Democracy campaigners to make their point at Irish embassies

CAMPAIGNERS arguing for greater democracy in Europe are making their views known outside Irish embassies in various EU capitals this weekend.

The European Referendum Campaign (ERC), an umbrella group for NGOs and campaigners from different member states, is holding events outside the embassies “to congratulate the Irish for holding a referendum denied to 487 million Europeans”.

Their argument is that the Lisbon Treaty should have been put to a referendum in every member state.

But after the experience with the EU Constitution in 2005, which was scrapped after being rejected by voters in France and Holland, almost all member states have decided against holding a referendum on Lisbon.

Instead, they are passing the treaty via their national parliaments.

Only Ireland is holding a referendum, and the ERC is hoping Irish voters will reject the treaty.

“These events shall relieve the pressure from Irish people who are being told that other EU member states would urge them to say yes to the treaty,” said ERC coordinator Thomas Rupp.

“In fact, 75% of Europeans want to have a say on Lisbon and there are many concerns about its content, shared by many Europeans.

“The ratification of such a far-reaching document without asking the people will decrease the democratic legitimacy of the EU even further. You cannot build Europe without the consent of its citizens.”

Mr Rupp, who was joined at the press conference by former Green Party MEP Patricia McKenna, who opposes the treaty, said the ERC was “deeply concerned” at the manner in which the rejected EU Constitution was “re-labelled” as the Lisbon treaty.

“If this treaty is ratified as planned by European elites and if we, the citizens, let them get away with it, we cannot complain if, in a few years’ time, something is sold to us under the label of democracy but has nothing to do with the rule of the people.”


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