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Labour MP: Lisbon 'puts future of democracy at stake'

A former UK government minister has warned that the Lisbon Treaty puts the future of democracy at stake. Labour MP Gisela Stuart - who helped draw up the original EU Constitution, since renamed as the Lisbon Treaty - said that the Treaty breaches the fundamental democratic principle that voters can get rid of those in power ...

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 They said it

When Ireland voted ‘no’ to the Lisbon Treaty in 2008, many EU leaders showed their disdain for democracy by dismissing the will of the Irish people and insisting they be made to change their minds.

Irish politicians explicitly promised not to make the people vote again on exactly the same text a second time around. 

But while the Irish government pretends that the Lisbon Treaty has changed since the last referendum in 2008, politicians and commentators around Europe are more honest about the fact that this will be a referendum on exactly the same text. 

Here are some of the most telling quotes from the people ‘who matter’.

“Of course, we must respect Ireland’s constitutional system, but we must also respect the vote of the 18 countries which have already ratified the treaty. The Irish no cannot be the last word.”
European Parliament President Hans-Gert Pottering, quoted in the Times, 08.06.08

“With 24 countries having approved the treaty, I am not sure whether the voters of Ireland should have a right of veto over the aspirations of all the other people of Europe. I am not sure whether that is, or is not, democracy.”
UK Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch Brown, Parliamentary Answer, 13.01.09

"The Irish will have to vote again,"
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, quoted in the Telegraph, 15.07.08

"Of course we have to take the Irish referendum seriously. But a few million Irish cannot decide on behalf of 495 million Europeans,"
German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, quoted by Deutsche Welle, 15.06.08

"It would be very, very awkward if we were not able to count on the Irish, who have often counted on Europe."
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, quoted in Der Spiegel, 13.06.08

“We think it is a real cheek that the country that has benefited most from the EU should do this. There is no other Europe than this treaty.  With all respect for the Irish vote, we cannot allow the huge majority of Europe to be duped by a minority of a minority of a minority.”
Leader of the SPD in the Bundestag Axel Schäfer, quoted by Telegraph journalist Bruno Waterfield, 16.06.08

“The Irish had become extremely arrogant, believing they owed their success only to themselves and not to Europe. The crisis has reminded them to what extent they were dependent and that could work in favour of Lisbon."
Unnamed British Labour MP, quoted by Libération journalist Jean Quatremer, 11.01.09

‘We won’t ask you to vote twice on the same Treaty’...

"There is no plan B and there is absolutely no possibility of this Treaty being subject to a further renegotiation. The idea that we can reject this Treaty and have another Referendum as happened with the Nice Treaty is a dilusion. That cannot and will not happen."
Irish Europe Minister Dick Roche, writing on his blog, 01.03.08

"We will not be asking people to vote on the same proposition.”
Irish Foreign Minister Micheal Martin, quoted in the Irish Times, 09.01.09

 “Our partners understand, I believe, that we cannot and will not put the same package to our people later this year.”
Irish Europe Minister Dick Roche, Speaking in Berlin to the German Council on Foreign Relations, 05.05.09

“There should be no Lisbon Treaty re-run.”
Ireland’s EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, quoted in the Irish edition of the Sun, 03.12.08
…“Not a dot nor comma” of the Treaty has changed

“The Protocol will clarify but not change either the content or the application of the Treaty of Lisbon.”
EU Council summit conclusions, 19.06.09

“The protocol clarifies but does not change the content and application of the Treaty.”
Gordon Brown, EU summit press conference, 22.06.09

“The text of the guarantees explicitly states that the Lisbon Treaty is not changed thereby”.
Czech EU Presidency, EU summit conclusions, 19.06.09

"From the French point of view, there are no difficulties with these guarantees since they only repeat and clarify the content of the treaties, without adding anything nor taking anything away...This does not pose problems for us because this protocol says nothing more, nothing less than what is in the Treaty."
Then French Europe Minister Bruno Le Maire, Foreign Office communiqué, 19.06.09

“Every head of state agrees that these guarantees do not change the Treaty.” 
UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Speaking to the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee, 02.07.09

“It is an explanatory clarifying text which changes not a dot nor comma of the Lisbon Treaty.” 
Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer, EU summit press conference, 20.06.09

"At the European Council on 11-12 December 2008, all countries agreed that there could be no change or amendment to the Lisbon Treaty and that we should proceed to ratification."
Then-UK Europe Minister Caroline Flint, Letter to Cheryl Gillan MP ref 71998, 14.05.09

“Those guarantees do not change the Lisbon treaty; the European Council conclusions are very clear on them.”
UK Europe Minister Glenys Kinnock, Parliamentary Answer, 01.07.09

“The guarantees do not change the Lisbon treaty itself in any respect. They have the character of explanatory assurances. In other words, the Irish guarantees only confirm and explain what is already in the text of the Lisbon treaty.”
Czech Europe Minister Stefan Fuele, speaking to the Czech Senate’s EU Affairs Committee, 24.06.09

“Ireland sought and has received guarantees, but the treaty has not been reopened. In that regard, it is a referendum on the same treaty as before.”  
UK Foreign Office Minister Lord Malloch Brown, Parliamentary Answer, 13.01.09

“Nothing in the declarations materially affects the treaty text. If there was a material difference, then the Treaty would have to be re-ratified in all the other member states”.
Patrick Smyth, Brussels Correspondent for the Irish Times, Open Europe debate, Brussels, 18.06.09

“Ireland would "throw away its future" if it voted no a second time”
German Ambassador to Ireland Christian Pauls, quoted in the Irish Independent, 19.03.09

“it flies in the face of political logic” to suggest a ‘No’ to the referendum in October would ensure that ‘goodwill will flow to Ireland’ or that the State would ‘remain at the heart of the union’”.
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen, speaking in the Dáil, 25.06.09

“Whilst the original Constitutional Treaty was technical, and correct, people didn't read the Lisbon Treaty, they didn't understand the first word about it. No real debate about the Lisbon Treaty could happen. This was a deliberate decision of the European Council”
EU Development Commissioner designate Karel De Gucht, European Parliament hearing, 01.09.09

“When Irish people rejected the Lisbon Treaty a year ago, the initial reaction ranged from shock to horror to temper to vexation. That would be the view of a lot of the people who live in the Brussels beltway. On the other hand, all of the [political leaders] know quite well that if the similar question was put to their electorate by a referendum the answer in 95 per cent f the countries would probably have been No as well’”.
EU Internal Markets Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, quoted in the Irish Times, 27.06.09

“If it is a No, we will continue as before with the Nice Treaty as a basis. There would be no need for a 'Plan B'”
Swedish Prime Minister Frederik Reinfeldt, quoted in Die Presse, 07.09.09

“democracies are complex ... would a dictatorship not be delightfully simple? ... It was easier with the introduction of the common market and euro”
Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin, quoted in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 21.07.09


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