Saturday

13th Aug 2022

US congressmen rebuff Irish anti-Lisbon links

  • The US Congress - members gave short shrift to the Cohn-Bendit theory (Photo: Wikipedia)

US congress members have poured cold water on a European Parliament query about potential foreign funding for the anti-Lisbon treaty campaign in Ireland, in line with expectations.

"Our congressional colleagues drew our attention to a statement from US deputy secretary of state John Negroponte at Trinity College Dublin on 17 November, completely refuting the suggestion of any US dimension whatsoever," British conservative MEP Jonathan Evans told EUobserver on Wednesday (9 December), after returning from a European Parliament delegation to the US.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"On the contrary, both Democrats and Republicans re-affirmed their keenness to work with a strong and coherent EU, comments recently accentuated by president-elect Obama," he added.

German socialist MEP Helmut Kuhne asked US lawmakers at the meeting in Miami if the US government had in any way supported Irish businessman Declan Ganley, whose Libertas organisation was among groups which campaigned for a No vote in the Irish referendum in June.

The query was made following informal instructions from the office of European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering, after German green MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit in September suggested the Pentagon or the CIA may have helped Mr Ganley in order to weaken the EU.

Mr Cohn-Bendit continued in a similar vein last week at a meeting with Czech President Vaclav Klaus, saying Mr Klaus should not have met with Mr Ganley during a recent state visit to Dublin because of the "problematic" financing of the businessman's political activity.

When asked in Dublin last month if the US government had helped Libertas, Mr Negroponte said: "absolutely not. I say that on very good authority, not only being deputy secretary of state but also being a former director of national intelligence."

Mr Ganley's company, Rivada Networks, makes communications equipment for the US government. But he has denied any US link to Libertas and promised to take Irish politicians to court for "grossly defamatory" statements on the subject.

The Irish government is widely expected to run a second referendum on Lisbon in October 2009, after negotiating a package of sweeteners from EU states at this week's summit.

The package is set to include keeping an Irish commissioner and securing declarations to protect Irish neutrality, taxation and anti-abortion laws, which would later be given legal force by being lodged at the UN or tacked on to Croatia's EU accession treaty.

Mr Ganley is likely to remain a force in European politics for some time to come. Libertas opened an office in Brussels last month as part of his plans to run in European Parliament elections in June.

Czech delay

Meanwhile, the Czech parliament on Wednesday put off until 3 February a vote on Lisbon ratification as the ruling conservative ODS party tries to secure socialist support for hosting a US anti-missile shield first.

The move means the Czech EU presidency will start work in January as the only EU state not to have voted on the treaty.

President Klaus, along with Polish President Lech Kaczynski, have also promised not to sign off on Lisbon unless Ireland overturns its No vote.

Draghi's grip on power finally unravels

Italy looked set to lose its highly-respected prime minister Mario Draghi on Thursday, after his attempt to relaunch his grand coalition government ended with right-wing parties joining the populist Five Star Movement (M5S) in deserting him.

Italy back in chaos, as Draghi quits over 5-Star snub

Italy was plunged into fresh political turmoil on Thursday as prime minister Mario Draghi announced his resignation after a key ally within his grand coalition government boycotted a parliamentary vote.

MEP accused of 'disrespecting' female moderator

Some 100 representatives of civil society organisations, including Transparency International EU and Oxfam, accuse German Green MEP Reinhard Bütikofer of disrespecting a moderator because she was a woman of colour and want him reprimanded.

Column

Albania's post-communist dream has lessons for Ukraine

Comparisons between post-communist Albania and current-day Ukraine are fascinating — and make many pertinent parallels. Ukrainians have a similar determination to belong to "the rest of Europe" as Albanians.

Opinion

Finally, the victims of Utøya got a memorial

A legal battle between locals on the one hand and the state and the labour youth organisation on the other side postponed the inception of the memorial in remembrance of the victims of Anders Behring Breivik.

News in Brief

  1. Germany to help nationals cope with energy price spike
  2. Germany wants pipeline from Portugal
  3. Ukraine urges US to sanction all Russian banks
  4. Spain evacuates 294 Afghans
  5. EU sanctions have 'limited' effect of Russian oil production
  6. Donors pledge €1.5bn to Ukraine's war effort
  7. Sweden overtakes France as EU's top power exporter
  8. Italy's far-right star in European charm offensive

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online
  3. European Centre for Press and Media FreedomEuropean Anti-SLAPP Conference 2022
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers write to EU about new food labelling
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  6. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting

Latest News

  1. Defying Russian bombs, Ukraine football starts 2022 season
  2. Sweden to extradite man wanted by Turkey
  3. EU must beware Beijing's new charm offensive
  4. Forest fire near Bordeaux forces over 10,000 to flee
  5. Estonia and Latvia sever China club ties
  6. Russian coal embargo kicks in, as EU energy bills surge
  7. Only Western unity can stop Iran hostage-diplomacy
  8. Kosovo PM warns of renewed conflict with Serbia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us