SP offers help to Irish in second EU referendum campaign

23 April 2009

SP offers help to Irish in second EU referendum campaign

The SP will put its knowledge and experience at the disposal of the Irish 'no' campaign, which is calling on the Irish people to reject the Lisbon Treaty. The European Union is investing €180 million in the hope of persuading the Irish to say 'yes' to a treaty which they have already rejected once. The SP sees this as misuse of taxpayers' money and, in response, is looking to lend the 'no' camp its support, offering it the benefit of the experience gained in the successful campaign for a 'no' vote in the Netherlands' own referendum of 2005, which resulted in the rejection of the European Constitution, a proposal almost identical to the Lisbon Treaty.

'Know what you're saying yes to', read the posters. In 2005 the SP played a leading role in the successful campaign against the European Constitution.

SP Chair Jan Marijnissen, who was party leader at the time of the referendum, says: “In the Netherlands in 2005 61.6% of the electorate voted to reject the European Constitution. Yet when it comes to the second treaty, which is essentially the same, the Dutch public will no longer be allowed to express its views. The Irish people were not given the chance to vote on the Constitution, which after all was already dead and buried because of the French and Dutch 'no' votes, but they did have the opportunity to vote on the new treaty. A clear majority of them rejected it in a referendum last June. The EU then forced the Irish government to hold a further referendum. Idiotic. Even more idiotic is the fact that Brussels is now trying to use an enormous sum of taxpayers' money to change the Irish people's minds and persuade them to vote 'yes' this time. This is making a democratic process into an unfair battle, which is why we feel called upon to help the Irish who, just like us, have already voted to reject the EU's present course. The SP is against excessive interference from Brussels, but we are definitely for European cooperation and international solidarity, and that's why we are going to help the Irish campaign."

If the Irish do say 'no' again, the game will be up for the Lisbon Treaty, which requires unanimous approval by the 27 member states of the EU. "I would be very happy if that were to happen," says Marijnissen. “Europe is going in the wrong direction, towards neoliberalism and federalism. Neoliberalism has meant that the 'market' has penetrated every sector, even those where we in the Netherlands most certainly didn't want it, such as education and health care. Federalism envisages making Europe into a superstate, with the Netherlands as one of its provinces. Nobody has had any joy of either, with the exception of multinational corporations."

You are here