The Guardian June 20, 2001


Irish bring down Treaty of Nice

The Irish people in the 26 Counties (Republic of Ireland) voted NO in a 
referendum on the Treaty of Nice held on June 7. The Treaty of Nice was 
presented by its supporters as a treaty to enlarge the European Union. In 
reality it was about making very significant changes to the EU that would 
have further undermined the sovereignty of the member states of the 
European Union.

Ireland was the only member state to put the Treaty to a referendum. The 
government was obliged to hold a referendum because ratification would have 
involved constitutional changes. The other 14 EU states supported the 
Treaty without taking it to the people.

Under EU law all member states must ratify the Treaty before it can come 
into force. It will now have to be renegotiated or abandoned.

Sinn Fein campaigned strongly for a NO vote arguing that the Treaty would 
have:

* undermined Irish sovereignty;

* brought Ireland closer into a European Army and NATO; and

* relegated Ireland to the second division of a two-tier European Union.

Gerry Adams pointed out that the Nice Treaty paved way for the creation of 
a new superpower, an EU superstate with its own army dominated by the 
largest countries.

The Nice Treaty further develops common foreign, security and defence 
policies of the EU, thus eroding the independence and sovereignty of member 
states, in particular, Ireland's neutrality.

Gerry Adams points out that support for the EU armaments industry is 
written into the Treaty.

The EU Army, he said, is "an army designed for war, an army to impose by 
force the interests of the EU or an elite within it. There is no 
requirement in Nice to have a UN mandate."

The Treaty contained changes to voting rights by removing the power of veto 
of individual states and the requirement of unanimity based on consensus.

Larger states like Germany, France, Italy and Britain would have trebled 
their votes in making EU laws, with smaller states seeing a reduction in 
their relative voting power.

States would also have lost their automatic right to nominate a 
Commissioner.

The Treaty was supported by the major parties in Ireland, including Labour.

"Sinn Fein wants to be part of a people's Europe where the aim of policy 
and the goals of its institutions are to improve the quality of life of all 
in terms of access to: housing, health services, education and employment; 
that guarantees an adequate standard of living", Gerry Adams said.

"We want to be part of a Europe run democratically from the bottom to the 
top, not the reverse which is the case today", he stressed.

"International peace-keeping should be under auspices of the United 
Nations", according to Gerry Adams.

Under EU law all member states must ratify a Treaty before it can come into 
force. It will now have to be renegotiated or abandoned, the latter being 
most unlikely.

The defeat of the Treaty is a big victory against the next stage of the 
development of a European super state.

Sinn Fein says the rejection of the Treaty offers a chance to show positive 
alternatives to present economic and political strategies, such as building 
a Europe of equals where all states, regardless of their wealth, population 
or strength of their armies would have an equal say in plotting a path to 
work together.

The success of NO vote in Ireland is an important win for the people of not 
just Ireland but Europe and around the world in the never-ending struggle 
for justice, democracy and sovereignty.

Back to index page