Wednesday

26th Apr 2017

Ireland to work with EU lawyers on Lisbon opt-outs

Irish Taoisach Brian Cowen said his government is consulting with EU council legal services on drafting possible "opt-outs" to the Lisbon treaty, speaking after an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday (17 October).

"We are prepared to go into that process in good faith," he said, the Irish Times reports, with the structure of the European Commission, EU military integration, taxation and civil rights the likely areas of concern.

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  • Brian Cowen at the EU summit in Brussels this week (Photo: eu2008.fr)

The Irish leader also underlined his personal support for the Lisbon document and used Iceland's financial meltdown to show the benefits of EU and eurozone membership.

"There is a huge body of opinion - not shared by the Irish people as things stand - that sees the need for stronger institutions, for better decision-making processes, for more effective decision-making to make sure we can deal with challenges that transcend national boundaries," Mr Cowen said.

"I wouldn't like to think what the situation would be if we ended up like them [Iceland] with our own currency," he added. "The access to the resources of the ECB [European Central Bank] far outweighs the resources of the Irish central bank or Iceland's central bank."

Ireland rejected the Lisbon treaty in a referendum in June, causing a headache for the country's pro-European Fianna Fail government, with 22 other EU states having already completed ratification.

The Irish leader on the first day of the EU summit pledged to come up with a road map for getting out of the situation in time for the EU summit in December.

But any future solution is unlikely to be in place in time for the June 2009 European elections, in a situation that will see 12 EU states lose 15 MEPs between them in order to comply with exisiting Nice treaty rules.

A debate in Ireland's upper house - the Seanad - on Thursday saw senator Eugene Regan, a lawyer and a member of the equally pro-European Fine Gael opposition party, suggest the EU runs the elections on Lisbon rules anyway.

"I don't believe any constitutional issue arises here. I do think it is a problem that we have created," he said.

Eurozone bank needs more scrutiny, says NGO

Transparency International says eurozone's central bank is not subject to "appropriate democratic scrutiny" and should have no say on EU bailout projects.

Analysis

From Bratislava to Rome: Little more than a show of unity

The so-called Bratislava process of reflection for the EU came to an end on Saturday, but there were few tangible results that citizens could take away from the soul-searching. Despite that, unity among the EU-27 has been maintained.

Rome summit tries to restart EU momentum

EU 27 leaders in Rome to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the signing of Treaty of Rome, in bid to counter rising challenges after Brexit. But new ideas are scarce.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Controlling the right of repeal

There was a distinct air of finality about Sir Tim Barrow's personal delivery of the Article 50 letter in Brussels – it certainly marks the end of an era.

Be fair in Brexit talks, EU tells UK

European Council chief Tusk sent draft guidelines to member states. He said the EU wants "fairness" and then warned against using security cooperation as bargaining chip.

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