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If a national referendum on the EU-organizational revamped Lisbon Treaty was now arranged in Finland, what would we vote? More than likely we would be thinking about election funding and morals of our elected representatives. (Finnish politics is currently experiencing a scandal). What do these matters have anything to do with the functions of the EU and its necessary changes? Absolutely nothing.
Ireland is the only EU-country which is asking directly from its people their approval of the renewed agreement. Finland’s decision is different, the parliament decides today in a second round of voting the Finnish position. Ireland’s referendum is set to take place tomorrow. According to the polls, the opponents of the treaty are as great as those who support it. The majority of the Irish have announced that they should think of the treaty. 20-40% of those polled couldn’t define their own positions.
[TT: The reason why the average Finn would be thinking of other issues, would be due to the failure of the Finnish political elite and the media, in ensuring that the Finnish public was well versed in all important aspects to the Lisbon Treaty. That means both positive and negative points in the treaty. The Finnish government failed its citizens by rejecting an open and honest debate about the treaty, choosing rather to treat its citizens as fools. The tone of this HS op-ed reflects that arrogant mindset.]
In the end the Irish will be also voting on whether they trust their national decision makers or not. This trust will again rest upon -if it does- mainly on entirely other issues than the decision makers actions in the EU’s reform work process. Just a year ago this same kind of agreement was deemed to be in Ireland as a sure deal. The country has benefited greatly from EU-membership. membership has brought investment, subsidies and economic growth, which has reflected strongly on their support for EU-membership.
[TT: The fault lies not with the people, but with the government itself, for failing to encourage the people to get involved, as well as the encouraging all the different viewpoints to be aired in public debates and in the media’s editorial and opinion-editorial pages.]
Now the national credit recession has hit rock bottom, growth is slowing, housing is depreciating and uncertainty is on the rise. What If for example Finland were to vote now about campaign funding, Ireland votes about what it thinks of the sharp drop in its economic climb and what kind of fears this change of direction brings.
Brussels’ decision makers have tried to walk softly, so as not to increase Irish fears. For an example the mulling over a general business tax base has advanced to the first stage, so that the advantageous taxation of the state wouldn’t be endangered.
Other parts of Europe will follow Ireland tomorrow with anxiety: one percent of the continents 490 million people will decide, will the EU’s reform treaty be good for Europe. European EU-critics have of course noticed this and have offered help to support the “no-camp”. These assistants have remembered that only in Ireland is democracy being carried out, while others fled from the people’s vote. But what kind of democracy is this, in which the Finnish parliament’s -and many other state parliaments- is nullified, if only one state, the EU’s cuckoo bird says no to the treaty?