Roundtable elite do not want a square deal for EU workers

SO the ruling class believes that rejecting the project of the ruling class, the Lisbon Treaty, was damaging to Ireland’s interests (Irish Examiner, July 27).

Is this supposed to be news?

The most powerful among the Irish chief executives’ international counterparts have their very own EU think-tank pressure group, the European Roundtable of Industrialists. A forum of chief executives from more than 40 multinational interests, it has been an especially forceful influence over the process of European integration which is, naturally, being constructed in accordance with their wishes.

The roundtable is consequently far more than a lobby group since it exercises vastly more influence over the European institutions and the drafting of European treaties. Competition policy, the euro, enlargement, privatisation ... all these and more have developed in the direction proposed by the roundtable.

Peter Sutherland, who likes to comment frequently on the necessity of ratifying the treaty, is its vice-chairman. As is the case everywhere, the powerful tend to equate their own interests with the interests of ordinary people.

But it is highly doubtful that targeting, for example, gas, electricity, postal services and transport for privatisation is in the interests of ordinary people.

It’s also worth bearing in mind when weighing up the value of the opinion of chief executives and other elitists that the whole deregulated economic model upon which the Lisbon Treaty is based, and which is favoured by the right, is the same model responsible for the international financial collapse.

Ratifying the Lisbon Treaty, then, would be akin to pouring petrol on an already blazing fire. We in Ireland, we should remember the treaty massively reduces our voting strength and removes our capacity to stop laws not in our interest in more than 60 policy areas.

Only the most deluded propagandists could argue this enhances our economic prospects.

The treaty also ensures a grim economic future for workers since it further undermines their rights, something that’s by and large shamefully ignored by careerist trade union leaders.

However the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) general secretary, John Monks, strongly criticised the draft guarantees offered to Ireland on workers’ rights, the very guarantees which were supposed to reassure workers. Monks said he was “intensely disappointed” with the text after meeting with European Commission president José Manuel Barroso and he further highlighted the conflict between the rules of the single market and the rights of workers.

Hopefully, second time round, the Government will get the message loud and clear that the pet project of the political and financial elite (to which the Government belongs of course) is not wanted, as has been demonstrated repeatedly by its rejections in successive referendums in France, Holland and Ireland.

Michael O’Driscoll

Menloe House

Blackrock

Cork

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