Danish parliamentarians get ready to adopt a new access law with politically sensitive documents kept secret by definition. Undemocratic and outrageouls arrogant, critics say about the ”Yes-Minister-law”.
Denmark’s reputation as a pro-transparent country is at stake, warns leading expert in media law Oluf Jørgensen: ”This will draw international attention,” he says, pointing at a unique possibility to conceal reports from a minister to a closed circle of parliamentarians:
”This is in clear breach with the principle of division of powers”
Tim Knudsen, a professor in political science has a similar comment:
”Slotsholmen (home of the parliament and governmental departments on a tiny island in Copenhagen) shields itself and weakens democracy.”
These comments are triggered by a proposed new legislation on access to official documents. One single paragraph causes the uproar:
”The right of access does not include internal documents and information exchanged at a time when there is specific reason to believe that a minister has or will have a need for the advice from an civil service and assistance between:
1) A ministry department and its subordinate authorities.
2) Various ministries.”
An agreement culture
In a previous version, tabled by the then liberal-conservative government, this clause was explicitly called exemption for ”services to ministers”. This should not be mixed up with ”internal working papers”, known in many access laws, as the exemption covers documents in their final version as well as document sent to and from different ministerial department and authorities.
As the proposal now has been re-tabled by the present government (centre-left) the provocative and ridiculed term ”services to ministers” has been deleted.
Minister of Justice Morten Bødskov (Social Democrats) argues that the change of words is important, while representatives of the former government fail to see the change in substance.
The urge among Danish politicians to ring-fence correspondence between authorities and ministers can be explained by an established culture where parties enter into pre-legislative negotiations and agreements before proposals are officially tabled.
This is demonstrated at length by how the proposed law has been dealt with.
Behind closed doors
As journalists grew aware of what was in the making they asked for access to documents related to the secretive talks between the former and the present government. This was denied.
Also, suggestions to make the new proposal subject to an official hearing have been rejected.
”This is outrageously arrogant,” says Pernille Skipper, MP of the Red-Green Alliance a leftist party, being part of the government’s political platform in the parliament. Right wing Danish People’s party and Liberal Alliance oppose the proposal as well.
None of the three parties have themselves held governmental positions, contrary to the parties now backing the law.
According to the critics some of the well known political affairs recently would most likely not had been known by the public had the proposed law been in force.
This includes deliberate attempts by the previous government to bypass international conventions on refugees, and a on going case about prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt’s personal taxes. In this case members of the former government are suspected of having intervened in decisions taken by the tax authorities, with the purpose to discredit a political opponent.
In spite of the strong criticism, it is assumed that the proposal will pass in Parliament later in spring as a majority of the parties already have agreed to adopt the law.
Readers known to the political process in the EU would recognise this as a parallel to the so called trilogs (”three partite negotiations”) where the Commission and the Council negotiate with representative of the Parliament behind closed doors, leaving the public in the dark, and non-participants only to accept a done deal.
Staffan Dahllöf is a Swedo-Danish journalist specialising in EU issues
35.410 signatures handed over to the European Affairs Committee.
The signatures are not just about a referendum, but they also reflect the need for a broad discussion on the matter, said MEP Søren Søndergaard from the Danish People´s Movement against the EU, when the signatures were handed over to the Danish Parliament’s European Affairs Committee yesterday by a delegation of organizations, which have supported the petition actively.
In a short period a total of 35.410 signatures were collected online, in workplaces, on the streets and others places from Danes, who wants to vote on the new Euro Treaty, the so called Fiscal Treaty.
“We see it as symbolic that the Fiscal Treaty is being debated on the same day as the Irish referendum takes place. I have recently been in Ireland twice and I have been very impressed by the great debate they have had. We too have previously experienced a massive public debate during referenda,” said Søndergaard as he handing over the signatures.
“The purpose of the signatures was, of course, to underline what the opinion polls have shown: a desire for a referendum, but it has also been a desire to have a debate instead of a simple parliamentary resolution. Whether you are an EU supporter, sceptic or EU opponent, it is dangerous if people are being excluded from crucial decisions!”
On Thursday May 31th, at the same time as our Parliament is debating the Fiscal Treaty the Danish People’s Movement will have an event for a referendum between 11.00 and 12.00 in front of the Christiansborg Palace (The Danish Parliament).
