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Thread: European Treaty changes expected to be agreed tomorrow

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    Default European Treaty changes expected to be agreed tomorrow

    An Intergovernmental conference tomorrow is expected to agree to changes to the treaties increasing the number of MEPs in the European Parliament by 18.

    Of the 18 new seats in the European Parliament, Spain will get four new seats. Austria, France and Sweden will get two, while Bulgaria, Italy, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and the United Kingdom will all have one more MEP.

    So why is this change happening? The European Parliament says that this is because the European elections in June of last year were held under the Nice treaty's rules, whereas the Lisbon Treaty is now in force. The changes to the treaties will allow these 18 MEPs to take their seats without doing the elections across the EU all over again. The proposed changes also allow for the appointment of national parliamentarians to the European Parliament, essentially meaning that elections for those 18 seats may not need to take place.

    The agreed changes will need to be ratified in each member-state subject to their own constitutional requirements.

    The proposed textual changes can be viewed here.
    Last edited by David Cochrane; 22nd June 2010 at 01:03 PM.

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    So it's a change to the treaty, how do we think the changes will be approved in Ireland?

    Don't get me wrong, I went from No in Lisbon 1 to Yes in Lisbon 2. But I do recall a claim during Lisbon 1 that changes to the treaties without the need for a referendum weren''t true.

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    The government will argue that these changes do not effect Ireland and therefore it does not require a referendum. It will be approved in the Dáil without any voice of the people. You are correct that in Lisbon I, it was stated that no changes could be made to the treaty without a referendum. This could be then used for future changes as well without a referendum based on 'Precedence'. The last thing the government wants now is any sort of ballot.
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    Are these changes not happening as a direct result of the approval of the Lisbon treaty?

    In other words, have we not voted and approved this change already via the approval of the Lisbon Treaty?

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    The odds of a referendum are pretty close to zero.

    Since it is so minor, it will be impossible to guilt trip the voters into supporting it. Any referendum would effectively be a motion of confidence in the government.

    Now, the question is how FG will react to this, given their recent weakening of support for the EU.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tig View Post
    Are these changes not happening as a direct result of the approval of the Lisbon treaty?

    In other words, have we not voted and approved this change already via the approval of the Lisbon Treaty?
    Kind of. We have agreed the new numbers, but they won't take effect until the next EU parliament elections. This allows the numbers to be updated immediately, which we didn't previously agree to.

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    Default European Treaty changes expected to be agreed tomorrow

    Quote Originally Posted by Tig View Post
    Are these changes not happening as a direct result of the approval of the Lisbon treaty?

    In other words, have we not voted and approved this change already via the approval of the Lisbon Treaty?
    I suspect the changes bridge the treaties together. Letting stuff in Lisbon to be used for things still under under Nice. I do recall large amount of hullabuloo about MEPs that wouldn't take seats as a result of the European elections because Lisbon hadn't been put in place.

    But I think this will be an interesting exercise in seeing how this change is handled by the Oireachtas (and I wasn't suggesting there should be a referendum, i was perhaps (!) being a but glib).

    But further changes to the treaty are likely in the next few months, particularly for financial regulation in the Eurozone (Cameron this morning said he'd favour such changes) - what happens now will be indicative of what happens then.

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    Ok I don't know the fine details of the treaty or other legal stuff, but is this going to set a precedent that the Lisbon Treaty is "self amending", and that future changes, which might be more major and have a more direct affect on Ireland, can be nodded though by the Dail?
    If Fine Gael/Labour oppose any such changes, are they going to follow through and oppose them in government also?
    Will Mr. D. Cochrane regret changing sides?
    If there is a future, it will be Green.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Cochrane View Post
    An Intergovernmental conference tomorrow is expected to agree to changes to the treaties increasing the number of MEPs in the European Parliament by 18.

    Of the 18 new seats in the European Parliament, Spain will get four new seats. Austria, France and Sweden will get two, while Bulgaria, Italy, Latvia, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia and the United Kingdom will all have one more MEP.

    So why is this change happening? The European Parliament says that this is because the European elections in June of last year were held under the Nice treaty's rules, whereas the Lisbon Treaty is now in force. The changes to the treaties will allow these 18 MEPs to take their seats without doing the elections across the EU all over again. The proposed changes also allow for the appointment of national parliamentarians to the European Parliament, essentially meaning that elections for those 18 seats may not need to take place.

    The agreed changes will need to be ratified in each member-state subject to their own constitutional requirements.
    The proposed textual changes can be viewed here.
    I would suspect - but I could be wrong - that we have already ratified this change by virtue of voting for Lisbon?

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    Quote Originally Posted by QuizMaster View Post
    Ok I don't know the fine details of the treaty or other legal stuff, but is this going to set a precedent that the Lisbon Treaty is "self amending", and that future changes, which might be more major and have a more direct affect on Ireland, can be nodded though by the Dail?
    The rule here is not very clear.

    However, it seems to be that if sovereignty is transferred to the EU and that sovereignty transfer could not be foreseen as a natural consequence of a previously agreed treaty, then we need a referendum.

    Effectively, the more changes in the treaty, the more likely that at least one of them will be deemed a transfer of sovereignty that requires a referendum.

    There was a suggestion during Lisbon that the Dail should approve most of it directly, and the constitutional amendment would just list the small number of transfers of sovereignty.

    This would allow the debate focus on just those things that required a constitutional amendment.

    This change is clearly not a transfer of sovereignty. It just changes the composition of the EU parliament. The only possible argument is that it weakens Ireland's representation and thus we lose some control. However, it is a natural consequence of agreeing to the new seat totals.

    A financial treaty with things like a budget approval process would clearly be a transfer of sovereignty and thus would (should?) require a referendum.

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