Ever since Ireland’s citizens voted a resounding NO on the referendum regarding the Lisbon Treaty, there have been mutterings about what the EU will do to the Irish for such temerity.
Heaven knows that referendum result was a clear case of the average citizen ignoring the media, the intelligentsia, the politicians, and the whole array of public support for the Treaty, to say loudly and with firm conviction, “no way, José” (take note, American MSM, academia, etc. Your boy is not in until he’s voted in, despite your desperate efforts to pull the lever for everyone).
Now, according to The Irish Times it seems that some of Ireland’s civil servants took a quiet trip to Copenhagen earlier this month to ask for advice. The Department of Foreign Affairs and the Attorney General’s office sent representatives over to ask about the Danish opt-out decisions:
Senior Irish officials met their Danish counterparts in Copenhagen earlier this month to get advice on how Ireland could opt out of significant provisions of the Lisbon Treaty in order to resolve the impasse created by the outcome of the referendum in June.
The Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten reported that the Danish model, involving opt-outs from certain aspects of EU co-operation, was now being actively considered by the Government. Diplomatic sources in Dublin have confirmed the meeting took place. The newspaper reported a delegation from Dublin visited the foreign ministry in Copenhagen to discuss the technical legal provisions of the Danish agreement from 1993.
The Danish government responded to the rejection of the Maastricht Treaty by its electorate in 1992 by coming up with a proposal to opt out of four key areas of EU activity.
A second Danish referendum in 1993 approved the treaty in tandem with the proposal to opt out of the euro as well as defence, justice and common EU citizenship arrangements established under the treaty.
The Danish opt-outs and the legal drafting entailed in the process was the subject of the discussions with Irish officials, according to sources quoted by the paper. It added that Irish officials would return for further advice if it was required.
…According to sources, Danish officials emphasised that in 1992, its referendum result was regarded as a Danish problem, not an EU problem.
I looked at Jyllands-Posten, but couldn’t find the story, probably because it’s not current. Seems as though this news took a while to percolate even to Ireland. I would’ve thought more people read the JP, but evidently this is not the case, so the story stayed under the radar.
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The most important point about the original referendum is that had they been permitted to vote, more people from European countries would likely have rejected the Constitution. Luxemburg’s and Spain’s citizens voted “yes”, but France and the Netherlands rejected the original document – that lengthy, deliberately dense and unreadable offense foisted off on Europe. Those solid rejections alarmed the EUSSR commissars. They quickly shut down of further voting and crafted a separated-at-birth twin to the Constitution, known as the Lisbon Treaty.
On the Treaty, there would be no voting, despite promises to permit such referendums. The UK Parliament, for example, shoved it through with no input from British citizens. Were they afraid of how people would vote? You bet.
The sticking point was Ireland. As we pointed out in May, Ireland’s Supreme Court voted in 1986:
“The Supreme Court ruled…that in the event of any major change within the EU that impacted upon Ireland’s constitution, the government would be obliged to get approval for that change from the Irish people.”
The Irish Times says:
If Ireland proceeds down the road of seeking opt-outs from the treaty on issues like defence and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, which provoked such controversy during the referendum campaign, the approval of all 26 EU partners would be required.
In that event, another referendum in Ireland would be necessary, but what form it would take and whether it would be one question or a combination of questions will not become clear for some time.
Jyllands-Posten quoted a leading Danish politician and social democrat spokesman on Europe, Svend Auken, as saying it was sensible for the Irish to investigate the various possibilities, but he pointed to the problems the opt-outs had created for Denmark. “There is a paradox that we teach other nations how to devise opt-outs when we are trying to get rid of them ourselves,” he said.
Last November the Danish prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, announced plans for one or more referendums to try and get rid of the opt-outs, which have caused ongoing difficulties in the relationship between Denmark and the rest of the EU.
However, following Ireland’s rejection of the Lisbon Treaty, the referendum plan was postponed.
Polls in Denmark had indicated the electorate would approve removing the opt-outs, but there was a shift back to a No majority following a European Court decision that EU states may not refuse entry or right of residence to non-EU spouses and family members.
The Taoiseach told reporters in Galway yesterday the question of whether a second referendum would be held “is a matter the Government has to consider in due course, but we are not at that point in our discussions at all yet. The point of discussion we are at the moment is examining the outcome of the referendum and obviously there will be a lot meetings with EU colleagues between now and the end of the year where it will be discussed further with them. So it’s not just a matter for our own personal consideration or national consideration, it is a matter we have to discuss with colleagues as well.“ [my emphasis – D]
“Colleagues”? If it’s not national or personal, then these colleagues of his are the EU Parliament who are determined, come hell or high water, that there will be no hold-outs.