For further information or comments, please contact: Søren Søndergaard, MEP on mobile +45 40 45 38 39 or Ib Roslund CIO on mobile + 45 20 16 65 67 or Lave K. Broch, campaign coordinator on mobile +45 28 92 21 27
The Danish People’s Movement against the EU secretariat at telephone + 45 35 36 37 40 or e-mail: email@example.com
A fresh poll reveals a clear majority for keeping the EU Opt-Outs. ”This shows how wrong it is to hand over power to the EU without asking the people,” according to Søren Søndergaard, MEP for the Danish People’s Movement Against the EU, calling for a referendum on the surrender of sovereignty in the area of finance.
Today (Nov. 15, 2011) Morgenavisen Jyllands-Posten, a Danish daily, is publishing a poll made by the Rambøll institute. This poll shows a clear majority for keeping not only the Euro Opt-Out, but also the Opt-Outs on Justice and Home Affairs and on Defence, which the Government are planning to abolish after referenda.
63.2 per cent of the respondents want to keep the Euro Opt-Out, while only 25.8 per cent want to abolish it. 47.5 per cent want to keep the Opt-Out on Defence, while 31.1 per cent want to abolish it. 45.1 per cent want to keep the Opt-Out on Justice and Home Affairs, while 33.7 want to abolish it.
”These figures mirror a deep and widespread anxiety about the entire EU project. They show how wrong it is to hand over power to the EU without asking the people. At the background of this poll it would in a democratic sense be irresponsible to hand over more power over financial policies,” according to Søren Søndergaard, MEP for the Danish People’s Movement Against the EU, calling for a referendum on the surrender of sovereignty in the area of finance (including the Euro Plus Pact and the six Directives on Financial Governance).
Further information from, and comments to: Søren Søndergaard, MEP, +45 40 45 38 49, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or Ib Roslund, Information Officer, +45 33 36 37 40, e-mail: email@example.com
Wishing you every success with your annual convention.
The Danish People’s Movement has been an invaluable part the Danish political landscape for many years. Despite the many obstacles, both blatant and subtle, erected by the EU establishment, your movement has managed to survive and remain central contributor to debates on the EU and how it impacts on the key fundamental principles of democracy. However, your impact has not just been at a national level. Throughout all the member states of the EU your effect has been felt and for this we are eternally thankful.
The impact of your organization has been felt right across EU member states. Campaign’s on EU referenda have not only been inspired by you but have also received invaluable and crucial support in trying to defeat further EU treaty changes that have further eroded our democracies.
At this crucial period of EU chaos it is essential that you keep up the good work so that you can help like-minded groups in other countries.
Without your inspiration and support the No votes to EU treaty change may never have happened.
Both TEAM and the EUD have come about as a result of your work and campaign and members of both organizations will be looking forward to working together with you in the crucial months and years ahead.
Denmark is now facing yet another attempt to erode the few democratic protection measures that you have managed to achieve over the years – your opt-outs of Justice & Home Affairs, Military and EURO seem to be once again under threat. Many people across the EU are envious of your achievements and we will endeavor to help you in fighting against the forthcoming attempts to remove your valuable opt-outs.
Sincere best wishes for your future success.
Coordinator of TEAM
President - EUD
50 per cent of the Danes would vote No to replacing the Danish Krone with the Euro, according to a poll published on February 11th, 2011. Only 41 per cent would vote Yes.
This result is particularly remarkable because it comes after Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s announcement that it is time to reconsider the Danish opt-out on the Euro.
The Prime Minister’s declaration was prompted by the Sarkozy-Merkel proposal for an Euro-compact for control over the member countries’ finances.
”The Danish people have realized that the Euro is a failure. The whole Euro system is a failed construction in which the German economy is almost all-dominating. Consequently it is an illusion that Denmark would gain any influence by entering the Euro Zone,” says Søren Søndergaard, MEP for the Danish People’s Movement Against the EU.
The Danes have already voted no to the Euro in three referendums, in 1992 on the Maastricht Treaty, in 1993 when the Danish opt-outs were annexed to the Edinburgh Decision, and in the 2000 referendum on the Euro opt-out.
Luise Hemmer Pihl
On January 11, 2011, Denmark’s Supreme Court ruled that 35 citizens shall be allowed to take the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary to court on the issue of the way in which the Lisbon Treaty was ratified by the Danish Government.
The 35 citizens claimed that the Government had committed a breach of the Danish Constitution, §20,2, by ratifying the Lisbon Treaty without either having a five sixth majority in Folketinget, the Danish Parliament, or a majority in a referendum.
