Wednesday

22nd Feb 2017

Ireland's commissioner under fire for 'poor' EU treaty campaign

The leader of the Socialists in the European Parliament, Martin Schultz, has accused Irish EU commissioner Charlie McCreevy of "arrogance" for his public revelations that he had not read the Lisbon Treaty and for a visit to the US just ahead of the referendum in Ireland.

"We have to ask Mr Barroso what kind of people he has in his commission, particularly if you have someone acting as the deregulation Pope in Europe who then goes home and says he hasn't read the treaty and doesn't understand it," Mr Schultz told reporters on Tuesday (17 June).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

He was reacting to several statements of Mr McCreevy, who is in charge of internal market in the 27-member-strong European Commission, ahead of the only popular vote on the new EU reform treaty in Ireland held last week, in which the Irish rejected the document.

The commissioner admitted a lack of knowledge of details of the treaty in an interview with the EUobserver, saying he had only read most of a summary of the document.

"I would predict that there won't be 250 people in the whole of the 4.2 million population of Ireland that have read the treaties cover-to-cover. I further predict that there is not 10 percent of that 250 that will understand every section and subsection," he said.

"But is there anything different about that?" said the commissioner, adding: "Does anyone read the finance act?" referring to the lengthy documents he drew up when he was finance minister in Ireland.

Mr Schultz said he was "particularly disappointed" by such remarks, as well as by Mr McCreevy's visit to the States four days before the vote. "That is an arrogance that we cannot put up with," he added.

Moreover, the German Socialist leader criticised the EU executive for tabling proposals on rising oil prices the day after - rather than before - the referendum in Ireland, saying he was "amazed" that it had happened.

"There is little passion for European integration, [but] there is passion against Europe. The pro-Europeans need to look to themselves. You cannot allow the No to win because the Yes is not doing anything."

Both the commission and Slovenia, which currently holds the six-month rotating EU presidency, will on Wednesday brief MEPs on the expected proceedings at summit of the bloc's leaders. The summit, which begins on Thursday, is to give the first initial response to what impact the Irish No will have on the Union's further proceedings.

In his own reaction to the verdict delivered by his fellow Irish citizens, commissioner McCreevy said: "We should remember that Ireland is not alone in being unable to secure a popular endorsement of a European Treaty. As politicians this is something we need to learn from."

MEPs set to approve Canada trade deal

The European Parliament is expected to give the green light to the EU-Canada free trade agreement, which would start being implemented in April.

EU leaders to discuss migration, in Trump's shadow

New US president Trump overshadows the Malta summit of EU leaders on Friday, as they discuss the bloc's future amid new geopolitical realities, and step up efforts to stop migration via Libya from North African countries.

EU leaders must stand up to Trump, say MEPs

MEPs have urged the EU to stand up for European values, starting with rejecting Trump's presumed choice for US ambassador, who has stated that he wants to "tame" the bloc.

News in Brief

  1. Romanian parliament buries controversial corruption decree
  2. Dozens drown off Libyan coast
  3. EU ministers approve anti-tax avoidance directive
  4. Poland rejects EU criticism of court changes
  5. German nationalist leader met with Putin allies in Moscow
  6. German housing market overheated, says Bundesbank
  7. France invites three EU leaders for Versailles summit in March
  8. Greece agrees on new bailout reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  2. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  3. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  4. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  5. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  6. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen
  7. Malta EU 2017End of Roaming Fees: Council Reaches Agreement on Wholesale Caps
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Innovation House Opens in New York to Help Startups Access US Market
  9. Centre Maurits CoppietersMinorities and Migrations
  10. Salzburg Global SeminarThe Child in the City: Health, Parks and Play
  11. UNICEFNumber of Ukrainian Children Needing Aid Nearly Doubles to 1 Million Over the Past Year
  12. Centre Maurits CoppietersThe Situation of Refugee Women in Europe