13 good reasons to say Yes

Why should we vote YES to the Lisbon Treaty?

1. Ratification ensures that each country keeps its commissioner. Under the previous Nice Treaty, each country would lose a commissioner to a proposed rotational system to be introduced in 2014. The Lisbon Treaty reverses this decision and provides that any changes to the number of commissioners beyond 2014 must be passed by a unanimous vote by the leaders of each country.

2. The Council of Ministers will meet in public. Up until now, they always met in private.

3. The EU Council will now be allowed to elect a president for a 2 and half year term. This new president won’t have any decision making powers however it will mean that we can put a face to Europe, especially at a global level. Also the country version will run over an 18 month term shared across three countries at a time, replacing the current system where the transition occurs every six months and to a single member.

4. The European Parliament will have new powers to overrule the EU Council’s decisions. The parliament will also now have joint control over the EU budget division. This will ensure greater accountability for the EU’s finances.

5. The Lisbon Treaty sets down concrete rules for new aspiring members (i.e. Turkey, Croatia, Ukraine etc.). Up until now, there were only vague guidelines for countries to adhere to before joining the EU.

6. The ECB will have more powers over its own monetary policy. This further separates politics from monetary issues which will ensure the survivability of the euro currency. Ireland’s membership to the euro currency at the moment is crucial to our own survivability. For instance, the rapid deterioration of the Icelandic currency in 2008 impoverished a once rich nation. If Ireland wasn’t a part of the euro currency in 2009, we possibly could have faced the same fate as Iceland.

7. The Lisbon Treaty gives Ireland (and other countries) opt-out clauses on certain matters. In Ireland’s case, we can opt-out of taxation and military defence directives.

8. The Charter of Fundamental Rights will be enshrined in EU law. This will ensure that all future EU laws are drafted to the highest moral and social standards. This will place the EU as the world leader in this area.

9. National parliaments (i.e. the Irish Dáil and Seanad) will now have 8 weeks to review and scrutinise all proposed EU legislation. A simple majority of national parliaments can scupper a legislative proposal from the commission without any further procedure should they so wish.

10. The Lisbon Treaty allows for the setup of a European Defence Agency. This will allow the EU to intervene in international crisis so that past atrocities in recent times are not repeated (e.g. the genocides in Srebrenica and Rwanda). If Ireland does not wish participate in certain missions because it feels that it may impinge on our neutrality, we have the option to opt-out.

11. A European Culture and Heritage Clause in Lisbon recognizes the influence of Judaeo-Christian tradition on EU laws and procedures. With Western Europes growing Islamic migrant populations, this clause gives legal security against the push for Sharia Law in some mixed-culture states.

12. Enhanced co-operation. This feature allows groups of countries within the EU to proceed with policies that other countries do not wish to participate in (e.g. tax harmonisation).

13. A new citizens’ petition clause in the Lisbon Treaty enables citizens’ groups across Europe to collect 1 million signatures to allow it force a bill efore the EU Parliament.

The Lisbon Treaty offers us a more efficient, transparent and democratic EU.

Please vote YES on 2nd October!

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