The Supreme Court only reached the decision that the 35 citizens should be allowed to have the issue tried, after 30 months of tug-of-war between the 35 and the Government, the latter insisting that the citizens had no such right as they had no personal legal interest in the issue.
The ruling means that the 35 citizens will now be able to take the issue to court. Also, the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary will have to pay part of the legal expenses of the 35 citizens, while they themselves will still have to fund a considerable sum.
The lawyer representing the 35 citizens, professor dr. Ole Krarup, former MEP for the Danish People’s Movement Against the EU, comments: ”This is a very important signal to Folketinget that the Constitution should be respected, and it is a victory for democracy”.
Binding the euro to the krone would make more sense that the other way round, says an American economist Peter Schiff:
”As Denmark is pursuing a financial and monetary policy that is better than that of other European countries, it does not make sense to bind the krone to the euro. In actual fact it would make more sense to bind the euro to the Danish krone. If you want to cheat in an examination you do after all glance towards the cleverest guy in the class – not towards the most stupid one.”
This is the unambiguous message to the politicians and people of Denmark in an exclusive interview at epn.dk with the American economist and president of the investment company Pacific Capital, Peter Schiff, who has become well known for predicting the global financial crisis.
The interview can be found (alas, in Danish) here.
We urge the Danish parliament to ask the people of Denmark before continuing to transfer sovereignty to the EU in the economic area, says The People’s Movement against the EU in Denmark
The AGM of The Peoples Movement against EU was held in Aarhus the 30th-31st October and gathered up to 200 participants from Denmark and abroad. The AGM was especially marked by dissatisfaction with the fact that a majority of the Danish parliament apparently will say yes to the Lisbon Treaty changes. This allows the EU to establish a fund for countries in financial difficulties. It comes just 11 months after the Treaty entered into force. This is one more step in the transfer of sovereignty in the economic area from the national parliament to the EU. The money for the fund can only come from the member countries with a further increase in Denmark’s net contribution. A contribution that is already more than 10 billion Danish Kroner (about 1,3 billion Euro) a year. We therefore call on the parliament to ask the Danish population, before continued transfer of sovereignty to the EU in the economic area, says the national board of The Peoples Movement at the AGM.
Reunion of the Danish opposition to the EU
The AGM was marked by the new situation for the cross-political opposition to the EU in Denmark after the former MEP Jens-Peter Bonde’s June Movement was closed last year after the defeat in the elections to the EU parliament. After the June Movement is closed forces must unite in the People’s Movement, says co-founder of the June Movement and former long-standing board member of the June Movement Niels I. Meyer. He was candidate in the elections to the national board of The People’s Movement and was elected. Several key members of the June Movement have also joined the People’s Movement lately.
Statements, prizes and greetings
The AGM demanded respect for the Danish euro opt out and urged the parliament to denounce the possibility for the French president to appoint members of the EU parliament. The AGM also adopted a statement saying that Denmark should give the UN peace work in Western Sahara higher priority than the EU’s interests by rejecting a fishery agreement with Morocco if it covers Western Sahara.
Max Andersson, spokesperson for the EU-committee in the Swedish Green Party, was handed over the international Clog Award (award for standing firm on the EU-issue) for his efforts against the EU and the euro. The Danish Clog Award went to two local trade unions for a many months long dispute in Brønderslev against underpayment of Polish workers.
The AGM received greetings from TEAM, EU Democrats, People’s Movement in Ireland, Heimssyn in Iceland, No to the EU, Norway, Folkrörelsen No to the EU in Sweden and Alternative to the EU in Finland.
Read more about The Peoples Movement against the EU in Denmark.
10 years ago - on September 2000 – a clear majority in Denmark voted against replacing the Danish krone with the euro, despite threats of economic ruin and people having to give up their homes.
Today we can see that the catastrophe never materialized. In fact the countries outside the euro zone have generally fared better financially than those that have adopted the euro. Consequently, we congratulate the Danish pdople on their wise decision.
Despite the NO to replace the krone with the euro the various Danish government have insisted on linking the krone to the euro. And lately the internal rules for eurozone countries have been used as an argument for cutting public spending in Denmark.
But the example of Sweden shows that a total independence from the euro and its severe rules offers opportunities for financial progress. For that reason the Danish People’s Movement Against the Euro appeals to the government to give up the ties to the euro completely to restore the freedom to act in the financial area.
The Danish People’s Movement Against the EU
By Søren Søndergaard, MEP for The Danish People’s Movement Against the EU
There is cause for anxiety as the Danish Government has already accepted the notion of the EU having new revenues from taxation.
