EurActiv - Letters to the Editor

Sir,

Regarding ‘Treaty change debate divides EU foreign ministers‘:

In its present state the Lisbon Treaty explicits forbids any form of financial solidarity between eurozone member states. This ‘original sin’ must be erased to guarantee the survival of the euro. The treaty must therefore be revised. Such revisions are consubstantial with the evolving nature of the EU. Seven major revisions have successfully occurred since the creation of the EU.

The Lisbon Treaty provides for a new method of revision (through a Convention) that is public and democratic. It is not true that an agreement cannot be reached through this procedure. The real problem lies in the capacity of some member states to RATIFY this agreement after it has been reached.

Last time, the ratification was taken hostage by domestic political feuds. This is not acceptable and must not happen again.

Jean-Guy Giraud

Union of European Federalists (UEF) France

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Comments

  1. Mr Giraud is misleading readers. The bailout of Greece demonstrates that the Treaty does not forbid financial solidarity.

    The problem, in the opinion of some, is one of “automaticity” – the idea that Europe should have an official mechanism for paying the debts of its member states.

    Creating such a mechanism will result in member states becoming even less disciplined when it comes to balancing their budgets.

    It would be an invitation to overspend, because governments will know that if a fiscal crisis occurs other states will provide the money needed.

    It is a very bad idea to offer this temptation to governments that are desperate to placate voters by spending increasing amounts of money on them.

  2. Mr Giraud has a strange idea of democracy. The amending provisions of the Lisbon Treaty are specifically designed to circumvent the democratic process. What he characterises as ‘ domestic feuds’ was in fact the will of the people of Britain and other countries trying to be heard (it was ignored, of course).

    His final line, ‘this (sc. the democratic process and reference to the will of the people and their elected parliaments) is unacceptable and must not happen again, shows the contempt for democracy typical of those who defend a federal EU at all costs. And once you take as your starting point the premise that the Euro must survive ruat coelum, you can justify anything whatsoever.

  3. @Hoover: Automaticity refers to the way the sanctions on member states tha fail to fulfil obligations will be imposed. Automatically or not.

    @CIngram: The procedure by which you send people to represent you (that is, the representative democracy) has been adopted throughout the ages, precisely because ever since slavery was abolished, and the concept “daily jobs” has invaded our lives, the people (or the peoples) haven’t been able to find the time or skill required to study all the legislation and negotiations and history and records needed in order to reach a balanced opinion whatsoever on whatever legal and legislative trivia the governing task demands.

    So, whenever asked to vote on such a referendum, namely to answer a question, they often reply to whatever they think was (or should be) asked, or on what the media tells them has been asked.
    They (we) don’t reply to what has really been asked, simply because it is not practically possible to get informed on that, so they choose the next most convenient thing.
    They (we) can’t answer not even when it is about a simple tax law consisting of two and a half pages, let alone a Treaty of some 100.000 pages, really. (since they decide not solely on the basis of the treaty itself, but on the basis of the whole Acquis, as we can gather).

    Still, if Britain or another country needs to substitute representative democracy for immediate democracy, it’s a sovereign country and it can do so. The rest of European Union cannot have the consequences of such a decision, though.

    In case of huge interest clash, remember that the Treaty of Lisbon has provided for one’s option to leave the Union. Not stay just to say “that’s as far as we go.”

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