Today, in a people’s vote, the Irish votes “yes” for the Lisbon treaty. It might seem small news on the worlds chessboard, but it a way it isn’t. The European Union is far from a state (like the US). It’s sovereign countries, who, in essence agreed to cooperate on several legislative issues, such as agriculture support, trade rules, free travel and work laws, etc. There is no “European government”, so in essence it is a highly politicized, treaty, give and take oriented institution. It works, but it is also highly inefficient and sometimes bizarre. Add the different native languages spoken by the member states and you get the picture.
The Lisbon treaty is a treaty that does some some power reshuffling and maybe the most important thing is, tosses out stifling veto rights by individual member states. Now, Lisbon can only be implemented if all 27 member states agree on it. Until today all but three did, the three being Ireland, Poland and the Czech republic. The last two it’s their respective presidents doing the stalling (while parliament ratified the treaty), in Ireland it was the people who voted the first version down.
Now at that first vote-down, Ireland was the unions fastest economic grower, and I do dare to say some arrogance got hold of them. Today, Ireland is one of the worst affected countries in the EU by the current crisis. Unemployment is skyrocketing.
Isn’t it interesting that taking, not giving prevails also in the higher powers huh? Does this sound a bit like bankrupt Iceland now trying to join the EU? Anyway, good development. The EU needs to be more efficient and less bureaucratic. It all takes an insane amount of time, but we’re getting there.
Update: Poland ratified. One to go.
Update November 9th: A bit late to report, the Czech republic ratified November 3rd. It’s official.