The Government wants to use the Danish EU presidency during the first six months of 2012 to work for new EU taxes, it appears from a letter from Foreign Secretary Lene Espersen to Søren Søndergaard, MEP for the Danish People’s Movement Against the EU.
After having rejected direct EU taxation the foreign secretary’s letter says that Denmark will not reject ”the introduction of sources of income following from EU legislation”. And the letter ends with the following passage: ”As we are to hold the Presidency it will of course be our responsibility to further a compromise in the negotiations on the future financial perspectives, which will undoubtedly be very difficult, and in that connection we shall among other things have to consider various models for financing the EU budget.”
There is cause for anxiety as the Government has already accepted the notion of the EU having new revenues from taxation apart from what national parliaments approve. That will be yet another step towards making the EU system independent of the democratic decision making processes in the individual countries.
I shall urgently appeal to the Europe Committee of Folketinget, the Danish Parliament, to reject the Government’s plans for new taxes.
Søren Søndergaard, MEP, the Danish People’s Movement Against the EU
A copy of the letter (In Danish) from the Foreign Secretary to Søren Søndergaard can be order by e-mailing to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Polls in UK, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Estonia show a clear No to the Euro
21st of July 2010
In at least five EU countries there is a majority against the Euro. In referendums you can’t vote “unsure” – only Yes or No count. Therefore below “unsure” has been taken out of results.
In June 2010 polls have been carried out in Denmark, Sweden, Germany and Estonia all showing a clear No.
In Denmark, Danmarks Statistik made the poll for Danske Bank, showing that 56 per cent would vote No if there where a referendum today.
In Sweden, Statistiska centralbyrån SCB made it, showing that 68 per cent would vote No.
In Germany it was Ipsos who made it, showing that 63 per cent would vote No.
In Estonia, TNS Emor made it, showing that 56 per cent would vote No.
In the United Kingdom, the latest poll is from April 2010, made by YouGov, showed that 76 would vote No.
Out of these five EU countries only Germany has the Euro today. The German government has no intention of calling a referendum on the Euro. The EU has said finally Yes to admitting Estonia to the eurozone from January 2011, and the Estonian government has no intention of having any referendum. In Denmark, it is still the official goal of the government to call a referendum with the view of securing a Yes. The governments of the United Kingdom and Sweden have chosen the opposite position, shelving all plans of a referendum on this issue.
French think euro exacerbates crisis
So far we do not have any polls on Yes or No to the Euro from other EU countries. If anyone knows about recent polls, please send us a link about it to ib (at) folkebevaegelsen.dk. However we have found an interesting poll from France made in June 2010 by TNS Sofres for Europa 1, itélé and Le Monde. It shows that 68 per cent of the French think that euro will exacerbate the consequences of the crisis (read more in Le Figaro)
Source: Folkebevaegelsen mod EU, Denmark
The WSJ reports that the European Commission has said it will accept Greece’s plan to reduce its government budget deficit, but warned that further spending cuts and new taxes might be needed to fix the country’s public finances. According to FT Deutschland, the European Commission has put Greece under de-facto EU supervision.
Trade unions in Denmark have reacted strongly to suggestions that the Commission could demand pay-cuts in Greece, Danish paper Politiken reports. The FOA, a Danish trade union which represents most of the country’s public sector workers, has warned that the Commission’s demands could force the union to recommend a No vote in a future Danish referendum on euro membership. “That the EU intervenes in setting [national] wages is completely unacceptable”, Dennis Kristensen, head of the FOA, is quoted saying. The FOA has previously stayed neutral in referenda questions.
The Telegraph quotes EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia saying the Greek targets will be enforced vigorously: “Every time we see or perceive slippages, we will ask for additional measures to correct these slippages. Never before have we established so detailed and tough a system of surveillance”.
The Guardian looks at the possibility of a Greek bail-out and quotes a senior official in Brussels saying, “For political reasons there can be no bailout, but the eurogroup can act with the Greeks to reform. We have a monetary union, a system for supporting the currency, interdependence.”
Die Welt reports on a study by the Cologne Institute for Economic Research, which favours IMF intervention as a solution for Greece, with a researcher quoted saying that “one could question whether EMU institutions have the necessary powers to persist and sanction budgetary discipline”, adding “it’s better that the IMF imposes disciplines on the indebted countries than that Eurozone countries fight amongst each other and political tensions emerge.”
