Lisbon Reform Treaty: A balanced Treaty for a better Europe
The Minister for European Affairs, Dick Roche, T.D., has said that the Reform Treaty will make for a stronger Ireland and a better Europe. The Minister was speaking at a public discussion on the Reform Treaty hosted by ANO Pro Evropu in co-operation with the Czech Senate’s Committee on EU Affairs in Prague.
“This Treaty is the product of 6 years of negotiations. It will make our 27-member Union more effective in delivering benefits to the people of Europe. It will make the Union more democratically accountable by giving a greater role to the national parliaments and to the European Parliament. Through the Charter of Fundamental Rights, it will put the rights of our citizens at the heart of the Union.
In today’s changing world, the Treaty will equip the Union to play a more active role in the world. This means speaking with one voice in support of our democratic values and in defence of human rights. It also means giving a lead to the international community in combating the threat posed by climate change. It will allow the Union to continue its efforts in contributing to conflict resolution and humanitarian relief in places like the Western Balkans and Chad. It will also equip us to deal with problems such as energy security and the effects of globalisation which no country can handle on its own.”
The Minister referred to some of the arguments used by those who opposed the Treaty. “Arguments unrelated to the Treaty have been put forward by those who have always wanted to dilute Ireland’s EU engagement. They have said that the Treaty undermines our veto on taxation proposals. This has been shown to be untrue including by our independent Referendum Commission. They say that this will be the last referendum on an EU Treaty. The truth is that it will continue to be a matter for each Member State to decide how we will ratify future Treaty amendments. They claim that Irish neutrality is threatened by this Treaty. It is not. Our constitution will continue to rule out Irish involvement in an EU common defence.”
“Yesterday, the Dáil passed the Bill providing for a referendum on 12 June. It is being discussed in the Seanad today. The fact that only 5 TDs opposed the Bill underlines the fact that support for this Treaty crosses party political boundaries. Ratification is a national priority and the Government will spare no effort in bringing home to the public the importance of this Treaty for Ireland’s future. The Irish people have always been strongly committed to the unique partnership represented by the European Union. They will want to strengthen Ireland’s hand by recommitting ourselves to Europe instead of weakening it by turning our backs on what has been an immensely successful EU journey for us since 1973. When we vote on 12 June, I believe that our people will express themselves in favour of continuing Irish engagement at the heart of the Union and will recognise the Reform Treaty as a passport for Ireland’s continued wellbeing in a Europe that will be better equipped to deal with the challenges of the 21st century,” Minister Roche said.
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