined.   True democrats everywhere will be outraged.

Solidarity movements with Ireland will spring up. New political forces will come into being.

The story of Europe’s peoples against the EU’s elites will enter a new chapter.  Domestically, if  Brian Cowen follows the unwise course which I believe he will  embark on,  he will be undermining the longterm legitimacy of his own party. 

And much else will be set in train as a result  of Ireland’s historic No.


*)  Anthony Coughlan is secretary of the National Platform EU Research and Information Centre;

website:,  and is President of the Foundation for EU Democracy,  which has just published:
“The Lisbon Treaty- The Readable Version”, edited by former Danish MEP Jens-Peter Bonde, available at  



  1. What Brian Cowen is being presed to do – by the
    senior Iveagh House diplomats in league with the
    French and German Governments and the Brussel
    Commission – is the opposite to what France’s
    President Chirac and Holland’s Premier Balkenende
    did when their peoples voted No to the EU
    Constitution in 2005. Those politicians
    respected their peoples’ votes. They knew the
    French and Dutch would not tolerate having the
    same Treaty put to them again.

    De Fransen hebben misschien het excuus dat ze een andere president hebben dan in 2005 maar wij zitten met dezelfde eikel als toen. Deze boomvrucht respecteert onze mening absoluut niet, toen niet en nu niet. Bij hoog en bij laag probeert hij ons nu wijs te maken dat de Treaty iets héél anders is dan de Grondwet, en hij heeft zoveel geloof in zijn eigen leugens dat-ie ons toch maar niet de kans wil geven ons NEE nog maar eens te herhalen. Dat-ie wist dat we het niet zouden pikken, daar heeft Coughlan gelijk in. Maar dat we te beschaafd zijn om ‘m op te knopen wist-ie ook. En dus heeft-ie ons domweg verraden, als de judas die hij is. En hij zal er meer dan 30 zilverlingen aan overhouden.

    “Brian Cowen is expected NOT to respect his people’s vote – and he almost certainly will not. ”
    Ik weet niet goed wat ik hier van moet zeggen. Het Ierse referendum is bij grondwet geregeld, en bindend. Cowan is dus gehouden de uitslag te respecteren, op straffe van rechtsvervolging.

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