Minister Roche makes keynote address to National Forum
Minister of State for European Affairs, Dick Roche T.D., today made a key note address to the National Forum on
Focusing on the European Council at which European Union leaders recently agreed a mandate for the Reform Treaty, Minster Roche said
“The European Council gives the Union the opportunity to come out of its torpor and to reactivate
Commenting on the implications of the Council for the Constitutional Treaty successfully negotiated under the Irish Presidency, Minister Roche noted that
“The important point is that the essence of the Treaty that the Convention produced, and which the last Intergovernmental Conference endorsed, has been preserved. The reforms will be delivered in a different and in my view a less elegant form- but the essential elements, including the Charter of Fundamental Rights, can now be delivered.”
Looking forward to the Referendum which will be held in 2008 on the new Treaty, Minister Roche said
‘Among the many lessons to be learned from the Nice Treaty debate is that we must keep language about the EU accurate and clear. Above all else we must deal openly with fears and apprehensions about the impact of change at the EU level. We must listen respectfully and respond with understanding.
The fears and apprehensions relate to a wide range of issues including to name but a few that exist:-
· the loss of influence over constitutional affairs
· the loss of National control over sensitive issues
· the question of control in key areas such as labour market access and taxes.
· the requirement to adopt regulatory changes which were previously resisted at national level and so forth.’
He added that
“In so far as this country is concerned I believe that the reforms in the Treaty in relation to the principle of subsidiarity and the new enhanced role for National Parliaments will go a long way to meeting genuinely held concerns.
But, Mr. Chairman can I say that these provisions are only one part of the solution: the other is debate and full engagement on the hard issues of change - with the Oireachtas, the social partners and the public - explaining the long-term upside as well as the possible short term downside on key EU issues.
In closing Minister Roche commented as follows
“I certainly support the Portuguese Presidency’s intention to finalise the text of the Reform Treaty by mid-October when European leaders gather again for an Informal Summit in
The National Forum on Europe will play a leading role in facilitating debate across
Department of Foreign Affairs
5 July 2007