- No mas: Principal bans Spanish language in intercom announcement
- Hacking software could put ‘zombie drone army’ in user’s hands
- Support for stricter gun laws drops: poll
- 10 whales dead, 41 others stranded in Everglades
- John Boehner faces bipartisan pressure to allow gay-rights vote
- Martin Bashir resigns from MSNBC over ‘ill-judged’ comments about Sarah Palin
- Rep. Duncan Hunter: While Obama prays for Iranian change, U.S. should ready its nukes
- Best company ever? Veteran Beer Co. exists to employ vets, provide quality beer
- Iran official: Sanctions ‘utterly failed’ to stop nuclear program
- ‘Black Santa’ display at IU sparks student outrage
Irish critic declares EU reform treaty ‘dead’
The European Union's massive reform treaty is "dead" and will not be revived until leaders of the 27-nation bloc learn to trust their own voters, according to Declan Ganley, the businessman widely credited with engineering Ireland's stunning rejection of the treaty in a national vote last month.
The Mr. Ganley, 39, brushed aside reports that French President Nicolas Sarkozy is demanding Ireland hold a second referendum on the treaty, predicting the "no" vote would only increase from the 52 percent it won in Ireland's June 12 poll.
The reform treaty "is dead," he flatly declared Tuesday on a Washington visit. "What part of 'no' don't they understand in Brussels?"
Ireland was the only EU nation to hold a popular vote on the treaty, designed to give the EU greater political and diplomatic clout while streamlining the bloc's creaky bureaucracy. Under EU rules, all 27 member-states must approve the treaty - in referendums or by parliamentary votes - before it can take effect.
An earlier, even more ambitious EU "constitution" failed when French and Dutch voters rejected the blueprint in separate national votes in 2005.
Mr. Ganley, an information technology entrepreneur and political novice, took on Ireland's political establishment in spearheading the "no" campaign. Pro-treaty forces argued that Ireland's economy had boomed because of its EU ties and there was no chance Dublin would get a better deal if the treaty were re-negotiated.
Mr. Ganley said he supported the basic ideals of the EU and had voted for past EU reform measures. He only came out against the new reform treaty after he sat down to read the nearly 500-page text.
He argued the treaty did nothing to address the bloc's "democratic deficit" - the widespread feeling among ordinary Europeans that political elites and an unelected bureaucracy in Brussels were taking over their lives.
Among the reform treaty's key provisions are the creation of an EU president and a foreign policy czar, neither of whom would be elected directly by voters.
"We need a strong, credible Europe that is respected in the world," Mr. Ganley told a mostly friendly audience Tuesday at the conservative Heritage Foundation. "... But the energy of Europe cannot be drawn from an unaccountable bureaucracy based in Brussels."
He said issues like EU interference on Irish taxation, security and social policy had helped swell the "no" coalition, but he said the fundamental objection of anti-treaty voters in Ireland was to the lack of democratic accountability in the proposed new EU bureaucracy.
The Irish vote has left EU leaders groping over what to do next. Other EU parliaments have pushed ahead with ratification votes. Jose Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, predicted Ireland will soon find itself isolated.
"There has only been one 'no' to the ratification of the treaty, and I do not expect any more," he said Tuesday.
But both the Czech Republic and Poland, where popular support for the reform treaties is weak, have raised new questions about moving ahead with the ratification process in light of the Irish vote.
Mr. Sarkozy, current occupant of the six-month rotating EU presidency, travels to Dublin next week to discuss strategy with Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen.
But Mr. Ganley argued that the French, Dutch and Irish votes exposed the lack of popular support for the EU blueprint.
"Mark my words," he said, "if there is another vote on the EU constitution in Ireland, the 'no' total will be bigger."
He joked that if Ireland were forced to hold a second national vote on the treaty, Mr. Sarkozy - languishing in opinion polls after just over a year in office - should be forced to run again for president of France.
Mr. Ganley predicted that any pressure on Irish voters to reverse their vote would backfire.
"What we are saying is, stop the bullying," he said. "Listen to the people of Europe and what they are saying. They said it three times now - 'no.'"
About the Author
Raised in Northern Virginia, David R. Sands received an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He worked as a reporter for several Washington-area business publications before joining The Washington Times.
At The Times, Mr. Sands has covered numerous beats, including international trade, banking, politics ...
- SANDS: Shark attack: Miami wins first U.S. Chess League title
- SANDS: Magnus Carlsen's future bright as the new king of chess
- Norway's Magnus Carlsen wins world chess title
- Magnus Carlsen on verge of world chess title with quick win over champion
- SANDS: Carlsen close to chess title as Anand cracks under endgame pressure
Latest Blog Entries
Patent-reform proposal takes a baby step in the right direction
- Angry NTSB ousts railroad union from N.Y. train crash site
- Xbox One, Playstation 4 games penalize users for cursing in their own homes
- Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House
- Apple wins facial recognition patent for iPhone 6
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- HURT: Postal Service misses address by a whole continent
- Puerto Rico caravan honoring Paul Walker ends in 6 drunken-driving arrests, 72 speeding tickets
- Wingate University on lockdown after 2 shot dead
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- U.S. drops 2,000 mice on Guam by parachute to kill snakes
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.
Wall Street news for retail investors who want to know what's going on.
Does it take over 25 years in public service to really know what goes on in Washington?
Despite cynicism about the law, it can provide you justice, protection, and ensure your rights.