European deal too good to miss: Roche
aking at the Irish European Law Forum seminar organised by UCD School of Law, Minister for European Affairs, Mr Dick Roche, T.D., said:
“The deal agreed at the December European Summit was too good for Ireland to miss. The arrangements agreed with our European partners will address all of our concerns as expressed in last June’s Referendum and still keep Ireland at the heart of the European project.
Although a lot of work remains to be done, the deal is essentially a very simple one, and a very good one from Ireland’s point of view. The European Council agreed to retain one Commissioner per Member State – a very significant achievement – and to address key concerns identified by the Taoiseach to our mutual satisfaction through the necessary legal guarantees. This will involve very detailed negotiation in the spring but “the ball is in our Court”.
In exchange, the Government said that if it was fully satisfied with these legal guarantees, it would commit itself to seeking to ratify the Treaty of Lisbon by the end of the term of the current Commission.
What we now have is an undertaking by the 27 democratically elected leaders of the other Member States Union that our concerns shall be addressed to the mutual satisfaction of Ireland and other Member States. This represents a very clear and a very positive response to the concerns expressed during our referendum campaign.
While sensitive work remains to be done, I am confident that partners entered into this commitment in good faith and are ready to press ahead with agreeing a satisfactory outcome. This is an important political agreement. The legal details will need to be tied down in the months ahead.
2009 will be a very defining year in terms of deciding Ireland's future relationship within the European Union - Those who reject the idea of a second referendum reject also the right of the Irish people to examine what is on offer. - If Ireland semi detached from the European Union, will not be involved in the key decisions that will impact on our future and will not be on the map for new investment.
The goodwill exists to secure the clarity that we need on these very important issues.
With that clarity and binding agreements secured a second referendum on Lisbon can be held.
In that referendum we as a people will face a decision that, in its own way, is on a par with the decision we made when we decided to join the EEC.
We will decide whether Ireland will remain a central player or whether we will become a semi-detached and marginalised.
The decision we face is a stark one. Do we want to keep Ireland to the fore or consign our country to some form of second class status.
Ireland, now more than ever, needs to send out the clear and decisive message that we are committed to the Union and committed to making it stronger. We need to send a clear message to multi-national companies around the world that we are a central and active member of the European Union, sitting at the decision making table in Europe.
Turning our back on Europe at this time will do irreparable damage to our economy and to the prospects of this and future generations.”Top