Meanwhile, the FT reports that eurozone governments have borrowed a record €110bn from the markets so far this year, forcing up borrowing costs for those countries with the weakest public finances.
via Open Europe
Statement from the executive board of The People’s Movement against the EU in Denmark
The People’s Movement against the EU finds it reprehensible that the Danish Government wants to put pressure on the Icelandic population by threatening to withdraw Danish loan offers, if Icelanders say “no” to pay 27 billion kroner (4 billion euro) to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
It is unfair that Iceland’s population should pay an amount to cover the reckless borrowing that people in these countries have recorded in Icelandic banks. Denmark must therefore act to ensure that the British and the Dutch government cover the losses themselves. This applies all the more so as the British government during his time even recommended municipalities to incorporate Icelandic loans.
As the British newspaper Financial Times writes in an editorial on 7th January, the amount is of a negligible size for the two large countries, whereas it would be a disaster for Icelanders to pay it.
From the website int.folkebevaegelsen.dk
How is it that we, the citizens, have no legal interest in a treaty to which our government is attaching such great importance, asks Ditte Staun from the People’s Movement Against the EU after the High Court declined treating the suit concerning a breach of our constitution in connection with the Lisbon Treaty.
October 28 2009 Østre Landsret (one of the two high courts in Denmark) dismissed the suit which had been filed against the government by Ole Krarup, Niels Hausgaard, Helge Rørtoft-Madsen and 35 other citizens, claiming that it had committed a breach of the constitution by ratifying the Lisbon Treaty. The plaintiffs are of opinion that the treaty is in defiance of the Danish constitution and ought to have been submitted to the citizens in a referendum. The Junior Counsel to the Treasury, representing the government, is of opinion that the plaintiffs have no legal interest in the issue and that it should consequently be dismissed. The judges of the High Court found for the Junior Counsel to the Treasury. Now the plaintiffs will lodge an appeal with the Supreme Court.
In 1993, when a number of citizens accused the then government for breach of the constitution in connection with the Maastricht Treaty, the High Court also dismissed the interest of the citizens in the issue. The suit was taken to the Supreme Court which found that the citizens had an interest in the issue. But today the High Court is of opinion that this does not apply to the Lisbon treaty. (excuse us??)
It is no surprise to us that the High Court once more finds that citzens have no legal interest in the consequences of the treaty. If quite ordinary citizens have no interest in the issue, who has? We are looking forward to see the issue being tried at the Supreme Court, and we trust that the Supreme Court will at the very last give weight to the citizens’ fundamental interest in the influence and effects of the treaty, says Ditte Staun, spokesperson for the People’s Movement Against the EU.
The government is of opinion that this treaty is of tremendously great importance to us. Then how can their own counsel maintain that we, the citizens, have no legal interest in this matter?
Read more at int.folkebevaegelsen.dk.
At a press conference of Europeans organised yesterday by the Irish No campaign, Professor Dietrich Murswiek from the University of Freiburg said that the media had given the “completely wrong impression” of the ruling on the Lisbon Treaty by the German Constitutional Court. He said that the Court didn’t approve of the Treaty, because it damaged German democracy and sovereignty. The only way it could be passed, Murswick said, was if Germany adopted reforms which would “repair” the damage the Treaty did to national democracy. He said that since the Irish had not taken any similar measures, the Irish people should vote No to the Treaty on democracy grounds.
On a question from a journalist on whether it could really be correct that the entire Irish political establishment, including employer organisations and main political parties, are wrong about the Lisbon Treaty, Professor Murswiek said the German government said exactly the same thing about the Lisbon Treaty before it was challenged in the German Constitutional Court. However, he said, the Court ruling showed that the “German establishment got it wrong”.
The speakers also talked about the pan-European No campaign “Europe Says No - No to Lisbon, Yes to democracy”, established this month.
The Irish Independent reports on the press conference, and quotes Danish MEP Soren Sondergaard saying that he had to “think twice” about coming to Ireland to back the ‘No’ campaign, but that the “interference” by the EU Commission led to his decision to call on Irish voters to reject the Treaty.
Lisbon Treaty event in front of Irish embassy in Copenhagen today Thursday from 15.30 to 16.30
Letter from 11 organizations will be handed over to Irish ambassador in Denmark
11 Danish organizations will make a common event due to the Irish referendum on the Lisbon Treaty the 2nd of October. The event will take place in front of the Irish embassy, Østbanegade 21 in Copenhagen today Thursday the 24th of September from 15.30-16.30.