The same problem that faces Denmark – unlimited immigration from other EU countries – is the same issue that led to the defeat of the Treaty in Ireland. The Irish Savant reports on a letter to the editor of The Irish Independent which covers the average citizen’s sentiments regarding the current problem with unlimited immigration from other EU countries. Because the numbers are so appalling, I am putting the letter in full, though I recommend that you also see the Savant’s post on the Irish homeless for some context on the high feeling this issue generates:
A simple but very much to-the-point letter this week in the Indo:
“KEVIN Myers’ recent article on immigration understates the problem with Nigerian immigration and social welfare benefits. According to the Department of Trade’s records, 332 work permits were granted to Nigerians over the years while fewer than 150 were granted refugee status during the same period by the minister for justice.
Stated Government policy and Irish immigration law prohibits the payment of welfare benefits to non-EU nationals, other than those granted refugee status. That, in effect, means the maximum number of Nigerians eligible to claim welfare benefits here is 150.
A massive number of Nigerians have immigrated illegally to Ireland. The previous Minister for Justice stated that no amnesty was to be granted to these people, yet a scheme was designed to allow them remain in Ireland called the IBC/05 scheme. This scheme granted the right of full welfare benefits to these illegal immigrants.
Those who came to Ireland illegally may, if they so choose, claim unemployment and rental accommodation payments and all other welfare benefits including medical cards. In effect, the scheme created a new category of immigrant, one that has no lawful basis. Thousands of illegal Nigerian immigrants have never worked in Ireland, yet the Irish taxpayer has to pay for them for the rest of their natural lives.
The IBC/05 scheme was grafted on to existing immigration law, even though no legislation for the provision of welfare benefits to illegal immigrants exists. No Bill to accommodate it was brought before the Oireachtas and no vote on this scheme was ever taken even though it requires a massive diversion of publicly raised funds destined for other purposes and voted on by Dail Eireann.
The scheme was implemented in January 2005. More illegal immigrants were granted leave to remain here under this scheme then than the combined total of legal immigrants granted work permits from non-EU countries over the past four years.
Some 23,178 Nigerians are registered with the Department of social welfare. How is this number possible? Extrapolating from the figures published last week Nigerians alone are receiving a minimum of €100m in benefits per year. This figure is likely much higher.
The scale of the problem is apparent to ordinary Irish people. The regulation and enforcement of immigration law and policies is currently in a state of anarchy. Resentment of this injustice against the Irish people is ignored by the political establishment and allowed to fester.
I voted ‘No’ in the Lisbon referendum because of immigration issues. This was the first public expression of that resentment. The time for a debate was before this problem got out of hand, not now. What is now required is action, deportations. We need the political expression of this resentment and soon. [emphasis mine — D]
The Connolly Column quoted Cardinal Seán Brady’s opinion of the reasons behind the Irish rejection. If you go to the article [linked next] from which Mr. Connolly drew the Cardinal’s quote, it is obvious that the hierarchy is in favor of the Lisbon Treaty, however obliquely that support is expressed. Just one more indication of the gap between the servants of the Church and the laity. No wonder the Church’s influence continues to sink:
Cardinal [Sean] Brady…stated the bleeding obvious when he said that a significant part of the Irish rejection of Lisbon came from suspicion of the EU and in particular the anti-Christian, secular thrust of EU policies. When the treaty was defeated in June, the Irish left (especially Sinn Féin) rushed to claim that the rejection was a result of fear of privatisation, the “race to the bottom”, etc which is patent nonsense. While these were doubtless factors in the defeat of Lisbon, particularly from younger and more socialist voters, they were not the real reason for the frustration of Eurocratic plans to rubber-stamp the Lisbon Treaty. Sovereignty, immigration and attacks on national culture played a bigger role than the liberal chattering classes would like to admit. Groups like COIR, which were decried as Catholic and conservative by the pro-Lisbon media, punched well above their weight and contributed to the rejection of the treaty by reminding people – quite rightly – that heroic men and women died so that Ireland could be free of foreign rule…
Finally, to end on a note of comedy, here is the final sentence in the Irish Times story:
Also yesterday, French president Nicolas Sarkozy called on Irish voters to listen to other EU countries who wanted the treaty reforming the EU’s institutions to come into force.
“..Come into force? That word is key, isn’t it?
Ah, yes, by all means follow all those countries who are enjoying the wonderful effects of tsunami waves of illegal immigrants.
Any rumblings by Ireland’s politicians about another referendum will butt up against the Supreme Court’s 1986 ruling. They must be pondering even now ways to get around it.
Hat tip: VH