CHARLIE MCCREEVY was harshly criticised in the European Parliament and accused of arrogance for his role in the Lisbon treaty campaign.
The admission by the Commissioner for the Internal Market that he had not read the treaty was described as “particularly disappointing” by the leader of the Socialists, Martin Schulz.
“We have to ask Mr Barroso what kind of people he has in his Commission, particularly if you have someone acting as the deregulation pope in Europe who goes home and says he hasn’t read the treaty and doesn’t understand it,” he said in Strasbourg.
He was also highly critical of the Commissioner for going to the US for four days on EU business before the vote in Ireland.
“That is arrogance that we cannot put up with,” said Mr Schulz, who leads the second largest group in the Parliament.
Commissioner McCreevy, along with the Taoiseach Brian Cowen, admitted he had not read the treaty document.
The former Minister for Finance said he had read most of a summary of the treaty but insisted that the document was almost impossible to read and digest.
He said in an interview three weeks ago: “I would predict that there won’t be 250 people in the whole of the 4.2 million population of Ireland that have read the treaties cover-to-cover. I further predict that there is not 10% of that 250 that will understand every section and subsection.
“But is there anything different about that? Does anyone read the finance act?” he added.
Mr McCreevy repeated his opinion about the illegibility of the treaty on several occasions before the vote, which was picked up and used by the no campaigners.
Reacting to the outcome of the vote, he said Ireland was not alone in being unable to win popular support for the treaty. “As politicians this is something we need to learn from,” he said.
Mr McCreevy’s old sparring partner in the Dáil and Labour MEP for Dublin, Proinsias De Rossa, told his fellow Socialists at their meeting last night Ireland must not be scapegoated because of the no vote.
“If we are to develop Europe further as a democratic entity, then the response to the Irish electorate’s decision must be a democratic response.”
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