EU treaty ship wrecks: Ireland rocks

by Kurt Schulzke on June 14, 2008

Lucky or smart, Ireland has rejected the EU bureaucracy’s latest attempt — called the Treaty of Lisbon — at extending is power. A strangely bitter-sounding International Herald Tribune reports:

Europe was thrown into political chaos Friday by Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, a painstakingly negotiated blueprint for consolidating the European Union’s power and streamlining its increasingly unwieldy bureaucracy.

Political chaos? Painstakingly negotiated? Can you say, “Drama queen”?

The defeat of the treaty, by a vote of 53.4 percent to 46.6 percent, was the result of a highly organized campaign that played to Irish voters’ deepest fears about the EU. For all its benefits, many people feel, the Union is remote, undemocratic and ever more inclined to strip its smaller members of the right to make their own laws and decide their own futures.

So this all happened because the Irish are cowering in their pubs? I think not.

Although the Irish are less than 1 percent of the EU population of almost 500 million, the repercussions of the vote Thursday – whose results were announced Friday – are enormous. To take effect, the treaty must be ratified by all 27 members of the EU. So the defeat by a single country, even one as tiny as Ireland, has the potential effect of stopping the whole thing cold. . .

We could use a system like this in United States every now and then. Despite the Tribune’s pathos, Ireland’s rejection of the Treaty of Lisbon is not the end of the world for Europe or anyone else. Irish voters have justifiably highlighted misgivings among real people throughout Europe over the “concentration” of EU power in the internal affairs of people and EU member states. They were right — lucky or smart — to vote “no”.