The Danish entertainer Niels Hausgaard, former professor of law and MEP Ole Krarup and Finn Sørensen from Trade Unions against the European Union are among the speakers while Arne Würgler will sing songs for the participants and activists which are holding a banner demanding respect for the Irish no and a wish for treaty referendums in other EU countries.
An open letter to the Irish population will be handed over to the Irish ambassador around 16.00.
The 11 organizations are:
• Attac Denmark
• Citizens’ Initiative Yes to Europe - No to the EU Constitution
• Trade Unions against the European Union
• People’s Movement against the EU
• Europe of Nations - Supporters of the European Community against more Union – Frank Dahlgaard’s phone number 0045-44 44 62 29
• Necessary Forum
• EU-critical Network of Social liberals
• Social democratic Network Europe – Nicolas E. Fisher phone number: 0045- 23 22 44 82
• The think-tank New Agenda
• Challenge Europe
• Youth against EU
Full letter reads:
Henrik Brors: Sweden among losers as new EP emerges
Henrik Bors, writing in Swedish newspaper DN, says that Sweden, along with Denmark and Finland emerged as the greatest losers as the new European Parliament power structures became clear. Swedish MEPs were unable to land any of the more important chairmanships in the new parliament as they all went to larger countries.
Surprise, surprise… the big ‘uns - Italy, Germany, France, Great Britain and Poland took all the spoils.
addition (on July 28th)
The French Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs has hailed France’s presence on European Parliament committees, saying “With 4 committee and sub-committee chairs, France has only one chair less than Italy, is equal to Germany and is ahead of the UK and Spain.” He added that France “is one of the leading European countries in terms of the number of vice presidents.”
Today’s EU Summit on Ireland
On Friday 19th of June, little before 3 pm, the Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen entered his briefing room on the 20th floor in the Justus Lipsius building in Brussels to claim a big political victory.
“We came to have legally binding guarantees, and we got them.”
The Irish had arranged a drama with the Council presidency and the British delegation by leaking a confidential letter from the Irish Prime Minister to the other Prime Ministers. He asked them to support a legally binding protocol on Irish concerns, to be able to call and win a second Lisbon referendum.
The British played their role to perfection. It would be very difficult to deliver that to the Irish. The negotiations could not be finished on the first day. The prime ministers needed to use the night for these very difficult negotiations - resulting in a document that was actually finalised days before…
The press was then invited to play their role in what looked like a re-play of the famous fairy tale of Hans Christian Andersen: The Emperor’s New Clothes. Claim a big Irish victory to help the Irish Prime Minister convince the Irish voters to change their No into a Yes.
There is no real content in these so-called Irish guarantees. But they will be inserted in the next treaty following the implementation of the Lisbon Treaty. It may be the next accession treaty with Croatia.
It could also be with a new protocol changing the numbers of seats of the European Parliament. Any treaty can include the document or part of the document called “Ireland and the Treaty of Lisbon”.
It will make it legally binding. Until then it exists simply as a political agreement between prime ministers to agree on something at some point in the future. This is possible politically, but not legally. No government can bind the next government. No parliament can bind voters to come back and give support for this Protocol.
If Ireland insists that the agreement made on 19 June is legally binding, there is only one way forward: to open the ratification process on the Lisbon Treaty again and have all 27 member states sign and ratify an amended Lisbon Treaty.
They cannot claim a legally binding victory and then avoid the necessary ratification together with the Lisbon Treaty. Under EU law a protocol is only legally binding when it is ratified by all member states. There is no third way. You cannot have your cake and eat it. Not-binding is still not identical with binding.
There is now a possibility of re-opening the debate of the Lisbon Treaty. Others may have other suggestions, for example seeking legally binding protocols on Democracy, Accountability and Transparency. These are more needed than the Irish assurances, since the latter change nothing.
But they establish enough legal uncertainty on the interpretation of existing treaty articles to make it fully legitimate to require new ratifications in all Member State parliaments.
Hopefully some parties, MPs and at least one President - Czech President Vaclav Klaus - may now demand that.
Lawyers will support this argument. For example, I have received the following comment from Mr Leolin Price CBE QC today: “The Lisbon Treaty is not yet in force. To be in force it requires ratification by all Member States. The Irish ‘No’ means that the present position in domestic UK law is that the Treaty is not yet operative and does not have any relevant legal status.”
