Monday 9 March 2009

Transitional Troubles?

Could Brian Crowley, leader of Fianna Fáil in the EP and co-leader of the UEN, derail the planned move of FF to the Liberal EP group? It is widely believed that he was the force behind the failure of the last attempt to leave the UEN. He claims that:

"I think the UEN has worked well for Ireland and for Fianna Fáil, we've been able to deliver policy at a European level, partly because I'm the leader"

What policy exactly? The UEN doesn't stand for much, if anything - it's a random collection of parties grouped together to benefit from the group perks (you could say this of the other groups, but it goes more so for the UEN than it does for the big 3). Perhaps someone could point out these policy gains he has achieved? I think the reason for his support for UEN can simply be cut down to: "because I'm the leader".

As for his preference for Lisbon II to be held ASAP, I would be strongly against. The Irish public may accept Lisbon when it comes with the guarantees, but you need to show you've the guarantees in the bag first. Also, it'd be a bad idea turning Lisbon into a bigger issue in the run up to the EP elections because it would give Libertas a platform without making them do the leg-work in an election which will be dominated by the economy.

Fine Gael MEP Colm Burke is also advocating a sooner referendum.


  1. It is difficult for an outsider to give Ireland advice on when to hold the referendum, but "transitional troubles" apply to the Lisbon Treaty as well.

    In short, Ireland is the key (though not only) factor holding the Lisbon Treaty and the quasi-totality of EU member states at ransom.

    The differences between the the existing Nice Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty complicate matters for getting the new Commission and European Parliament in place.

    If the amending treaty enters into force, scores of details have to be sorted out (implementation), but the Czech Council Presidency seems to sit on its hands.

    Muddled situation make it easy to escape responsibility.

  2. Well it looks like it will be the Swedish presidency's problem rather than the Czech's, if Lisbon is passed.

    The muddled situation may make it easier for the Czech government to escape the responsibility to prepare for the (possible) transition, but I would have little faith in its ability to carry it out if it had to.

    While most of the concessions gained by the Irish government are unnecessary (I'm personally holding out for a protocol on banning monsters from residing in children's closets - why won't anyone think of Ireland's children?!), Lisbon II needs to be different from Lisbon I. The Commissioner is the main point on this, but people need to be assured that what they want guaranteed will be actually guaranteed.

    All polled support for Lisbon II is dependent on the guarantees, so it'd be a bad move to push a referendum too early.