Thursday 1 October 2009

A YES to Lisbon would be nice, Ireland!

Dear friends and fellow citizens of Ireland,

I won't make too many words to kindly ask you to say YES to Lisbon tomorrow. There are just four things that I would like to highlight:

1. The Lisbon Treaty is not an evil thing but a compromise made between 27 governments, parliaments, and peoples. It is not less but also not more complex than the previous treaties that formed the basis of our Union. So saying YES to Lisbon is as right as it was to ratify previous treaties.

2. Most importantly, the Lisbon Treaty strengthens the European Parliament, the only EU institution directly elected by us, bringing together women and men directly responsible to us. Saying no to Lisbon would mean to support the continued over-dominance of the member states and their administrators in the European legislative process, making our democratic vote less valuable than it could be with the new Treaty.

3. Saying YES to Lisbon means to end 8 years of institutional debate. It is important that our legal and constitutional basis is discussed, but it is more important that the EU, its institutions, and its officials can concentrate their work on our concrete needs, not just on the abstract dimension of institutional design. The YES to Lisbon will therefore be a YES for EU officials to have more time to focus on us, the citizens, and not on themselves.

4. And saying YES to Lisbon will mean to prevent the division of the European Union. And I don't mean that Ireland would be isolated - which is non-sense, since we all belong together no matter what our democratic decisions are - but that we will get a Union in which groups of member states will try to advance on their own, creating potential conflict and thus a less stronger Union. So the YES to Lisbon will be a YES to a Union of unity, not an EU of the groups and single interests where there will definitely be more losers than winners.

So please, vote YES tomorrow, and then let's continue to work on a European Union from below, where we citizens matter most, not our administrators!

With warmest wishes from Europe,



Anonymous said...

Good initiative, thanks for this post (I am not Irish).

Funny (and sad) thing, you don't really address Irish people... You mention barely 3 times "Ireland", 0 times "Irish" but 10 times "Lisbon", 5 times "Europe" or "European" and 6 times "Union". No wonder the Irish don't feel involved in the issue, with this kind of self-centered messages.
Can't you modify the text to make it more engaging for Irish people ? Your post looks primarily aimed at other EU experts.

Best Wishes,
Keep posting!

Ralf Grahn said...


I think it is good that Julien spells out the European Union he wants for 500 million EU citizens, as well as for the Irish to be a part of it.

Julien Frisch said...

Dear Anonymous,

thanks for your reaction, and I understand what you mean, although re-reading my post I don't agree.

What I tried to do is to address the open letter to the Irish citizens (see the opening line), but I am still talking about "us", since the Irish decision is not just a simple Irish decision, it is a decision about how we - all European citizens - will live in the future.

So I talk to to my fellow Irish citizens about all of us. Today and tomorrow we are all Irish, and I hope it will be this inclusive "we" that will form the basis for tomorrow's YES.

But thanks for your remark, I take it!


declan, dublin said...

well said Julien. I am Irish and don't share the (anonynous) concerns about references to lisbon and europe. we've got to udnerstand (all of us in eUrope) that we're part of a bigger thing. and even though one can feel very small and insignificant in such a big community, and even though we all have our insecurities about nationalism, autonomy, other peoples.... this is the only show in town. individual, small countries (in terms of independent economic and social government) will soon become as obsolete as the medieval italian city states.

Ralf Grahn said...

Julien and Declan,

You are quite right. In Ireland, as elsewhere, these European elections and referendums tend to be discussed on domestic forums and in national settings.

Still, the national parliaments in 26 out of 27 member states have approved the Lisbon Treaty.

How the Irish decide tomorrow is important, not only for our governments and parliaments or the EU institutions, but for all of us who live in the European Union.

And if the EU can work better, it can be more of a force for the good in the world.

I hope that the Irish vote for an improved union - for themselves and for us.

Anonymous said...

Me again:
I didn't mean to be offensive, and I am glad you took it so :)
I hear your replies; however, I keep thinking the debate should go local first and engage people at a personal level. Then, with Irish feeling really touched by the EU, let's go broader and discuss it at EU-level.

C'est mon avis et je le partage.
Thanks for your blog, that is a reference on the EU blogosphere.

Kevin said...

Nicely said Julien.

Although for every positive piece like yours, there are 10 saying the 'evil empire' is trying to take away our hard won independence etc.

That seems to be a major problem with EU treaties in Ireland. People are told the EU is stealing soveriegnty and giving power to France and Germany.

'Ireland the country or Ireland the province?' features alot on 'no' posters. People don't seem to understand Ireland is already this province due to its size and population which make it heavily dependent on its large neighbours for trade and security.

In my opinion, Ireland is so heavily dependent on other nations we have two choices. Be a part and have a say in the EU by voting YES or step back and let decisions be taken on our behalf without having a say by voting NO.

My two cents