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Voters Say No to Treaty — Why Does Ireland Hate Europe?

Ireland, the only country to put the vote to the people and not the parliament, rejected the European Union's Lisbon Treaty, which would have greatly reformed the 27-member body. The 53.4 percent rejection dashed hopes of universal ratification, necessary to adopt the treaty that provides for the EU's first full-time president and a foreign policy chief.

So why did Ireland say no? Small countries, like Ireland fear that a remote body with too much power could dilute their own voice and ability to steer their country. The "No" campaign also invoked Irish traditions like neutrality and opposition to abortion, which could be threatened by reduced sovereignty.

Ireland's population, which has greatly benefited from the EU, makes up only 1 percent of the union. Europe now must decide how to move on, although most European leaders urge remaining countries to continue with their ratification exercises.

Would you like to see a world that protects the status quo of nation-states? Or do you think globalization is pushing us toward less borders, starting with a more integrated Europe?


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Kkkkkkkkkkk Kkkkkkkkkkk 9 years
Anne, he's absolutely right. As I mentioned in my first comment the No side were coming at them with argument after argument and the standard response was "Yeah.... but we don't want to look bad in front of Europe / We don't want to bite the hand that feeds us / we can't let eurpoe down after all they've done for us" etc etc... which just didn't cut the mustard. As for people being unable to decipher the treaty, that's absolutely true. It was purposely written to be vague and open to interpretation, in fact, one of the main architects of the treaty was quoted as saying: "Public opinion will be led to adopt, without knowing it, the proposals that we dare not present to them directly" ... "All the earlier proposals will be in the new text, but will be hidden and disguised in some way." I mean, who in their right mind votes for that??
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
kiki - that was great. And your reasons for why Irealand voted against the EU treaty, were consistent with a friend of mine who lives in Ireland as well. She said that one of the things she loves most about Ireland is that they are a neutral country and she didn't want to give that up. And because she didn't want to see the Irish Constitution changed, that it was a very good example of what a Constitution should be.
janneth janneth 9 years
anne makes some really good points. but it does put the EU into crisis mode. Eirinn go Bragh.
annebreal annebreal 9 years
Kiki - I was referring to how his family (immediate and extended) voted for the last prime minister. It was because that candidate "would look after them" which I thought was weird and he says is kinda a popular thing, but obviously that might not be true. That was probably a silly thing to include. Something he brought up today when we talked about it that I found really interesting is that Irish politicians were saying just vote yes, without providing really good reasons for it, and that's what put off a lot of people. Also that lawyers and experts were called in to translate the treaty into layman's terms and didn't or couldn't do a very good job of it because it was written in a confusing manner. And that it would give votes per population, giving Ireland a severe disadvantage because it's so small. In general I just think it's funny to assume that a country that's been abused the way they have in the past would be open to trusting another country having sovereignty over them.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
Kiki, thank you! You know, if Americans had the same ability to vote on NAFTA, over 70% of us would have said no to that. Just goes to show you that the government rarely has the people's interests when making international treaties.
Kkkkkkkkkkk Kkkkkkkkkkk 9 years
Well I'm Irish and I voted against ratifying the treaty and I certainly didn't vote against it because I hate Europe! The reasons I voted against it are too complex to go into here, but the international media has jumped on the nationalist, abortion and neutrality issues and they're way off the mark. Basically, the only reason we were even given a referendum is because there are elements to this treaty that will override our own constitution and, legally, our government has to ask the people if they an change the constitution. This should have been subject to a referendum in every European country, but the only two other countries to put it to their people also rejected it. What they want us to sign up to is a vaguely worded, open ended European constitution, which means they never have to ask our permission again to make further changes as Europe sees fit. So the concerns we had at this point (including neutrality and, for some people, abortion) whilst not directly affected by this treaty could be threatened in the future. Along with this there were fears about tax harmonisation throughout Europe, which would be very bad news for our economy, a changing in the balance of power and voting weights in the European parliament and the loss of our commissioner for 5 out of every 15 years. The No side ran an effective campaign and the government sat on their collective arses and figured people would just do what they were told. They were wrong. The crux of their argument always boiled down to "We don't want to look bad in front of Europe" and with all of the fears that the no side managed to plant in peoples minds that simply wasn't a strong enough come back. And Anne, when you go to school in Dublin and get to know more than one Irish person you'll see that we're not all "wondering who's going to lok after us". I'm not even sure what that means to be honest.
LibertySugar LibertySugar 9 years
Hey XSofieX, The headline was meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek. Obviously Ireland doesn't hate the EU. I was just trying to imply that the vote caused the EU one big headache (for better or for worse).
XSofieX XSofieX 9 years
oh my, this is one stupid headline!! Why Ireland hates Europe?? uhm they probably don't hate Europe but rather the European UNION!! Seriously its beyond stupid to make such broad generalizations about Europe, eahc country is individual and unique, there is no such thing as a homogeneous European culture and I highly doubt that Ireland hates the part of the world (Europe) which it is a part of!!!!
janneth janneth 9 years
It is easier to travel in Europe now, same currency and rules. But don't you miss the individuality and specialness of each country? :ponder:
janneth janneth 9 years
In one way this reminds me about all the problems our country had, trying to create a union. But on the other hand, these countries are SO different, cultures, food, LANGUAGES.
annebreal annebreal 9 years
My boyfriend is Irish so I'll have to get his opinion on this later (and I'll most likely be doing grad school in Dublin so I'll have my own opinion much much later) but I think Ireland has a reason historically to not be into foreign rule. I mean, they were treated basically like slaves/animals by Britain. And there's that whole their northern part of their country is the UK thing. If I were Irish I wouldn't be too trusting of the EU. And personally, I think it's a good thing that "ordinary citizens" (as per the article) are given votes that actually matter, instead of deferring to legislators, the electoral college, or delegates/superdelegates. But I also think that the average Irish person - just from knowing one really well, so this might be totally off - doesn't think about politics the same way we do; they're not as strategic, they're more wondering who's going to look after them. Problem is, they're politicians, not father-figures.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Well they only lost by 4% give it a little time. Some dishes taste better when slow cooked. Globalization is in my opinion inevitable. It will probably not happen in my life time but humanity can not help but evolve and there is nothing that can stop that. Priorities will change in the future and we will realize that our differences do not have to be an excuse for war.
stephley stephley 9 years
I don't see the need to rush globalization, as it seems to create as many problems as it resolves. If Europe looks at our 50 states as an example, I can see countries taking a stand to protect their 'state's rights' as opposed to becoming a small piece of a mega-entity like our federal government.
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