Thursday

23rd Jan 2020

Ryanair launches pro-Lisbon treaty campaign

  • Mr Leary referred to anti-Lisbon 'headbangers' and 'economic illiterates' (Photo: EUobserver)

Irish cut-price airline Ryanair has said it will spend half a million euros on a campaign backing the Lisbon Treaty ahead of Ireland's second referendum on the document, scheduled for 2 October.

On Wednesday (26 August), the company's chief executive, Michael O'Leary, announced in Dublin his firm will get involved because he does not trust "incompetent" politicians to win the argument alone.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

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

... or join as a group

Living up to his carefully crafted reputation as a right-wing curmudgeon, during a press conference designed to be a defence of the European Union, Mr O'Leary attacked the government, the Yes campaign, the No campaign, civil servants and trade unionism.

"If we don't campaign for a Yes vote, there's a danger that it could be lost again," he told reporters. "There's a danger that people could be complacent or vote against the treaty as a vote against the government."

He said he did not trust the Yes side to be won by "Brian Cowen, Micheal Martin, and all the other incompetents."

He termed the No side a group of "headbangers," ridiculing what he called a "ragbag amalgam of the No campaign, led by economic illiterates like Sinn Fein, the UK Independence Party and the Socialist Party."

Without the EU, he said, "the Irish economy would be run by our incompetent politicians, our inept civil service and the greedy public sector trade union bosses who, through social partnership, have in recent years destroyed Ireland's competitiveness, created an epidemic of useless quangos and feathered the nests of the public sector at the expense of ordinary consumers in Ireland."

In total, the company will spend €500,000 on a publicity campaign, with €200,000 going to newspaper and internet adverts and €300,000 on "deeply discounted seats" intended to highlight Brussels' positive role in reducing air fares.

Curiously, Mr O'Leary last October attacked the idea of forcing Ireland to vote on the Lisbon Treaty a second time.

''It seems that only in the European Union, Ireland and Zimbabwe are you forced to vote twice," O'Leary said. ''The vote should be respected. It is the only democratic thing to do," he told the Sunday Business Post.

Ryanair is not the first major corporation to launch a Yes campaign. Last week, the Irish division of computer chipmaker Intel announced that it will also battle to save the treaty.

Exclusive

Senior Polish member at EU body faces Belgian abuse probe

A Polish official seeking to become president of the European Economic and Social Committee, a minor EU institution, could face Belgian charges for psychological harassment after the EU's anti-fraud office Olaf alerted authorities.

Catalan MEPs Puigdemont and Comin look for a party

The former head of the Catalan regional government, Carles Puigdemont, and one member of his government, Toni Comín, have requested to join the Greens/EFA group - but they do not close the door to other political groups.

Exclusive

Big Oil sponsors Croatia's EU presidency

Croatia's national oil company has become the EU council presidency's "official gasoline supplier" - in a move that appears to clash with aspirations of the European Green Deal. Critics say such sponsorships pose a reputational risk with the wider public.

Parliament calls for citizens' 'agoras' to shape future EU

Details have been revealed by the European Parliament of its proposals on how to conduct the two-year post-Brexit reform exercise of the EU. But a final format will have to be determined in talks with member states and the commission.

Two Catalan MEPs take their seats - with a third in jail

Catalan separatist leaders Carles Puigdemont and Toni Comín arrived at the European Parliament in Strasbourg to take their seats as MEPs on Monday, pledging "the Catalan crisis is not an internal matter, it is a European one".

News in Brief

  1. UK watchdog unveils online child-privacy standards
  2. Alleged 'bully' nominated for EESC presidency
  3. Greens/EFA fail to agree on accepting Catalan MEPs
  4. MEPs approve over 55 gas projects for EU funding
  5. Italy deputy PM Di Maio quits as Five Star party leader
  6. EU investment bank to keep pressure on Turkey over gas
  7. 'Rare' migrant boat from Belgium to UK sinks
  8. First annual rule of law report expected this year, Reynders said

This is the (finally) approved European Commission

MEPs gave the green light to the entire new European Commission during the plenary session in Strasbourg - but with the abstention of the Greens and a rejection by the leftist group GUE/NGL.

Magazine

Welcome to the EU engine room

Welcome to the EU engine room: the European Parliament (EP's) 22 committees, which churn out hundreds of new laws and non-binding reports each year and which keep an eye on other European institutions.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. EU warned on 'vigilance' after Davos spy fail
  2. What's Libya's impact on EU foreign policy?
  3. EU commission 'lacks ambition' on future conference
  4. Will US privacy-lite hollow out GDPR?
  5. Senior Polish member at EU body faces Belgian abuse probe
  6. Why isn't Germany helping gay rights in Hungary, Poland?
  7. US retiree, scammed by former EU official, awaits justice
  8. Vienna-Brussels night train returns amid EU green talk

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us