EU market and political integration are entirely different issues

IN his letter (July 13), Liam Aylward MEP concluded by advising us “now is the time to embrace the EU. Economically, we would be very foolish to do otherwise”.

This typifies the kind of scaremongering tactics we have come to expect from Yes vote advocates. Even if this were true though, it would not be a reason to vote in favour of the Lisbon Treaty unless voting Yes is in our overall long-term national interest, which it clearly isn’t.

However, it is a complete falsehood. Britain is the most eurosceptic member state in the EU and this has not stopped investors or the beginnings of economic recovery. Norway and Switzerland are two of the wealthiest nations in Europe and neither is even a member of the union.

In fact, as Brian Lenihan recently acknowledged, membership of the monetary union, allied to an influx of cheap labour from eastern Europe, played a key part in engineering our economic collapse. It is completely disingenuous and utterly reprehensible then to present self-serving economic arguments (especially coming from the same political elite responsible for the current mess) for supporting a political treaty.

Market integration and political integration are entirely different.

As Prof Roland Vaubel wrote: “The common market was a highly successful attempt to remove the barriers to trade and capital movements that the national governments had erected. It increased efficiency as well as freedom. Moreover, by strengthening competition, it reduced the need for government intervention in the economy. Political integration or centralisation, by contrast, is a threat to liberty. The more we centralise, the more powerful the state as a whole becomes” (European Institutions as an Interest Group, p 23).

The Lisbon Treaty, of course, massively centralises power in the European institutions and indeed provides the mechanisms for continued unilateral centralisation, without ever needing to refer to any European electorate for their opinion.

Michael O’Driscoll

Menloe House

Blackrock

Cork

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