Friday, 30 January 2009

Czechs (and others) and the Lisbon Treaty

The Czech parliament will not vote on the Treaty until the 15th of February. This will give the parliamentary committee time to make sure they've scrutinized it enough (is the official reason, so hopefully they have definitely read it through, unlike some Irish politicans). The EUobserver reports that the majority of Czechs are in favour of the parliament ratifying the Treaty, although this seems to be based mainly on concerns about prestige, and levels of knowledge about the Treaty itself are still very low.

In other news, Daniel Hannan has blogged that the Commission plans to extend its term against the rules. Now, I seem to remember that the extension of the term was agreed back in the December European Council, so that the next Commission would be chosen in a manner consistent with whichever way the next Irish referendum goes. Since the retension of a Commissioner is one of (if not the) key concerns of the Irish, and since under the Treaty of Nice the next Commission must have fewer members than the EU has member states, the extension is key to respecting the Irish vote - something Hannan and others claim to do and call for.

This could be an honest mistake (though as an MEP, you'd think that Hannan should be aware of these things...); a stranger position to me is that of the Polish President. Lech Kaczynski says that he will not sign the Lisbon Treaty unless the Irish vote yes in the next referendum. Ireland is rightfully proud and defensive of its constitution, and would be outraged if our president refused to accept the will of parliament because of a vote in another country.

We need to decide on rules of engagement on other European politicians when is comes to debating European issues. When is it acceptable and to what degree is it acceptable for other European politicians to become involved in national debates on European issues?

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