or I break a you a legs!
H/T Gates of Vienna
IRELAND COULD lose its right to nominate an EU commissioner if it rejects the Lisbon Treaty for a second time, European Commission president José Manuel Barroso has warned.
He has also predicted a No vote on October 2nd would create uncertainty about Ireland’s place in Europe, threaten jobs and investment, and damage the economy.
“Honestly, there are some doubts now about the future situation of Ireland. Some people have asked me: Is Ireland going to leave the EU? For investor confidence, it is important that there is certainty about the future of Ireland in the EU,” said Mr Barroso, who arrives in Ireland today for a two-day visit, during which he will meet civil society groups, students and politicians.
Mr Barroso said Ireland would not be forced to leave the union in the event of a No vote. But he said not all audiences understood how the EU worked, citing the example of US firms asking him if Ireland would stay in the EU. “Perceptions count in politics . . . I tell you this very frankly. I believe confidence is part of the economy, as we have been seeing recently,” he said.
He told The Irish Times a No vote could also result in Ireland losing its automatic right to nominate a person to the commission, the EU executive branch that proposes new legislation and manages the EU budget.
“The only way to ensure that Ireland will always have a commissioner is to vote Yes to Lisbon. If not, of course we have to reduce the amount of commissioners. This is in the current treaties and we are legally obliged to do it,” said Mr Barroso in a reference to the Nice Treaty, which stipulates the number of commissioners must be less than the number of member states.
To accommodate Irish concerns following the first No vote last June, EU leaders agreed to invoke a clause in the Lisbon Treaty that would enable the commission to remain at 27 members. But the current EU treaties do not have this clause, which would prompt an immediate institutional problem if the Irish people vote No a second time and Lisbon cannot enter into force.
Mr Barroso said there was no agreement yet on a proposal by Sweden to allow 26 member states to retain a commissioner and give the 27th country the right to appoint a new EU high representative for foreign affairs. “There are different scenarios. Some people say we should have a commission of 15 members. It’s too soon to speculate,” he added.
Mr Barroso said he was not threatening the Irish people, but wanted to put across his honest and frank assessment of the consequences of a second No.
“We respect the vote of the Irish people. It has to be very clear that we are making no threats at all. I don’t want to put any kind of pressure on people. It’s up to each Irish citizen to make his or her decision,” he said.