Changes to the Treaty to help the Irish Government get the Irish “No” replaced, in a Second Referendum, by a new Irish “Yes”, will mean that existing ratifications by member states, including the UK, will be without effect; and re-ratification of the Treaty including the changes, will be necessary in order to give the changed Treaty operative effect and status under UK law.
” ‘Guarantees’ given to the Irish, or new ‘interpretations’ which change the effect of the Treaty have the same consequence as any more formal changes: They make existing ratifications irrelevant and require re-ratification by all member states which have so far given their ratification. In particular the UK ‘ratification’ already given will not be effective and under UK law there will have to be a new ratification in order to give any effect to the Treaty. “
In 1992 the Danish government tried to bind a future Danish parliament by ratifying a change to come at a later day. A professor of State law, the late High Court judge Henrik Zahle, issued a memorandum against “giving up sovereignty in advance”. The Danish Government had to withdraw this future decision from the Referendum Bill and give a free hand to future politicians. It is just as illegal to try to bind future politicians as to include the Irish Assurances in a future treaty.
It is not possible. Then, the Irish Government will claim the commitment is legal under international law. The agreement will be sent to the register of international agreements at the United Nations and thereby be legally binding between governments.
This is a breach of the Lisbon Treaty Art. 344 and the similar rule in the Nice Treaty forbidding Member States from settling conflicts of interpretation outside the EU institutions. There is only one court that is able to settle conflicts between EU Member States, and this is the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.
THE 1992 DANISH OPT-OUTS
The European Council made a similar exercise after the Danish No to the Maastricht Treaty in 1992. But that time the Danish opt-outs were already in the treaty. The treaty articles were legally binding. The 1992 Edinburgh Agreement was more of a moral commitment from the other prime ministers. Conflicts over the interpretation of the Maastricht Treaty could not be settled in the international court in the Hague. Only in the EU Court in Luxembourg.
The whole EU Summit strategy for dealing with the Irish No vote was similar to the way the prime ministers at the time established the Edinburgh Agreement of December 1992. Denmark then exchanged its No to Maastricht for political guarantees that the Danish opt-outs from some provisions of that Treaty could only be changed by a new Danish referendum.
The European Council has now made another “decision” of the prime ministers and presidents of the EU Member States.
This so-called “decision” did not previously exist as a formal legal instrument of EU summits. It was specially invented to get around the Danish No to Maastricht in 1992, by the head of the Council legal service, Jean-Claude Piris.
It is a creative way of giving people a feeling of legal certainty which does not and cannot exist since only properly ratified EU treaties, with their Protocols, can offer binding legal guarantees in EU law.
This “decision” of the EU summit changes absolutely nothing in the treaties. If it did change anything, even the smallest change could only be validated through new ratifications by all 27 member states in their national parliaments or by referendums.
Just as in the 1992 Edinburgh Agreement these Irish “assurances” include an explicit statement that “these concerns (are) in conformity with that treaty”. This is the core sentence in the Summit document. In the so-called “Irish assurances” not one single comma in the Lisbon Treaty will be changed.
Up until now no government has been able to give a single example of a national law which cannot be affected in some way or other by the Lisbon Treaty.
This does not mean that the current generation of politicians has in mind the establishment of European laws in all areas. But in reality they could do this if they wished with a few derogations. Decisions of the European Court could also affect virtually every single area of what is currently believed to be a purely national responsibility.
This “decision” of the EU summit isn’t signed by the heads of states or government. In legal form it is simply an Annex to a Summit Declaration which, in contrast to a Treaty Protocol, is not binding in EU law.
The “decision” is followed by a common “solemn declaration” which may express the intentions of the politicians taking part. It does not prevent politicians at future summits affecting these “assurances”.
Finally, Ireland has its own Irish Declaration. A unilateral Declaration of this kind has to be interpreted as a statement of position by one state which the others do not necessarily agree with. If they did agree to it, it would have been part of the joint declaration or the earlier “decision”, in the name of all 27 states.
Press release from The People’s Movement against the EU, Denmark
The cross party opposition to the EU, The People’s Movement against the EU, was strengthened at the European parliamentary election and regained its seat with 7,2% of the votes.
The People’s Movement continues its work in the European Parliament from a strengthened position. This became clear when all votes had been counted after the election on June 7th. The voter turnout was 59,5% (more than 4 million votes).This means that about 170.000 people voted for The People’s Movement. The 7,2% is an impressive increase compared with the 2004 election where The People’s Movement received 5,2% of the votes.
