Svetoslav Apostolov's blog

Sir,

I just read your article ‘Support for Lisbon Treaty in Ireland plunges‘ [1] and that reminded me again of G. Orwell’s masterpiece Animal Farm – a truly remarkable novel about a society living up to seven commandments, the seventh of which is “All animals are equal” [2]. Eventually, as the years passed by and the society “evolved”, the seven commandments were replaced by one commandment only: “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.

The negative votes in the 2005 referenda on the “Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe” in France and the Netherlands drove the final nail into the European Constitution’s coffin. In an attempt to circumvent the will of Europeans, who clearly stated they were against closer integration and against more powers conferred to the Brussels Eurocrats, the European Council “return[ed] to the traditional method of changing the existing Treaties” [3] by developing the “Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community” [4] (alias the Lisbon Treaty).

There is no doubt that the “new” Lisbon Treaty, although different in appearance, is the disguised European Constitution (as the saying goes, “Different tree – same wood”). The fact is acknowledged by many heads of member states, amongst which German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has said “the substance of the Constitution is preserved. That is a fact” [5] (for more statements see [6], [7]).

Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the chairman of the European Convention (also known as the Convention on the Future of Europe) which drafted the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe [8], has said that the EU treaty is simply the old constitution reborn [9]. Moreover, Mr. Giscard d’Estaing even said in an interview for the Bulgarian media that “the Constitution was a readable treaty. The Treaty of Lisbon disguised it and became unreadable. It can be used rather to put to sleep but the main text is the same” [10].

However, when in 2008 Ireland rejected the Lisbon Treaty in a national referendum, the country was immediately put under pressure to revote the treaty on a new referendum [11], [12]. Amazingly, one of the major pressure factors is France – the very same country that four years ago rejected the very same treaty using the very same procedure!

This observation makes me wonder if really all member states are equal partners in the European Union or some member states are “more equal than others”.

Sincerely,

Svetoslav Apostolov

REFERENCES

[1] EurActiv.com. 2009. Support for Lisbon Treaty in Ireland plunges. [online]

URL: http://euractiv.com/en/future-eu/support-lisbon-treaty-ireland-plunges/article-185135 (page last accessed on 04.09.09).

[2] Orwell, G. 1945. Animal Farm: A Fairy Story. Secker and Warburg, London, UK.

Available online: http://orwell.ru/library/novels/Animal_Farm/ (page last accessed on 04.09.09).

[3] European Communities. 2009. Fact Sheets on the European Union. Office for Official Publications of the European Communities. Luxembourg. ISBN: 978-92-823-2469-1.

Available online:

http://bookshop.europa.eu/eubookshop/publicationDetails.action?pubuid=10061924&offset=0 (site last accessed on 05.06.2009).

[4] Conference of the Representatives of the Governments of the Member States. 2007. Treaty of Lisbon amending the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community. Official Journal of the European Union C 306, p. 1.

Available online:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/JOIndex.do?year=2007&serie=C&textfield2=306&Submit=Search&ihmlang=en (site last accessed on 21.01.2009).

[5] Waterfield, B. 2007. You’re stuck with Blair’s EU deal, says Portugal. Telegraph.co.uk. [online]

URL: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1555977/Youre-stuck-with-Blairs-EU-deal-says-Portugal.html (page last accessed on 04.09.09).

[6] Open Europe. 2008a. The Lisbon Treaty and the European Constitution: A side-by-side comparison. [online]

URL: http://www.openeurope.org.uk/research/#pol (site last accessed on 22.01.2009).

[7] Open Europe. 2008b. A guide to the constitutional treaty. 2nd edition. [online]

URL: http://www.openeurope.org.uk/research/#pol (site last accessed on 22.01.2009).

[8] European Convention. 2003. Draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe. [online]

URL: http://european-convention.eu.int/ (site last accessed on 04.09.09).

[9] Chapman, J. 2007. EU treaty is simply the old constitution reborn, says creator Giscard d’Estaing. Mail Online. [online]

URL: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-469118/EU-treaty-simply-old-constitution-reborn-says-creator-Giscard-dEstaing.html# (page last accessed on 04.09.09).

[10] Terziev, S. 2008. If you have entered the Europe club, abide by the rules. [Shtom ste vlezli v kluba “Evropa”, spazvaite pravilata.] Sega Issue 2984.

Available online: http://www.segabg.com/online/new/articlenew.asp?issueid=2984&sectionid=5&id=0001101 (page last accessed on 04.09.09).

[11] Bruno Waterfield, B. 2008. EU steps up pressure on Ireland to hold second Lisbon Treaty referendum. Telegraph.co.uk. [online]

URL: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/eureferendum/3173967/EU-steps-up-pressure-on-Ireland-to-hold-second-Lisbon-Treaty-referendum.html (page last accessed on 04.09.09).

[12] Independent. 2008. Treaty is our ‘only hope’ of retaining EU post. Independent.ie. [online]

URL: http://www.independent.ie/national-news/treaty-is-our-only-hope-of-retaining–eu-post-1549339.html (page last accessed on 04.09.09).

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* This post is a reprint of a letter to the editor of EurActiv published on September 7th, 2009.

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