Less than two weeks after the Euro Election campaign a Euro related charade is about to be visited on the Irish people. We are now being told that the FiannaFail/Green Party Coalition Government will present us with the Lisbon Treaty for a vote in late September or early October as soon as the EU Heads of State agree ‘legal guarantees’ apparently clarifying what the Treaty really means.
Lest anybody forgot, we voted on this Treaty in June of last year and by a convincing majority the Irish electorate rejected it. However, that did not please the Euro elite which was shocked at our insolence in daring to take a view different to what it has determined in our interests.
The Euro elite is comprised of the corporate or big business establishment within the European Union and the political establishment which represents it in the parliaments of Member States and in the Euro Parliament also.
The corporate establishment wields enormous influence over the Member State governments and the EU Commission as well as over other EU institutions. It has really determined the neo liberal direction that EU economic policy has been driven in over the last two decades, driving policies such as the privatisation of public enterprises and deregulation.
Initially presented as an exercise in tidying up the structures and workings of the EU, the Lisbon Treaty is now seen, correctly, as far more than that. In fact it encapsulates the strategy of the Euro elite to increase its economic and political influence across the globe. That is why we are being pressurised to vote again so that we facilitate its goal. And of course, the Irish corporate and political establishments are using the same script as their European counterparts.
Only two years ago we had another vote in this State in the form of a General Election. And considering what the major political parties promised to the voters in the economic arena contrasted with the disaster that has befallen us, there could certainly be grounds for a rerun of that election. That’s not on offer however!
Much ado is now being made of the so called legal guarantees that the Irish Government is about to secure so as to make the second coming of Lisbon palatable. It is a cruel deception of course.
Nothing is being changed in the Lisbon Treaty. It is exactly the same document that we voted on first time around. We are told that the guarantees will relate to issues such as ‘abortion, neutrality, tax and workers’ rights.’ I have news for the government. Those of us who opposed the Lisbon Treaty from the perspective of the left never raised the big majority of the issues that we are now being told we are to be reassured about.
They may have been raised by some others in opposition but they were always red herrings. What this means is that debate leading up to the second vote on Lisbon may be more narrowly focused around key issues that are intrinsic to the Treaty. This is to be welcomed as it means that we can have a serious examination of issues such as protection of public services and EU militarisation.
We have only had sight of the proposed text of the guarantees for a very short time. However, the fundamental text on which the future direction of the European Union will be based is the essential text of the Lisbon Treaty itself. This is what will count when the European Court of Justice comes to make decisions on controversial issues such as workers’ right to organise and mobilise against predatory contractors who would abuse migrant workers in undercutting agreed wage levels and working conditions in a particular industry.
Press reports indicate that there are serious objections within a number of EU Member States to giving any assurances on the question of strengthening workers’ rights. This is not surprising.
We pointed out in the course of the first Lisbon Treaty campaign that many false claims were being made by its supporters to the effect that it would rule out automatically the exploitation of workers and that judgements that were given by the European Court of Justice giving contractors the right to undermine agreed wages and conditions could not happen post Lisbon.
In fact the legal guarantees cannot address this issue to the benefit of workers’ rights since the fundamental treaties of the EU and the Charter of Fundamental Rights itself,a give priority to the rights of business to make a profit even where this means undercutting agreed norms for workers’ pay and conditions. We should not be asked to vote again only a year after we gave our verdict first time but if we must we will certainly insist that clarity rules with regard to the real meaning of Lisbon.