I’ve been spending a lot of time this past week mulling over the Lisbon Treaty. As you all know, the Irish rejected the treaty last week, prompting much press and theorizing. Honestly, I’m not sure what I think, exactly. The Lisbon Treaty is ridiculous- long, wordy and there’s a million things to take into consideration.
There’s some great ideas in there, but I’m not so positive how it will all realistically work. The creation of a long-term President of the European Council is a much needed change. With the current 6-month interval situation, it’s virtually impossible to get anything done. Having a Pres who is in it for the long haul- and who is not completely occupied with domestic issues- will be a good tool for European growth and stability. Same with the added significance of the European Parliament, with the added codecision with the Council on more policy areas. I like scrapping the Pillar System, and the broadening of qualified majority voting because it will reduce the odds of a stalemate on policies that should really just be set. The Charter of Fundamental Rights being legally binding for the first time is a good thing- there are places within the current EU, and many more being considered for the future, that may finally change some shitty human rights areas because they have to in order for inclusion in the economic benefits of the E.U. But! Some of the issues, like almost everything involving taxes and even some little parts of human rights, climate change, etc., rub me the wrong way. I think they take too much from the member countries at once, making for a lot of new work for a vastly changed governing body to take on to be truly effective.
So…back to the Irish “No.” I think it’s very telling that the only country the Treaty has been rejected is the only place it has been put to a referendum. Obviously the citizens are much less-informed and less-enthusiastic about what’s going on, and rightly so. I’d be skeptical too- giving a bunch of rights away to a foreign body composed of people you don’t really know anything about? Yeah, understandable. I think the way the E.U. has behaved since the Irish No is gross, but unsurprising. They’re encouraging ratification in all other countries but suspending the issue til the October 15th meeting. It is obvious what they are doing- getting every other country to ratify and then pressuring Ireland into it come October. Maybe they’ll get some sweeteners out of it, hopefully keeping their beloved, lax tax system out of European hands, but it will more or less be bullying the poor, little Irish. The U.K., of course, did not help this by saying they’ll go along with ratifying the Treaty, despite the objections of the (awesome) Tories. Again though, not surprising, especially since it’s Gordon Brown we’re talking about here….
Anyway, this post has no point; I’m sorry if you’ve read this far. I’m just ranting about the state of the E.U. and hoping that they get their shit together in good enough time for some of the Lisbon Treaty’s best and most important ideas to become reality.