Lisbon Treaty one year on

Off the fence
Lisbon Treaty one year on

Off the fence

Roger Cole

OCTOBER 2 marked the anniversary of the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty when the Irish people were, I believe, bullied and intimidated into reversing their earlier rejection of it by a political/media elite led by Fianna Fáil that gives massive support to the neo-liberal militarist values it enshrines.
They won by destroying the Forum on Europe that had encouraged democratic debate, spending millions of euro and more than anything, they promised jobs.
Now a year later all the Fianna Fáil Government have delivered is a massive increase in unemployment from 412,000 to 449,000 and €3,000 million worth of cuts and more to come.
However the Lisbon Treaty did create some jobs such as the President of the EU for an annual cost of €6 million. It created the post for Baron Ashton of EU Minister for Foreign Affairs on an annual salary of €270,000 plus perks and an EU diplomatic Corp costing millions per year. The Lisbon Treaty created jobs ok, but only for the elite.
As previously stated by PANA (the Irish Peace and Neutrality Alliance), the treaty accelerated and consolidated the militarisation of the EU. An EU Secret Service, an EU CIA called the Joint Situation Room with over 100 staff has been created, and we can be sure that’s just the start.
The EU Battlegroups have been legalised and the Irish Government just spent the guts of €1 million to pay for Irish military training exercises with the EU Nordic Battlegroup. Sweden that spends over €100 million on the EU Nordic Battlegroup is demanding that it be used when it becomes operational in January 2011.
PANA is part of the European wide peace movement and seeks a Partnership Europe without a military dimension. It again calls for Irish withdrawal from the EU Battlegroups and the EDA. All that is on offer from the EU under the Lisbon Treaty is growing poverty and war. Now is the time to change its direction towards peace and social justice.
A start can be made by a general election where Ireland’s involvement in war through allowing Shannon Airport to be used by US troops, our own participation in the Afghan War though our military presence in that country and our participation in EU Battlegroups become major issues.
An EU based on the Lisbon Treaty achieved by crushing and intimidating the Irish people and refusing to allow the rest of the people the right to vote on it will shatter to pieces under the growing strains of war and the capitalist crisis. PANA as part of the European Peace Movement will do all it can to ensure that what arises from that eventuality will be a Europe inspired by democracy and social justice, not racism and imperialism.

Roger Cole is Chairman of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance