[Sinn Fein]

14 December 2000

Nice Treaty erodes democracy and neutrality

Speaking  at a Press Conference organised by the Peace anhd Neutrality Alliance, Sinn  Fein  Cavan/Monaghan TD Caoimghín Ó Caoláin said that there should be a NO vote in a referendum on the Treaty of Nice. He said:

We  are  told  we  live in a democracy. But what kind of democracy is it where a government barters sovereignty without reference to its parliament? What kind of democracy  is it where our future social, economic, foreign and defence policies are  to be decided by a Council of governments where the large, powerful states, have a weighted majority?

What kind of democracy is it where new powers are given to the EU bureaucracy to govern many aspects of our lives and to determine what was hitherto the business of government in this State?

It  is  a  very  poor kind of democracy where the parliament only discusses this massive  development  after  the  event, for a mere 70 minutes, with no vote and with  no  voice,  as  of right, for those critical of the process which is being imposed upon us. That was the farce played out in the Dáil yesterday.

The  Nice  Summit  was  the  most decisive step yet in the transformation of the European Union from a community of sovereign States into One State.

Already this emerging Single State has a common currency.

Since last month it has the nucleus of a Single Army.

The  Treaty  of  Nice sets in train the process of creating an EU Constitution - the so-called Charter of Fundamental Rights.  This Charter sounds like something nobody  could  oppose  but  in  reality the rights it is supposed to protect are already protected by the European Convention on Human Rights and by member-state constitutions.  The  real  purpose is to build the Single State. In the words of German  Chancellor  Schroder:  ``There  is good reason to accept this text as the basis for an eventual EU Constitution.'' Under  the  present  Fianna  Fáil/Progressive Democrats government the 26 County State  has  become  involved  with  the  NATO  military  alliance through NATO's so-called  Partnership  for  Peace. Last month they signed up for the EU's Rapid Reaction  Force.  By  the  admission of the EU Commission President Romano Prodi this force is paving the way for a full-blown EU Army.

It  is  ironic that while British securocrats are fighting a rearguard action to retain  their  military  bases  in the North of Ireland, the Irish government is facilitating  the  plans of military bureaucrats and careerist generals, both in this  State  and  throughout  the  EU,  who want to develop yet another military alliance.

Media  coverage  of  the Nice Summit has focused exclusively on the issue of the Irish Commissioner. While this is important it is totally eclipsed in importance by the capitulation of the Irish government in allowing weighted majority voting on  the  Council  of  Ministers.  This  represents a definitive move away from a community of sovereign governments co-operating and voting as delegated by their parliaments,  to  a  quasi-EU  Cabinet  where  the representatives of the bigger powers hold the key positions by virtue of their population size.

There  must  now  be  a  referendum  on the Treaty of Nice. It is vital that the government  does  not  repeat what it did in 1998 when it held the referendum on the  Amsterdam  Treaty  on  the  same  day  as the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement.  If  the government also decides to have a referendum on the abortion issue  it  must not be on the same day as the Nice Treaty referendum. Clearly in the unacceptable event of the abortion and Nice referenda being held on the same day, the former will inevitably eclipse the latter.

 I  support the call for a NO vote in a referendum on the Nice Treaty. I support also  the  call  for non-membership of military alliances to be written into the 1937  Constitution  by  referendum. I am happy to have sponsored a draft Bill to this  effect and I call here on all members of the Dáil and Seanad, who claim to value Irish neutrality, to put their name to this Bill.

In conclusion I commend the Peace and Neutrality Alliance for their ongoing work and look forward to continuing to work closely with them. ENDS

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