The Lisbon Treaty is back to haunt us. It is manifest in Thursday’s referendum. It is also ever present in the dominant trail of Queen Merkel in Europe. Apart from the lies about jobs that emanated from all the major parties during the Lisbon debate the reality is that we gave Germany a double vote in many areas across, what is turning out to be, a European nightmare. Europe is fast going off the rails of democracy, transparency and accountability.
The forthcoming Treaty is about being asked to enshrine in our constitution a clause that our deficit will not exceed 3 per cent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product - the value of all goods and services produced in the country) and our national debt will not exceed 60 per cent of GDP. If we fail then we are obliged to cough up hefty fines to the EU. It sounds simple, except that our current debt is greater than 120 per cent!
The only constant in Europe is the ability of its directionless leaders to keep changing their minds, so we also have a new measure for defining a country’s deficit – the structural deficit – maximum of 0.5 per cent of GDP.
According to an analysis of the Treaty in the Irish Examiner by Tom O’Connor, a lecturer in economics and public policy at Cork Institute of Technology, “the ‘structural deficit’ is now the pre-eminent measure of the country’s deficit… The treaty enshrines the need for governments to work under the surveillance of the EU to formulate and implement medium-term objectives to get its finances into balance… the EU will only tolerate a maximum structural deficit of 0.5 per cent of GDP. It is also very new that where a country’s general government debt exceeds 60 per cent of GDP, the country will be compelled to reduce the excess by 1/20th per year, under article four of the treaty.”
If this structural deficit figure is applied in Ireland’s case, a further €5.7 billion in cuts will have to be implemented by 2015 on top of the €8.8 billion in cuts already in the pipeline and the €20 billion of cuts previously implemented. The Referendum Commission is confident that the 1/20th rule on debt reduction will not technically apply to Ireland until 2019, according to Tom O’Connor. If the rules applied we would have to make a repayment of about €4.8 billion a year back to the EU. They obviously have not enough of our money yet!
Another new feature of this Treaty is “the ‘blackmail clause’ which establishes that any Eurozone country which does not ratify it will not be allowed bailout funding under the new European Stability Fund. This was only agreed for the first time on December 9 last. Up to now, any Eurozone country can apply for a bailout under the existing European Financial Stability Facility.”
When the outline deficit pact was agreed Ireland was among the few countries that adhered to its terms. Germany and France ignored them. The German economy is now in order, hence the Treaty to bring everyone else to heel. German logic!
Tom O’Connor concludes, “It seems Irish people are being presented with momentous economic changes which are new to them and without any great knowledge of what the consequences will be.”
This Treaty is a spawn of Lisbon and German power. More and more, Europe is for the elite, with good salaries enjoying the perks of a political gravy train, fed and watered by bankers whose corrupt ways have finally made us, rather than themselves, blind.
There is something morally wrong and socially unjust about a Government that overpays itself. Our leaders are still among the best paid in Europe and more than in America. Meanwhile, services to people who have become disenfranchised and impoverished through the greedy bankers and inept politicians are cut. A smile here and a pat on the back there from politicians traipsing the home turf has long worn thin.
All the Fine Gael/Labour mouthing off a few years ago about cutbacks, care of the elderly, the vulnerable and impoverished has vanished under the silent cape of power. Strange.
To crown it all we are being bullied and harried and frightened by politicians of all hues and their gombeen-like cronies that if we do not vote yes then the sky will fall in. For many people in Ireland and across Europe the sky has already fallen. It is just that the politicians do not realise it. The bigger shame is that there is no indication that they will soon.
A Yes vote is a vote to copper fasten Germany in its regal dream. We doubled up their power with Lisbon. They are now using it and they are not finished yet. Sadly, our own are helping them. Why should we ever be surprised?