We are pleased with this result that gives our campaign against the Euro a much stronger starting point, when Prime minister Løkke Rasmussen calls for a new referendum - as he promised the European Commission to do, says re-elected MEP for The People’s Movement Søren Søndergaard.
In spite of our joy at this good result, we regret that our EU-sceptical electoral alliance with the June Movement did not succeed in keeping a second seat.
Declan Ganley, the leader of Libertas who has led a campaign against the Lisbon treaty, has bowed out of politics having failed to win a seat in the European Parliament in Ireland. He said he would not campaign against the treaty in a second referendum later this year and that “the future of Libertas is a matter for others”.
Libertas, which fielded more than 600 candidates in 14 member states, had an abysmal election with only one candidate officially elected – Philippe de Villiers, a French MEP.
From June Movement there came an announcement: “In 2009 the movement lost its representation in the European Parliament and is planning to disband.”
TEAM members from Denmark can only add that “the People’s Movement obtained a good result, so the democratic cross-political EU-opposition in Denmark is alive and all right!”*
Skøl, Søren! Skøl, Denmark!
Den tværpolitiske EU-modstand - Folkebevægelsen mod EU - gik frem og genvandt mandatet med 7,2 pct. af stemmerne. Omkring 170.000 danskere satte kryds ved liste N
In short Søren Søndergaard from Danish People’s Movement against EU is now freshly re-elected MEP with People’s Movement gaining 7,2% votes while in 2004 they got 5,2% votes.
Things can only get better.
The strongest party in Iceland’s parliament and government will keep Iceland out of the union. Recent polls show that the voters support them, says Ditte Staun from the People’s Movement Against EU.
On behalf of the People’s Movement against the EU in Denmark, research institute Synovate made an opinion poll on EU military. 1010 statistically representative persons in Denmark were interviewed between the 15th and 25th of October.
Three questions were asked:
from BBC NEWS
The eurozone is on the brink of recession with economic growth falling 0.2% in the second quarter, the European Commission has announced.
A Commission statement warned: “In 2009, the EU economy is expected to grind to a standstill.”
The slowdown will mark the eurozone’s first recession since the currency’s inception in 1999.
Figures also announced on Monday show that manufacturing in the zone fell in October to its lowest level since 1997.
The Commission also forecast further falls of 0.1% in the third and fourth quarters of this year, and overall growth of just 0.1% next year and 0.9% in 2010.
On the other side some are still z€lous:
The financial crisis “makes it evident” that Denmark needs to join the euro, Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Thursday (30 October), while recent polls show that 50 percent of Danes are now in favour of scrapping the krone.
“The euro ensures political and economical stability in Europe and the current financial turmoil makes it evident that Denmark has to join the Euro,” Mr Rasmussen said at the European Liberal Democrats annual conference in Stockholm.
The ”Clog Award” of the People’s Movement gainst the EU, Denmark, was given – for the third time - to Ireland, the country that turned down the Lisbon Treaty in June.
Irish flags were waved in the small town of Roslev during the evening party of the yearly general assembly of The People’s Movement against the EU, Denmark, when the international ”Clog Award” was presented to artist Robert Ballagh.
”For the third time we are giving it to Ireland. In the year 2000 it was given to Patricia McKenna, member of the EU Parliament for the Green Party because she had succeeded in making a court rule that a government should give equal treatment to the parties in a referendum. In 2001 it was given to Frank Keoghan from the National Platform after the Irish No to the Nice Treaty. And this year will we give it to Robert Ballagh from Peoples Movement after the Irish No to the Lisbon Treaty,” said Jesper Morville, chairman of the International Committee of The People’s Movement against the EU.
Robert Ballagh is a well known artist and designer. His work is represented in many museums ans galleries, and he designed the last set of Irish currency before the introduction of the Euro in Ireland. He designed Riverdance as well as around 70 Irish stamps.
Robert Ballagh spoke his thanks for the award in Gaelic, his native tongue, as well as in English. He said:
”According to the EU’s own rules a treaty is discarded if it not ratified by all member countries. But the elite of Ireland do not understand a No.
Just now the government of Ireland and its civil servants are scuttling around in the corridors of the other EU countries attempting to make them isolate Ireland in order to use that as an argument for a Yes in a new referendum. I call that treason.
We have a great challenge in front of us. We must defend democracy – not only in Ireland, but in the whole of Europe,” he said, referring to the fact that no other peoples in the EU have been allowed to vote on the treaty.
”The EU has achieved what no dictators have been able to do: cheating half a billion people of their democratic right.”