Statement on the European Constitution by Noel Treacy, T.D., Minister for European Affairs
Mr. Noel Treacy, T.D., Minister for European Affairs has accused the "No" side of scare mongering tactics concerning the European Constitution.
Commenting on the Campaign Against the European Constitution that was launched in Dublin today, Minister Treacy said:
"The Irish people will be asked to vote in a referendum on the European Constitution sometime later this year and to give their verdict on a document that is an important blueprint for the development of Europe.
While the Government welcomes an open debate on the important issues of the Constitution, it is regrettable that at this early stage, scare mongering and bogus arguments are coming from the usual quarters.
We are hearing the same type of arguments that have been trotted out since 1972 and which were repeated in all the subsequent major debates on the development of the EU; and in each case they have been shown to be utterly false.
Such a mindset is designed to scaremonger and to spread crude arguments not based on fact, that have never materialised in the past and will not materialise in the future.
Rather than undermining democratic accountability, the European Constitution will in fact enhance it. Under the terms of the Constitution, citizens will enjoy an EU that is more accountable and democratic than ever before. This will be achieved by a greater role for the European and National Parliaments, the holding of European Council meetings in public when deciding on legislation and new arrangements to strengthen dialogue between the European Union, the social partners and civil society.
Concerning the assertion that the Constitution will lead to the privatisation of important public services, those public services such as Education and Health continue to be for Member States and not for the EU.
The Constitution notes that Services of General Economic Interest ? i.e. public services, are services to which all the Union attribute value ? it singles them out from other services in this way.
It is perhaps on the issue of the increased militarisation of the EU, that the No campaign is demonstrating its most spurious and misleading side.
There is absolutely nothing in the European Constitution that will threaten Ireland's long held policy of military neutrality, just as there is nothing that will commit us to increased military spending.
Ireland will not be part of any military alliance. We will not be subject to any binding military defence commitment. We will continue to take our own decisions on when and whether to deploy Irish troops overseas. We will not do so without a UN mandate. There will be no EU army. There will be no conscription. The Constitutional ban on Ireland's participation on an EU common defence will remain in place for as long as the people want.
Europe has been good for Ireland and there is no doubt that the vast majority of Irish people recognise this. There is nothing to be feared in the new Constitution and much to be admired. The tired arguments emanating from the No campaign reflect an uncaring, crass and conservative mindset, that seems intent on spreading misinformation and bogus arguments. They seem to want to turn the clock back and shut Ireland off from Europe and the world.
The Irish people deserve better", stated Minister Treacy.Top