Ireland and Europe

About the author
These are extracts from the discussion forums of the openDemocracy pilot website.
Irish vote shows need for real debate
15 June 2001

Kirsty Hughes writes:

The Irish ' no' needs to be taken more seriously by rest of Europe.

Paul Gillespie suggests that the Irish 'no' may lead the Irish government to a position where it opens up a debate from which the rest of Europe can learn. This would certainly be positive but he does not comment on the - excessively rapid - rush by EU politicians to say business would continue as usual and Ireland must sort the problem out. If the EU is to move successfully to enlargement and to build a more democratic open community, then the Irish 'no' should not just be treated as an issue for Ireland. We cannot expect - or want - the whole enlargement process to grind to a halt due to the 'no' but we can and should expect EU leaders to take much more seriously and express their respect for a democratic vote. If they had said this was an important vote and it needs time to understand it, to respond and to consider the best way forward this would show an openness to the views of the public that is currently not in evidence. Without this, the chances of the debate in Ireland - that must now happen - encouraging debate elsewhere - may be unlikely to be fulfilled.

Kirsty Hughes is Advisor to the Commissioner for employment and social affairs. She is contributing here in personal capacity.


Kirsty is right on Ireland
19 June 2001

Krzysztof Bobinski writes:

It looks as if Kirsty Hughes is right for the moment at least. When the leaders of the Christian Democrat and allied parties (EPP) met in Goteborg last week they omitted to approve a draft resolution which called for all future reforms in the EU to be prepared in a 'new way such as a conference on the lines of the convention which prepared the Charter of Basic Rights'. The EPP leaders who include Schussel, Aznar and Junckers and now Berlusconi also stopped short of calling on the member states to 'explain and promote the changes to their citizens'. That doesn't augur well for any opening up in response to the Irish vote.

Krzysztof Bobinski is the publisher of Unia & Polska magazine and lives in Warsaw.


Finally, an independent Ireland
22 June 2001

Pat Mizak writes:

Reaganomics in Ireland? Well kinda.

I just told my students a few months ago, 'One cannot have full economic integration without full political integration.' For the first time ever, Ireland is excelling economically on its own. The island's economic growth rate is near double digits and its unemployment is hovering around 4%. Why? Well the rest of Europe does not want to hear this, but Ireland's incredible growth is powered by (insert ominous music here) 'supply-side economics.'

That's right, low tax rates and an encouragement of investment have catapulted Ireland into the IT revolution.

As an American economist of Irish descent (County Leitrim), I am pleased that the Republic has rejected the Nice Treaty. It appears that the other 14 EU nations are eager to surrender their monetary and fiscal policies to Brussels and the German economy. By forfeiting their ability to guide their own economy, these EU nations will be pawns of the Bundesbank, just a new form of German imperialism. I am not saying that the Bundesbank has less than good intentions, but when a self-governing people surrender control of their economy, they cease to be self-governing.

If the nations of the EU understand this and accept it, fine, that is their prerogative. However, I believe that it is irresponsible, if not down right snooty, of the rest of Europe to damn Ireland for wishing to control its own destiny.

Pat Mizak describes himself as an idealistic American economics professor.